A colourful, creative coach will cruise into Dundee this weekend, during the final leg of a special tour organised in part by DC Thomson magazine, The People’s Friend.
We’ve clapped for our carers, we’ve cheered children with rainbows, and now knitters from across the UK are sending a message of friendship to our older generation – with the knitted ‘yarn bus’ hitting the road to deliver a colourful pick-me-up to anyone experiencing loneliness due to the pandemic.
It started its journey in Torquay, and this week it has been touring care homes and residential streets in Barnsley, Cumbria and will finish up in Dundee this Saturday, September 26.
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 to tour 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.
Loneliness is at a high amongst this demographic, and the bus’s visit coincides with new restrictions placed on care home visitors.
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’.
The service was launched in response to Covid-19 to offer free, friendly, and regular calls to ensure that those most vulnerable to isolation remain connected to the outside world.
Alongside the donated bunting, the bus embraces the trend of yarn bombing and is 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 – which is the longest-running women’s magazine in the world at, 151 years old – 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.”
Alternatively, you can visit the publication’s Facebook page or access information via its Twitter account.