HMG Paints Ltd
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HMG Paints' high performance Acrythane commercial vehicle finish is adorning a 60ft long, bright yellow, bendy bus that is now offering medical care and general assistance for those enjoying the vibrant night life in Belfast. Manned by volunteers and paramedics, the SOS Bus sits in the city centre every Friday and Saturday night, providing a refuge for anyone in distress or at risk due to drugs and alcohol.
The bus was adapted, refinished and fitted out by Browns Coachworks of Lisburn, one of Ireland's leading coach building firms, and paint was supplied by HMG's Northern Ireland CV coatings distributor, Coachfinish of Belfast.
Based on a successful scheme launched earlier in Norwich, the Belfast SOS Bus is a multi-agency initiative supported by the Northern Ireland office, the police and ambulance services, and the commercial sector. The not-for-profit project was initiated by a group of local businesses, including Brian Brown, Chairman of Browns Coachworks. The vehicle's deliberately eyecatching yellow and purple paintwork was achieved with Acrythane XSC98, HMG's high solids, 2-pack acrylic topcoat system, which is widely specified for bus and coach liveries where a premium finish is required.
Certainly, it should retain its high gloss finish and brightness of colour, no matter what the Belfast weather brings. HMG Paints also provided an anti-slip coating for the vehicle floor, to prevent accidental slips and falls by weekend revellers.
Browns has fitted out the interior, also finished in Acrythane paint, with a medical suite for dealing with minor injuries, an area devoted to drug and alcohol counselling, and a 'safe haven' for those awaiting a taxi or lift home. It is also equipped with a defibrillator and other medical facilities, plasma TVs and DVDs, an external display screen and an extensive outside awning.
During the daytime, the SOS Bus provides an educational role, screening programmes on sexual health, self harm, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse, contributing to the NI Learning for Life and Work curriculum. The SOS Bus was launched amidst tremendous local publicity, with the regional TV, radio and press covering the event and dignitaries including the Lord Mayor Belfast, the Deputy Chief Constable and NI Criminal Justice Minister.
Among the invited guests were Edward Craig, Director of Coachfinish, and HMG's CV Technical Sales specialist, John Emery.