Loneliness is a big problem in society. 3 in 10 Britons say they go at least one day a week without speaking to anyone close to them, and many people say they get the bus for the human interaction - talking to the bus driver could be the only time someone speaks to another human all day.
We’re running the Chatty Bus campaign to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness, and to encourage people to talk to each other on the bus.
On 29 January we had over 50 ‘chatty’ volunteers out on our buses across the region, riding on our buses and chatting to passengers. They had advice on how you can help combat loneliness (including ‘happy to chat’ badges that you can wear to show you welcome people starting conversations with you), and advice on resources that can help if you or someone you know is lonely. Buses with chatty volunteers on included buses in Hull, Anlaby, Cottingham, Willerby, Hessle, Beverley, Driffield, Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough.
Feedback from passengers was overwhelmingly positive, with nearly everyone the ambassadors spoke to wanting to join in the conversation. Vicky Brown, East Yorkshire Customer Services Manager and volunteer ambassador for the day, explained: “We were delighted with the response from passengers, with many saying how good they felt after having conversations with our team.
“One of our ambassadors spoke to a 91-year-old lady who, towards the end of their journey, said her voice had ‘gone funny’ because she never has anyone to talk to and wasn’t used to it. She really appreciated having the chance to have a friendly natter.”
Many of the chatty bus ambassadors who took part were City of Culture volunteers who gathered in Hull’s Paragon Interchange before departing en masse in an impressive sight onto the region’s buses. One said: “At one point we had the whole bus talking to each other; it was lovely to see all the smiles and laughter as people set out for their day.”
Ben Gilligan, Area Director of East Yorkshire, commented: “The overwhelmingly positive response we’ve had from passengers and across our region really highlights the problems of loneliness today. The stories from the conversations our ambassadors had with passengers were moving to hear and we’re pleased to have helped raise awareness of social isolation. We’ve already had lots of requests for us to expand the campaign further and are now looking at ways of how we can do this.”
If you want to take part, there are loads of schemes - like the Talking Tables project - which you can join in with, and taking the time to have a conversation with someone might really make a difference to their lives. We also have some 'happy to chat' badges available from our Hull and Scarborough Travel Centres, if you want to pick one up to wear one on the bus to show you're happy to have a conversation (limited numbers of badges are available).
Thanks for helping us make the world a less lonely place.
Suffering from loneliness, or want to help someone who is? Here are some places to go to find help and support.
Hull Talking Tables
Drop in at a cafe or community centre that has Talking Tables - a place to chat. Find a venue near you by ringing 01482 300 300 or visiting the Hull City Council website.
For Hull residents: Hull Connect to Support
Find information and advice to help you make choices about your life and how you live it, and connect to local groups and activities through their community directory. Find out more by visiting hull.connecttosupport.org (free internet available at any library or customer service centre in Hull).
For Hull residents: Connect Well
Refer yourself to Connect Well to get a one-to-one appointment with a Wellbeing Advisor, who can assist you to access support and guidance and point you in the direction of groups where you can try something new. Contact 01482 217670 or search for “Connect Well Hull” online.
For East Riding residents: Community Links & Health Trainers
Find help to make a positive lifestyle change through individual, personalised support, helping with social isolation, health issues and mental wellbeing. Contact 0800 9177752 to find out more or visit the East Riding Health Trainers and Community Link website.
For North Yorkshire residents: Living Well
Living Well aims to improve the health and wellbeing of adults, supporting you to find solutions to your goals. Find out more by ringing 01609 780780 and asking for the ‘Living Well Service’ or visit the North Yorkshire Living Well webpage.
Going through some tough times, or find that things are getting to you and you’re struggling to cope? Call the Samaritans free at any time from any phone on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website
All the Chatty Buses will be running on Tuesday 29 February, although exact buses are subject to change depending on number of volunteers available on the day.