"Chatty bus" service in Devon launched to tackle loneliness

A bus company and local charity have teamed up to try and tackle loneliness and isolation amongst commuters in Devon this winter.

Volunteers from Westbank Community Health and Care are hopping aboard the number 57 Stagecoach service and engaging passengers in conversation.

As a local charity we witness on a daily basis the often devastating impact of loneliness on individuals. A simple 5 minute conversation can and does make all the difference to a lonely person's day.

Nina Parnell, Westbank Community Health and Care

The 'Chatty Bus', as it has been dubbed, has been launched to coincide with the coldest days and darkest nights during January and February.

The bus route takes in Exeter, Topsham, Exmouth and Brixington but the initiative will only be taking place on the double-deckers on Tuesdays from now until the end of next month, as a pilot project.

The chatty bus initiative will run from 10am-2pm on Tuesdays Credit: Stagecoach

With loneliness becoming a wide spread issue in society, we are delighted to be able to get involved with our local community... to encourage our passengers to have a chat and spread some happiness.

Aisha O'Connor, Stagecoach South West
Organisers hope the initiative will be rolled out across Devon eventually Credit: Stagecoach

Westbank plan on using the time on board to signpost other services and point people towards help.

Nina Parnell from the charity said:

"The Chatty Bus service will provide a brilliant opportunity for our volunteers to have a friendly chat with people on route and also to provide information to link them into community groups and services which can help to reduce loneliness and isolation."