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Chatty Bus launches to bring people together and combat loneliness

PUBLISHED: 17:26 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 07 March 2020

Chatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Chatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Volunteers from major businesses in Norwich came together on Friday to launch Chatty Bus – a new project with the aim of combatting loneliness in the city.

Chatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria PertusaChatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Social isolation is a growing issue in Norwich - in 2017, the city was among the worst in the UK for loneliness, while last year it was named as one of the unhappiest places in the country to live.

In response, the Norwich Together Alliance and Konectbus have launched the Chatty Bus scheme, which sees volunteers from Aviva, Konectbus and Age UK give out 'happy to chat' badges and help strike up conversations.

On Friday, they were at Castle Meadow and on the 5A, 5B and 5C services to kick off the project.

Aviva worker Daniel Griffiths, one of the volunteers, said: "It's a good scheme to get involved in - it seems like something a bit different to the usual schemes, something different.

"It feels like a good way to give back to the community. Encouraging people to talk more is good for everybody."

Chatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria PertusaChatty Bus launches in Norwich. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Fellow volunteer Marie Scarfe, who also works for Aviva, said that she was taking part "because I want to help make people not feel lonely".

Go East Anglia marketing manager Davina Langley, who was also volunteering, said: "We will be doing it more over the next few months. We'll be moving around different routes and will look further afield to services to the likes of Watton and Dereham to include more people."

Davina Langley, marketing manager at Go East Anglia, at the Chatty Bus launch in Norwich. Picture: Victoria PertusaDavina Langley, marketing manager at Go East Anglia, at the Chatty Bus launch in Norwich. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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