Chatty Bus is Back on the Road!

3 weeks ago Tue 30th Apr 2024

Chatty Bus

 

On Wednesday 15th May, Go East Anglia is bringing back their Travelling Chatty Bus to mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 in collaboration with Mind mental health charities across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Konectbus will be working with Norfolk and Waveney Mind on the number 4 route between Norwich and Dereham, and Hedingham and Chambers will be joining forces with Suffolk Mind on the 750 and 753 between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, and Mid and North East Essex Mind on the 74 and 76 routes between Clacton and Colchester. This will be the first travelling Chatty Bus event since it was initially launched pre-Covid at the beginning of 2020.

The concept behind Go East Anglia’s Chatty Bus is that the bus can provide much more than simply a means of getting from A to B. It connects people and communities, providing passengers with a means of transport that is a social lifeline for many who feel the effects of isolation, which can be particularly prominent in rural areas.

Chatty Bus aims to combat loneliness and social isolation across the communities served by Konectbus in Norfolk and Hedingham and Chambers in Suffolk and Essex. Collaborating with Mind charities in the three counties for Mental Health Awareness Week promotes the value of chat and social contact as facilitators of positive mental health.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Movement’, which encourages people to find opportunities to move more throughout the day, in whatever way they can, to support their mental health. Using the bus is a great way to do this as it is an active form of transport; a walk to the bus stop to meet a friend for a catch-up is a great excuse to get out and about.

Go East Anglia’s Travelling Chatty Bus provides the opportunity to do just that. On 15th May, Chatty Bus Champions from Go East Anglia and the three Mind charities will travel along the bus  routes with other volunteers to chat to the passengers onboard. Once the bus reaches its destination, there will be the opportunity to grab a coffee and carry on the conversation before making the return journey.

Davina Langley, Head of Commercial and Marketing, said “We are delighted bring Chatty Bus back on the road and to collaborate with our partners at Mind. Since 2020, we have organised many static Chatty Bus events across Norfolk and Essex, but were keen to bring it back to its roots and out onto the road. Taking the event across the entire breadth of our bus network in one day will enable us to reach many more passengers and to promote conversation to support mental health.”

Pete Boczko, CEO of Norfolk and Waveney Mind, said: “Loneliness and isolation are the root of so many mental health difficulties, especially in rural areas. The Chatty Bus is a brilliant way of helping people make connections with strangers who can become new friends. We are delighted to give the project our full backing and we hope it will make a difference to people across East Anglia.”

Ellie Winch from Suffolk Mind commented: ‘Projects like the Chatty Bus are invaluable for our local communities, particularly for people living in rural areas. As humans we need to feel part of a community, to be able to give and receive attention and form connections with others. Meeting people and having conversations can really improve our mental wellbeing. Suffolk Mind is pleased to support this initiative and we always take great delight in collaborating with our neighbouring local Minds.’

Ginny Idehen, CEO, Mid and North East Essex Mind, said: “Chatty Bus is such a lovely idea. We all need to have a good chat and meet people; it really helps boost our wellbeing. I’m really hoping some connections can be made on these buses to help people, especially in isolated areas, to make new friends and have an opportunity to open-up about their mental health.”

If you would like to get involved and join us on the route 4 between Norwich Bus Station and Dereham, our Champions will be travelling on the following journeys:

Depart Arrive
Norwich Bus Station 10:15 Dereham 11:22
Dereham 11:58 Norwich Bus Station 13:05
   
Norwich Bus Station 11:15 Dereham 12:22
Dereham 12:58 Norwich Bus Station 14:05

We're looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!

Norfolk and Waveney Mind logo