Brighton & Hove Buses is encouraging people to get on the Chatty Bus and start talking at Churchill Square on 29th January.
There’ll be Chatty Bus ambassadors on board who will be distributing ‘happy to chat’ badges to interested passengers and talking about how bus travel can help reduce social isolation and loneliness.
The bus company has got together with Brighton community group Impetus to get people more connected as part of the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Impetus volunteers will be on hand to discuss the services they provide that reduce social isolation, including befriending, advocacy and social prescribing, where the group links people to other community services and groups that improve health and well-being.
Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris said: “There are so many situations where people may experience loneliness, whether that’s losing a loved one, becoming unemployed or starting university. Loneliness doesn’t discriminate.
“Catching a bus and having a conversation can help ease that feeling just a little bit, as well as linking people with their friends and family. Groups like Impetus do really valuable work in the community and we’re pleased to have them on board.”
Impetus CEO Jo Crease said: “We are delighted to partner with Brighton & Hove Buses to support the Campaign to End Loneliness. We believe no-one should be isolated in a city as active, vibrant and positive as ours, and we’re inviting everyone to join our efforts to connect people to reduce isolation and improve health and well-being in Brighton & Hove.”
The Chatty Bus will be parked at Stop D in Churchill Square (outside WHSmith) between 10am and 2pm on Tuesday 29 January.
Metrobus will hold a similar event in West Sussex. The Metrobus Chatty Bus will be parked at Carfax in Horsham, in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
Brighton & Hove Buses’ events are part of the Go-Ahead Chatty Bus Campaign, which kicks off on 29 January with events taking place in Brighton, Hull, Horsham, Newcastle, Plymouth, Oxford and Eastleigh.
Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Executive Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “A bus service can make the difference between someone being able to see friends and family – or going for days or weeks in isolation. The Chatty Bus takes things a step further by using the space on the bus as a place for connections to thrive. We welcome Go-Ahead’s work and want all bus users to take part.”
One of our buses will also be at Sussex University campus on March 20 for coffee, chats and cake during the Holi Festival celebrations for One World Week. Impetus will provide a space for students suffering from loneliness to talk elsewhere on campus.
The bus will be specially designed by local artist Lois O’Hara and covered in bold, bright colours and shapes to promote positive mental health. Students can vote for their favourite design before the bus wrap is done.