The Bus & the Community Award

This Award is designed to recognise and reward a scheme, project or other activity which has provided benefits to local people.

The judges will be looking for nominations which place the bus industry (in its widest sense) at the heart of the local community in the area served, having achieved one or more of the following:

  • raised funds for a local charitable project
  • helped the local community to achieve an objective of its own, examples of which could include:
  • fund-raising
  • provision of community facilities 
  • other means to make life better for one or more groups of people in the community.
  • provided demonstrable benefits to the staff or team and/or for their employers.

Winner, Gold Award

Helping Hand - Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company

Helping Hand is considered to be the best assistive information card available, and was developed by Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company. It is now used widely by other bus operators in surrounding areas, and the deliberately unbranded cards are also used in cinemas and shops as far afield as the continent. The card's bespoke messages don't label the customer's condition (unless they wish it to) but instead focus on the type of help needed such as 'Please be patient if I'm confused'. The company is working with Government to see if it's possible to roll the scheme out across the country.

"Brilliant!" was the way the judges enthusiastically received this entry. Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company has shown how the bus industry can be a leader and has developed something with wide appeal beyond buses. Exemplary engagement with organisations and the local community has allowed person-led development which it is hoped will be adopted across the country. The judges considered Helping Hand to be a very worthy Gold Winner.

Winner, Silver Award

Safe Zone Bus - Xplore Dundee

Xplore Dundee supports a variety of charities and community-based projects, but when it was approached to participate in the Safe Zone Bus, it seemed to be a natural partnership. The Safe Zone Bus is a bus fully equipped with a first aid area, seating and tea and coffee making facilities. It parks at a fixed point in a city centre supermarket's car park each Friday and Saturday night between 2200 and 0400 to provide a point of support for any vulnerable people out on the streets late at night. The bus is staffed by a team of trained volunteers and first aiders who work closely with Police Scotland and keep in contact with local pubs and clubs which can refer people to the Safe Zone Bus via radio. There is also a 'sweeper bus' which travels through the city and picks up anyone who looks like they are in need of help. Dundee Safe Zone is a multi-agency partnership with Xplore Dundee, Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, Dundee City Alcohol and Drug Partnership, Dundee Community Safety Team, Cair Scotland, the British Red Cross and Dundee Street Chaplains, and is now a long term fixture after securing grants from various sources, including the Scottish Government and Police Scotland.

The judges were impressed with the large number of partners working together to deliver the scheme and thought that is good for Xplore Dundee to be forming links with many of the organisations. They also considered it to be a good project to help a section of society that includes the homeless, injured and distressed as well as those suffering from the effects of alcohol.

Winner, Bronze Award

Work experience for students with disabilities - Transport for Greater Manchester

Working with Redwood School in Rochdale and the charity Pure Innovations in Stockport,Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) offers work experience placements to people with learning and physical disabilities at bus stations and transport interchanges in North and South Manchester. Sixteen students have completed the placements which have been tailored to their individual needs. The experience has given the students the opportunity to work as part of a team, develop new skills which has boosted their self-confidence and in at least one case, has led to employment. TfGM has also benefited as the students have helped the organisation develop a deeper understanding of the issues that affect people with disabilities when using public transport and assisted in devising solutions.

The judges were impressed with this simple and adaptable scheme which opens up opportunities and creates real long term impact on the students taking part. Having disabled people in the bus industry will help make it more aware of the special needs of some of its passengers, as well as providing a rewarding experience for its staff and demonstrating that TfGM is a part of the community it serves.

Specially Commended

First Essex supporting Michael Birch and Essex Air Ambulance - First Essex

In September last year, First Essex bus driver Michael Birch suffered life threatening injuries after a lorry carrying a 15 tonne steam engine spilled its load crushing the bus. Twenty three passengers were injured, but none more so than Michael who was left with very severe life threatening injuries and was rushed to hospital by the Essex Air Ambulance. Fortunately, he is making a good recovery and is expected to return to work in a few months. Michael's colleagues initially rallied around Michael and his family, and then at Micheal's request, focussed their efforts on fundraising for the air ambulance which Michaels credits with saving his life. First Essex has now adopted the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust as its local charity.

The judges thoughts were with Michael and his family and wish him well on his recovery. The support from First Essex and his colleagues was noted and their fund raising efforts will no doubt help the air ambulance in its vital work.

