Stagecoach Manchester has been working with local charities and community centres to connect members of the community as part of its Bringing People Together campaign.
The local bus operator launched a four-week campaign which included a series of indoor events to support retirees living in Greater Manchester, helping them to attend community get-togethers and meet with friends using the city’s transport links.
Loneliness and social isolation are increasingly prominent issues, not just in Greater Manchester but throughout the UK. In fact, research from Age UK shows that almost 1.9 million older people living in the UK often feel ignored or invisible.
To combat this, Stagecoach Manchester worked with four local community centres to host a range of engaging events. From indoor curling to exercise classes, each session gave attendees the chance to enjoy an activity that they may not usually take part in, and have a cup of tea and a chat with some new friends.
Speaking about the campaign, Elisabeth Tasker, managing director for Stagecoach Manchester, said: “As one of the region’s biggest transport providers, we have a huge role to play in bringing people together and connecting them with the services they want and need.
“It is clear community centres are the linchpins of the local areas they serve in many cases, and in the last four weeks, we’ve seen first-hand just how important events to get people out of the house are. Whether you know someone who could benefit from getting out and about, or you yourself could do with a cuppa and someone to talk to – there are community groups and regular events across the region that can help.”
Speaking about the events, a regular attendee at the centre, Bob Dolan, commented: “If you stay in the house all day, you end up looking at the same four walls and they don’t keep you company. Stagecoach has helped me get out and about, meet new people and try new things – it’s been great fun.”
Rachel Hughes, of Barlow Moor Community Association which puts on regular sessions for retirees, commented: “It’s extremely important for the health of retirees to keep active. Through campaigns such as this, older people can build on existing relationships and meet new people, which helps us to tackle loneliness and isolation across Manchester. We, like many other community groups across the region, have a calendar of events which genuinely mean there is something for everyone.”
Stagecoach is supporting a bus industry pledge to tackle loneliness after figures from Greener Journeys, the campaign for more sustainable transport, showed that three in 10 people go at least one day a week without speaking to anyone close to them. One in three people deliberately catch the bus to have some human contact.
The crucial role that buses play in facilitating social interactions and alleviating loneliness is supported by previous research for Greener Journeys, which shows that two-thirds of people believe that buses improve community ties.
To see how Stagecoach Manchester has helped bring people together, visit: stagecoachbus.com/manchester/bringing-people-together