In 2010, the British Red Cross wanted to reach out into the community to meet people and inform people about the work they do. The Roadshow Bus toured city centre locations around the UK for 3 weeks over the summer. The bus was downstairs was transformed into a mobile charity shop with hanging rails for clothes, bookshelves and all the equipment necessary to run as a mobile charity shop.
The upstairs of the bus needed be a multi functional space. Firstly they need a seating area and secondly a training area where prospective volunteers could be shown what to do when they receive donations in one of their charity shops. The relaxed seating area was sited at the front of the bus with a red sofa and free standing chairs, this created the space for an informal chatting area where people could take their time and find out about the work of the British Red Cross. The training area was therefore set up at the rear of the bus. In the charity shop training area people were shown what to do when they receive donations in one of their charity shops. They were trained in how to check a garment, how to price it up and how to prepare it for sale.
During the 3 week tour in each location the bus was set up with a gazebo and the mobile shop was run inside and outside the bus. In a bid to involve the younger generation, local fashion students were invited to enter a competition to style the second hand clothes and dress the models using the stock that had been donated in one of their charity shop.
This tour was followed by a second tour in 2011 which this time focussed on general volunteering for the British Red Cross to co-inside with National Volunteers Week. The 4 key areas they wanted to showcase volunteering opportunities for were: Event First Aid, Health and Social Care, Emergency Response and Charity Shops. First Aid demonstrations were given outside the bus and the event toured 18 locations over three weeks with the aim of helping people to understand the variety of volunteering opportunities available. The tour was a huge success and statistics showed that the number of volunteers recruited exceeded their expectations. The bus created opportunities for additional press coverage including radio and social media coverage.
After the 2010 roadshow Penny Sims from the British Red Cross team said:
“Commbus were fantastically helpful and supportive of our project, the Big Red Cross Bus. From the outset, they understood what we were trying to achieve and gave us valuable advice and help in everything from planning the tour route and locations, through to the inner design and practicalities. The drivers felt like part of our team, and Commbus really made us feel that they had invested a lot in making this project work. Thanks to their support, the Big Red Cross bus became a reality, helping us to promote the work of the British Red Cross, our Red Cross shops and to get more people volunteering. By the end of the tour over 2000 people had boarded the bus and 200 volunteers had been recruited. We received 56 bags of donated stock for our shops and the bus generated 54 pieces of press and online coverage, including an interview on BBC5 Radio Live. It prompted social media coverage from as far afield as Germany and the US. We are looking forward to start planning our roadshow activity with Commbus for 2011!”