Number 10 Bus

Hackney Playbus are setting up a crowd funding campaign for a new mobile.


The last time we met, in 2012, was at their 40th birthday.Bugsie

 I’m looking forward to their 50th birthday in 2022 and hope they get their bus as a birthday present.

Hackney 2020I wondered whether the bus was still as important as during the current situation the Playbus itself must surely be closed so I decided to ask a few questions.

What area of work does the Hackney Playbus do now?

We are still doing much of what we were doing back in '72. Identifying pockets of need for play resources for under 5s.

How have you coped with the pandemic?

We have done amazing outreach work after it was apparent the bus could not be used. We have 3, Zoom sessions a week where we initiate songs, story-telling and conversation.

Two of these are targeted at the most-needy, the other being open to all.

We produce short videos of activities that children can do in their homes using bits and bobs that are around the home.

We provide sign posting help for carers that need services particular to their needs. We also have delivered books via our cargo bike and most recently props for children to use whilst singing 'Zoom zoom zoom' or 'the wheels on the bus', at our Zoom sessions. In the brief spell during 2020 that we were able to meet up, we did some outdoor sessions with mats and toys etc. - without the bus.

It’s great to see how they have adapted to think outside of the box.

Why is the Playbus still necessary? 

As an organisation we are more needed than ever. The pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and particularly for families in short stay accommodation, families who are new refugees in this country, we can be a lifeline.

With nearly 50 years of experience and contacts we really can identify need and be a base for families to connect with each other and seek to resolve their difficulties. 

Like every Playbus it is a highly visible and attractive community resource that invites participation.

The initial idea behind many Playbus was to reach out and help many families in isolation or in need of help as well as providing a haven of opportunity to explore, play and meet others. It seems that during this lockdown it is more important that ever. A Playbus can offer a safe bubble, a learning environment and certainly when the doors are open again maybe there will be many children who will need to socialise with friends again. A mobile project to drive to wherever the need may be and to support children and families in whatever way they can.

It had been my intention to write stories for other bus projects so perhaps it is time to finish the one I had started for ‘Bugsie’ in 2012.

Looking for some inspiration about ways to play at home with your babies and young children? The Playbus team have lots of lovely ideas about how to use everyday objects from around the house to help your child grow, learn and have fun through play.

Check out Hackneys activities here.

Some of my bus books have featured on the EYFSHome learning days.

A free, daily set of home schooling activities for 3-5 year-olds linked to the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) educational programmes


Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus

Daisy Daydream

or maybe

A different bus by Ross Baker


Where to get my books

Books are available from the following:   My Books

Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com     Waterstones    

Barnes&Noble    Foyles (amongst others)

Don't forget to look and ask in your local Museum, book shop or even buy on your Sainsburys on line shop!

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