AN ASPIRING chef who learnt to cook while rough sleeping is close to opening his burger van for business.

Paul Schofield, who lives in Portslade, is opening the van after spending three years homeless on Brighton’s streets.

The 40-year-old, who is planning to take the van up north, said: “I was attacked in doorways and people would abuse me telling me that I’m a bum who deserved to be homeless.

“When the van opens I can look at them and say, ‘I told you so. I told you I wasn’t a bum’.”

Mr Schofield became homeless after struggling with rent arrears, family problems and addiction.

But he managed to gain cooking qualification from Brighton College, now Brighton Met, while rough sleeping.

He describes how he would sleep in doorways with his college badge around his neck, completing his homework.

He said: “I had to do my work with a pen and paper and then copy it out onto a computer.

“It was difficult as it could get noisy while sleeping on the seafront, especially when the pubs shut.

“There were a couple of times where my written work would get wet but luckily the ink didn’t run off the page.”

Before he graduated, Mr Schofield would drift from doorway to doorway around East Street and the seafront.

Now qualified and living with a roof over his head in Portslade, the budding entrepreneur’s dream is to travel the world with his van.

He hopes he can use his new-found success to help others by employing homeless people as he “know what it feels like not to have a job”

But before then Mr Schofield is working on getting his van up to scratch and ready to serve burgers to the public.

He has plans to take the van to the north of England in the near future.

He said: “I get £235 in benefits every month and I’ve been buying things for my van to get it up to a health and safety standard.

“There’s things that need a good clean.

“Some of the plastic panelling needs replacing and there are some leaks in the roof.

“I’m happy with how it’s going. I’m sort of like half way there, I just need to get some more money or save up some more.

If you would like to help support Paul with his van, head to