Essex shoppers had the chance to check out human books from a unique mobile library on Thursday 02 February.
Marking Time to Talk Day, Hedingham and Chambers’ Chatty Bus had a collection of very special passengers, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester, the director of the Essex Book Festival and re-enactment historian Josh Firby, each acting as human books.
Visiting the Stanway Co-op Foodstore and Clacton Shopping Village, the Chatty Bus helped spark conversations with local shoppers as a way of reducing loneliness and social isolation. The team was supported by representatives from Mid and North East Essex Mind on what was the charity’s Time to Talk Day, which aims to encourage conversations with family, friends or colleagues about mental health.
In contrast to a regular mobile library, the Chatty Bus mobile human library was home to human books, each of whom could be checked out so members of the public could spend a few minutes in conversation with that person, learning from their experience.
Human books on board the Chatty Bus included the director of the Essex Book Festival, Ros Green, the Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester, Cllr Tim Young and Nicola Goodchild, Sam Biscoe from Mercury theatre, award-winning author Ray Star, Nikki Thurgood from Black Jacket Group to talk about food and drink, Jonathan Warnock from Sporting ’87 FC to talk about sport and Josh Firby to share about history.
Davina Langley, from Hedingham & Chambers, commented: “It has been a lovely day to learn all about our human books specialist subjects and speak to some of the public and learn about their lives to celebrate Time to Talk Day.
“It has been fabulous to see public engagement, brighten everyone’s days and raise awareness on the importance of using buses to keep communities connected. Thank you to everyone who came and made the day fabulous.”
Jo White, a community fundraiser for Mid and North East Essex Mind, added: “We are thrilled to have been able to mark Time to Talk Day with the Chatty Bus and its mobile human library. There were some fascinating people to talk to and it was a great way to start conversations.
“Speaking out is the only way to find help to improve mental health, so Time to Talk Day encourages us all to talk more about our feelings and our mental health. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or in crisis, the team at Mind is here to listen, give you support and offer advice.”