The bus, Alexander Dennis Pointer-bodied Dart, fleet no.34865, donated by Stagecoach, has delivered cheer and dropped off magazines and knitted bunting to care homes and residential streets, as the clamp down on visitors and socialising has tightened again.
The travelling spectacle was adorned with hundreds of donations from knitters across the UK, sending a warm message of friendship to those shielding or feeling lonely due to the pandemic
The activity is in partnership with loneliness charity Re-engage to raise funds for a telephone befriending service
We've clapped for our carers, we’ve cheered children with rainbows and now knitters from across the UK have sent a message of friendship to our older generations – with a yarn bombed bus hitting the road to deliver a colourful pick-me-up to anyone experiencing loneliness due to the pandemic.
The People’s Friend, in partnership with friendship charity, Re-engage, and the UK’s biggest bus and coach operator, Stagecoach, has launched a colourful knitted bus which has toured the length of the country to show older generations that the nation is behind them - as many continue to shield or feel the effects of the pandemic on their social lives.
The nation’s knitters have sent in hundreds of hand-made bunting triangles to adorn the bus, which will deliver magazines and knitting to care homes, as well as collect funds for Re-engage’s new telephone befriending service ‘Call Companions’.
Alongside the donated bunting, the bus has embraced the trend of yarn bombing and was adorned with friendly crocheted faces, including The People’s Friend mascot Marmalade the Cat, delightful pom poms and brightly coloured squares which cover the length of the 40ft single decker bus.
Angela Gilchrist, Editorial Director of The People’s Friend, said: “Smiles have been in short supply for all of us this year, but especially so for those who live alone or who have been missing close contact with family and loved ones. We know that life is better when shared with a friend, so we decided to enlist the help of our hundreds of knitters across the UK to cheer up everyone who may be feeling lonely or downhearted.
“Our colourful bus has brightened the day of anyone who has seen it. And I believe it sends a message of hope, too, that even when times are tough, we can all share moments of joy.”
Re-engage CEO, Meryl Davies, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has intensified feelings of loneliness for many older people who have really struggled without regular social contact. We hope that older people who have seen The People’s Friend Yarn-Bombed bus will be reminded that they are not alone, and will get in touch with us to be matched with a volunteer with similar interests for regular, free calls.”
Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach, said: “We have been proudly connecting communities up and down the country for 40 years, and our buses have continued to provide a lifeline for people during the pandemic.
“We are all delighted to be working with The People’s Friend and Re-Engage on this special bus tour and we would like to thank all the knitters for their valuable contributions.
The People’s Friend Yarn-Bombed Bus started its tour in Torquay, followed by Barnsley (22nd September), then Cumbria (24th September) with its final stop taking place on Saturday 26th September in Dundee - the home of The People’s Friend for the last 150 years.
To donate to Re-engage, please visit www.reengage.org.uk/donate.