As life slowly begins to return to normal for many of us, a large proportion of the UK’s older population will continue to face restrictions or adjustments to daily life.

And so, to put a smile back on the nation’s face, the UK’s longest-running women’s magazine, The People’s Friend, is taking a colourful yarn-bombed bus to the streets to help raise funds for our call companions service – and they called on people of the UK to help adorn it with their own knitting!

The colourful knitted bus will hit the streets in September 2020, courtesy of bus operator, Stagecoach, delivering a warm dose of friendship to everyone who sees it.

But before it sets off, The People’s Friend, which celebrated its 150-anniversary last year, called on the knitters of the UK to send a triangle of bunting that will be added to the bus, as a collective message to people of the UK to show we’re thinking about them.

Working with crochet designer and urban knitter, Emma Leith (who created the beautiful pattern above), the bus’s design will embrace the trend of yarn bombing and will be adorned with friendly crocheted faces, delightful pom poms, brightly coloured squares and rows of bunting submitted by the public.

The magazine is raising funds for call companions, which offers free, regular friendly calls to ensure that those most vulnerable to isolation remain connected to the outside world. 

Re-engage CEO, Meryl Davies, says: “Many people have really suffered with feelings of loneliness and isolation through this crisis and it’s not over yet. The situation can be incredibly confusing and frustrating as well as frightening. The prospect of social clubs and activities for people over 75 opening up anytime soon looks unlikely and this is leaving thousands of people bored, anxious, and lonely.

“We’re delighted to be working with The People’s Friend to raise smiles across the UK.  All of the money raised will go to fund our call companions service. Our volunteers are genuinely interested in raising smiles and chatting to older people about things like gardening, books or just the day to day. We pair people up thoughtfully and carefully so the conversation flows. It’s a great way to make a new supportive friend and give yourself some comfort to help you through this difficult time.”

Angela Gilchrist, Editorial Director of The People’s Friend, said: “In our 150-year history, 2020 has been one of the hardest, in particular having to stay away from family and friends. But The People’s Friend is always there to provide friendship in times of trouble.

“This year, we want to go the extra mile, literally, and thanks to Stagecoach, we will bring the fun and friendship found in the magazine to the streets of Britain, with our very own yarn-bombed bus.

“We’d be delighted if the public want to contribute, either by knitting a triangle of bunting which will be added to our bus, or with a donation to our wonderful charity partner Re-engage, which will support those who have been facing isolation even before the world went into lockdown.

“Life is better when shared with a Friend and we want to offer a hand of friendship and raise smiles across the UK.”

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach, said: “Buses are a real lifeline for people up and down the country, particularly the most vulnerable, and they help bring friends, families and communities together.

“We’re really pleased to be supporting this new project. We know that the biggest thing people have missed in recent months is that human contact and togetherness, and this fantastic initiative will literally see the nation’s knitters and our buses join up Britain.”

The People’s Friend Yarn-Bombed Bus will be on tour in September 2020. For the bunting pattern, tour updates and to nominate a street for the bus to visit, head to The People’s Friend website and social media channels. 



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