Finalists

Disability Awareness - Blackpool Transport Services

Realising that a significant proportion of disabled people are unable to drive and do not use the bus or tram, Blackpool Transport created a scheme to champion this group through an enhanced offer based on a greater awareness by its staff of the varying needs of disabled travellers. Stakeholders from various disability groups worked in partnership to deliver experiential learning and customer engagement, extending the mandatory CPC training.

The judges noted that although much of the activity undertaken will be needed for all operators next year, being an early adopter could produce some best practice for the rest of the industry.

Big Bus Day - East Yorkshire Motor Services

Conceived as a one off event to celebrate the 80th anniversay of East Yorkshire Motor Services in 2006, the Big Bus Day regularly attracts over 7,000 people and now has a mission to make buses and bus travel a part of the community in a fun and engaging way. Held in partnership with Hull Musuems, the Big Bus Day features vintage and modern buses to look around, bus-related games, the EYMS Brass Band, sales of bus memorabilia, and other bus-themd fun including the bus driver hazard perception tests. Most popular are the free open top bus rides around Hull City Centre. The event is free to enter, and many activities are free, meaning families on low incomes can attend without worrying about costs. Voluntary donations are collected, raising ú15,000 for the NSPCC last year. People who attend Big Bus Day get to see a bus operator as part of the community, rather than a faceless corporate entity. They see 'behind the scenes' displays, chat to our friendly drivers, compare old and new buses, and, overall, create a good relationship with EYMS, and positive feelings towards bus travel.

The judges thought this to be an excellent way to engage a large section of the community with the bus industry who might not otherwise do so. EYMS has done a very good job of sustaining the event and the judges thought that engaging young people, the bus users of the future, to be a good strategy.

First Bus in the Midlands and Trussell Trust Foodbanks

First Bus - Midlands

A partnership was established in October 2015 when First Bus in the Midlands was approached by the Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, asking if the company could help with providing free travel to get volunteers to their distribution centres. The partnership with the Trussell Trust has evolved with First Bus now providing free journey vouchers to volunteers and foodbank users in Stoke on Trent, Leicester, Worcester, Pershore, Droitwich and the Malverns as well as a foodbank run by Charity Link in Leicester. Foodbanks are now firmly established as First Bus in the Midlands' local charity partners with a range of supporting activities in place as well as free travel. Members of staff are volunteering at foodbanks, drivers are helping foodbank users carry their bags and there are places in each depot where items of food can be donated. One depot is now passing items of lost property to its local foodbank to help raise funds and it hoped to roll this out across the region. The company is the only bus operator in the UK that is working in partnership with the Trussell Trust and the partnership has supported more than 2,000 individuals and families.

The judges were impressed with how quickly the company embraced helping foodbanks and rolled it out across the region and embraced other ways to help. They considered it to be something that other bus operators across the country could replicate.

Skegness Seasiders Team - Stagecoach East Midlands

The Seasiders are six individual liveried open top buses presented as named characters with classic seaside themes, which provide accessible transport between the top tourist destinations of Skegness and Ingoldmells. Staff at Skegness wanted to embrace the popularity of The Seasiders and use this to raise money for charitable causes to improve the quality of life for local people, especially those finding themselves in difficult circumstances. Thousands of pounds has been raised by Stagecoach Skegness staff, which has been donated to children's charities and towards maintaining vital community services such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Raising the profile of the Stagecoach business in Skegness has encouraged bus patronage and investment in public transport, and stimulated future new infrastructure development with the support of local businesses.

What impressed the judges with this entry is that the activity was initiated, and is undertaken by, the staff at the Skegness depot, making it truly a part of the local community is serves.

Who could be nominated?

Any organisation, team or group of staff working for a bus operator or a local transport authority. 

… and by whom?

Bus operators or local transport authorities were encouraged to nominate teams or individuals from within their own or other transport-related organisation who merit this recognition. We also welcomed nominations from local community groups or others who may have benefitted from the project(s). Self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The judges will be looking for projects that are designed to place the bus industry at the heart of its local community, recognising staff at all grades who have undertaken a scheme, project or other activity which provides benefits to local people. 

We would particularly welcome nominations from or about depots where staff have worked together, or from smaller teams of staff or exceptional individuals. Nominees should have worked on a project which provides benefits to the local community through fund-raising or giving of people's time or other charitable activity. 

Decisions will be based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they address the criteria. Nominations should therefore:

  • Describe the project or initiative
  • Describe how the community was involved in the development of the project
  • Set out the benefits of the project to the wider community 

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The UK Bus Awards scheme is organised by The Bus Industry Awards Limited
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