IT’S that time of year again.

The hugely popular Santa Bus is back and will be taking to the streets from Thursday to raise some Christmas cheer along with much-needed funds for the Argus Appeal and Martlets Hospice.

The festive bus will be making its way around the streets of Brighton and Hove up until December 16 and children and families are invited to keep an eye out and join in the fun.

The first journey on Thursday will cover the Goldstone and Surrenden area and the bus will be setting off at approximately 5pm.

This year the bus is visiting the Portslade and Mile Oak area for the first time due to the team receiving numerous requests for them to visit and this will be the route for the second evening, on Friday.

Staff from estate agents Brand Vaughan are delivering leaflets to homes across the city telling them when the bus is coming.

Brighton and Hove Buses has donated the bus and driver and will be displaying posters on all its fleet.

A team of volunteers from the Theatre Royal are this week working on the decorations and music for the vehicle before it hits the streets and their lunch will be pizza supplied by Donatello.

Several companies around the city are also getting on board by accompanying the bus on its journey and shaking collection buckets.

Organisers are hoping to beat last year’s record-breaking £25,000 and are calling on as many people as possible to get involved so the two charities can benefit.

The Argus Appeal supports good causes across Sussex and is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year.

The Martlets in Hove provides care and support across the city and surrounding areas both at the hospice itself and in people’s homes.

Argus Appeal co-ordinator Elsa Gillio said: “The Santa Bus is always hugely popular and is the start of many people’s Christmas.

“We always get a fantastic reaction and everyone loves to see the bus. We are hoping the weather will stay good and hope to see lots of people come along and join in the fun.”

Martlets events manager Antonia Shepherd said: “For lots of local families our Santa Bus is a really special Christmas tradition, and as all the donations are split between Martlets and the Argus Appeal all the money we raise helps local people when they need it.

“The Santa Bus will visit different areas of Brighton each night so keep an eye on the Argus to find out if Santa is driving past your house."

Details of each route will be published daily in The Argus and are also available online.