Since 2016, First Bus have been generously match funding bus tickets each month, with each ticket going to people seeking sanctuary in our city. Bristol City of Sanctuary fundraises a certain amount, with First Bus matching the donation with twice the tickets.
Initially launched to support people who were destitute in Bristol, the fund has since been expanded to provide tickets to anyone seeking sanctuary in the city who needs a ticket to travel to medical appointments, drop-in centres and legal appointments. A large number of the tickets support people in travelling to report at immigration centres (a requirement put on many people in the asylum system), a journey that forces people to travel around 5 miles to the outskirts of Bristol, sometimes weekly. Up until this month, we were providing 69 day tickets and 6 one month tickets.
As you can imagine, these tickets make a huge difference to the people who receive them. Whether they support someone to attend vital pre-natal appointments miles from their house, or allow someone to access a drop-in centre, where they can get a hot meal and connect with friends, each ticket is a lifeline. Which is why we were delighted when First Bus agreed to increase the amount of daily tickets we receive to 245 per month.
This is a huge increase and is in response to requests from our partner organisations highlighting the huge need in the city. First Bus have already gone above and beyond in their support with the Sanctuary Transport Fund, providing tens of thousands of tickets, and we are so grateful that they have agreed to expand it. Commercial Director, Rob Pymm, explains their reasoning for the support, “The vital work that Bristol City of Sanctuary does through the Transport Fund is an amazing example of how organisations and communities come together in our city to help those in need. We are very proud to have supported the Fund since 2016, and as the number of people needing that support has now increased, we are all too happy to help by providing more tickets.”
“Our services help people in many different ways – and being able to provide a real lifeline to those who face very difficult circumstances is something that we at First West of England are very passionate about. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Bristol City of Sanctuary and supporting them in making a real difference to people’s day-to-day lives.”