Go North East campaign get passengers chatting to tackle UK’s loneliness epidemic

Over 250 people took advantage of an initiative to combat loneliness as bus provider Go North East had a ten-strong team of ‘chatty champions’ who boarded over 30 buses across the region with the aim of getting people to talk. 

The one-day mission took place on the January 29, 2019 to encourage passengers to strike up a conversation and have a chat with a neighbour. Research shows that 33% of Britons admit that they deliberately catch the bus to have some human contact.

With activities taking place in Brighton, Hull, Horsham, Newcastle, Durham, Plymouth, Oxford and Eastleigh, the specified local bus operators will had their designated chatty bus, where passengers were able to enjoy engaging conversations, a cup of tea and in some locations, they will offer a piano to give passengers a chance for a sing-a-long.

Three of Go North East’s most popular services were joined by the ‘chatty’ team whose job was to engage with people of all ages and ways of life.

Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Go North East, said: “The feedback from passengers and our champions really highlighted how loneliness has become a common problem in today’s society and we’re so pleased to see how well it has been received across our region.

“We’ve already had requests asking when our next Chatty Bus Day will be and it’s certainly something we’re looking at for the future.”

Loneliness is an increasing epidemic among millions of Britons as changes to lifestyles and working patterns erase the opportunities for face-to-face contact.

This comes after research, undertaken by the young women’s trust, found that one in four 18-30 year olds feel isolated and over 83% of younger people have openly admitted they are affected by loneliness. Further research shows that 3 in 10 Britons go at least one day a week without speaking to anyone close to them.

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