A Rainbow on the Road! The People’s Friend Launches Colourful Knitted Bus to Bring Friendship to Those Who Need itOctober 2, 2020
The People’s Friend, in partnership with friendship charity, Re-engage, and the UK’s biggest bus and coach operator, Stagecoach, launched a colourful knitted bus to tour the length of the country as a reminder to the older generations that the nation is behind them. As many continue to shield or feel the effects of the pandemic on their social lives, loneliness continues to be at a high amongst this demographic. The bus’s visit also coincided with recent restrictions placed on care home visitors.
The nation’s knitters sent in hundreds of hand-made bunting triangles to adorn the bus, which delivered magazines and knitting to care homes while also collecting funds for Re-engage’s new telephone befriending service ‘Call Companions’. Initially launched in response to Covid-19, the charity offers free, friendly and regular calls to ensure that those who are most vulnerable to isolation remain connected to the outside world.
Alongside the donated bunting, the bus embraced the trend of yarn bombing and was decorated 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 right now.
“Our colourful bus is sure to brighten the day of anyone who sees 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 see 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. We hope that the colourful Yarn-Bombed bus will bring a smile to people’s faces as it travels across the UK.”
The People’s Friend Yarn-Bombed Bus started its tour in Torquay, followed by Barnsley on 22nd September, and then Cumbria on 24th September. Its final stop on Saturday 26th September was 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.