Chatty Bus helps put a stop to loneliness


Staff, students and a donkey stepped on board the Hedingham & Chambers Chatty Bus at University of Essex on Thursday, 9th March to mark University Mental Health Day.
Located outside the Silberrad building on the university’s Colchester Campus, the Chatty Bus welcomed visitors as part of the national mental health initiative, which aims to bring university communities together and make mental health a priority.
As well as students and staff from the university, the Chatty Bus also welcomed Del Boy the donkey as a special guest from Ark Animal Encounters, which brought a petting zoo to the university as part of day’s activities.
Hedingham & Chambers launched the Chatty Bus in Essex for the first time this year, with a programme of activity aimed at encouraging people to think about their mental health and share how bus travel can play a part in bringing communities closer together.
University students are one of the most at risk groups from loneliness. Using bus services can provide an essential way for people to participate in community life, helping to tackle the mental health issues that can result from social isolation. Travelling by bus provides students with a cheap and easy way to access facilities within Colchester and the surrounding area.
From Monday, 17th April, Hedingham & Chambers will be providing an enhanced bus service to the University of Essex, with buses running up to every 20 minutes between Clacton and Colchester on routes 74, 76 and 76X, stopping in Capon Road outside the Knowledge Gateway on campus.
Student termly tickets are available on the Hedingham and Chambers App for £165, providing unlimited bus travel each term, while a Day ticket is available for £6.50, or just £5.20 for those aged 16 to 19.
Visitors to the Chatty Bus during University Mental Health Day enjoyed a hot drink, a bespoke biscuit with a message to promote discussion around mental health and the chance to chat with mental health professionals. Other activities at the University of Essex on the day included Wellbeing Walks, a Sensory Zoo and numerous information stands.
Davina Langley, from Hedingham & Chambers, commented: “The Chatty Bus is such an important initiative for us at Hedingham & Chambers. Joining communities and helping people stay connected is at the heart of what we do. Bus travel can play a vital role in helping individuals to access essential facilities and feel more engaged with local life.
“Students are one of the key groups that can benefit most from access to bus services and so we were delighted to support University Mental Health Day with the Chatty Bus at the University of Essex. We want to engage in the debate about mental health and University Mental Health Day will help get the nation talking about student mental health.”

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