The CHAT (Community, Health, Advice and Training) bus was launched in April 2010 to reach out to local communities across the Isle of Man and serve as a mobile meeting place where older people in particular (but not exclusively) could socialise and meet over a cup of tea.
The bus was originally conceived as ‘the tea pot bus’ that would travel around the Island, bringing generations together and help people, especially the elderly, feel less isolated. However, a successful fundraising campaign launched by Age Concern Isle of Man in partnership with Isle of Man Newspapers inspired a more ambitious project. It was decided to commission a bus with sophisticated technology and facilities that would expand the mobile community centre concept and develop it into a vehicle accommodating a broad range of services from health care to computer training, yet would remain true to its ‘tea pot’ origins.
The CHAT bus now operates to a weekly timetable. It has also served as a mobile recording studio for the Tell Me Project, is to be found at high-profile events, such as the Tynwald Day fair, Southern Agricultural Show and the Royal Manx Agricultural Show and is regularly
hired for corporate training days by local companies.
To hire the bus contact the CHAT bus host here.
The bus features:
Additionally leaflets detailing CVO (Council of Voluntary Organisations) members’ services are available on the bus.
With on-board internet access and computer training provided the CHAT bus has helped people form new friendships and families keep in touch; one elderly lady learned how to use email and is now in regular contact with her daughter in France; another saw pictures of her new granddaughter for the first time online, while a 94-year-old client has been shown how to use Facebook by one of Age Concern’s youngest volunteers to contact her family abroad.
The CHAT bus was initially sponsored and supported by: