Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


The Magic Community Bus

The Magic Bus - taking well being to every sector of our communities! Our bus will journey into the places where no provision exists, it will transform lives, it will offer a voice to the unheard, it will be both a physical vehicle on the streets and a vehicle for change in the lives of the disadvantaged.

We are a small community arts centre in the middle of Essex. Colchester Arts Centre. We run an inclusive programme of events, we have a particular emphasis on inclusion and access for people with disabilities. We operate relaxed performances for people on the autistic spectrum, dementia friendly events, touch tours and audio described performances for visually impaired people, British Sign Language interpreted events for deaf people, memory afternoons for people suffering from loneliness or isolation issues amongst others. All these events are fully inclusive for people both non-disabled and disabled.

However, there are large numbers of people who we cannot reach. This might be for any number of reasons. It may be that they simply live too far away to make it easy for them to get here, or they don’t have the care support or they don’t have sufficient funding or they simply aren’t aware of the facilities we offer. 

Our Magic Bus proposal is a radical, inventive, creative, and ambitious answer to reaching out beyond the walls of our building. In essence is a simple idea, if people can’t come to us, well we shall come to them!

There are so many isolated people. People can be isolated geographically, as in they live in remote villages or tiny towns with only the village shop. But people can also be isolated within their communities through barriers of age, disability, culture and identity or other taboos and stigmas that make them vulnerable.

It is difficult to empirically quantify the need for this work. What we can say is that every community has vulnerable people.

We already have an old beautiful London Routemaster bus. We own this bus. She is a thing of beauty. But she is currently forlorn, vandalised and distressed. The photos included tell this story. This bus, in her final operational days on London was in fact an Aviva bus!

We are fundraising to restore her to her former glory. And more.

This isn’t a vague open ended wish list, but a hard-nosed, clearly priced cohesive and strategic project. The bus is structurally in good nick and capable of being fully operational quite quickly. We have all the jobs priced up.

This is a ten year project. Our conservative estimate is that once fully operational the Aviva Magic Bus could be reaching over 100 people per week for 6 months of the year. This means that over our ten year project plan we will touch the lives of 26,000 of our most vulnerable communties.

This is a long term, fully sustainable project. As a registered charity and a non profit making organisation we have annual partnership funding agreements with our local authority and regional arts council. We have the revenue funding and support to make the project dazzle in the years ahead.

We have an army of over 40 regular volunteers at the arts centre, all keen to sweep, polish clean and sometimes even to drive (licensing permitting) our beautiful bus. We work with young apprentices, student interns, placements from support units and disabled people to achieve our goals.

We have a long history of delivering both small and large scale projects on time and within budget. Last year our street photography project for people affected by homelessness was delivered on time and within budget (£50k)

On our bus we will be providing memory afternoons, arts and craft workshops for children, film screening, talks, information points, mentoring, signposting, open access for community groups.

The Aviva Magic Bus is vehicle for the imagination, a vehicle for change, a vehicle for well being.

Project Video

Colchester Arts Centre

Moment of Pride

Help Transform The Bus! Help Transform Lives! A Dancing Bus? A Magic Bus - absurd idea - but why not? Our bus will journey to people who are vulnerable and isolated. We will bring joy and laughter to those affected by isolation and loneliness.

Location: Colchester