A member of the public contacted the Council after a post on ‘Spotted in Warminster’ and proposed a ‘Happy to Chat’ bench in the Lake Pleasure Grounds. Councillor Sue Fraser has said: ‘At the meeting on Tuesday 30th May, the Parks and Estates Committee decided to nominate a bench in the park as a Chat Bench. The idea of this bench is for people to sit and chat with anyone who is also sitting on it. It is Good to Talk.’
The premise of the ‘Happy to Chat’ bench is simple. All it requires is to designate a seat in a public space upon which anyone who sits down is happy and consenting to having a conversation with somebody else who sits there. The bench will be clearly marked to avoid confusion.
In 2019, the ‘Happy to Chat’ initiative was launched. The goal was primarily focused on combating loneliness within communities and in schools. It quickly took off in popularity around the globe and proved beneficial to those living solitary lives and the impact that had upon their mental health. Other benefits of the scheme include building a sense of community with individuals who may not ordinarily meet and giving a clear area where people can consent to conversing in public.
Although the scheme was started with focus on elderly generations and loneliness the audience can be as wide as: children in school playgrounds, single parents, busy working adults and vulnerable of all ages. A study by Age UK found out that 17% of elderly people speak to family, friends and neighbours only once a week, many of them even less. It is an important responsibility of local communities to address this problem within our society.
The designated bench will be the first one on the left-hand side of the Lake as if one was walking from the Park’s main entrance.
The Council is enthusiastic about this notion and the scheme will be trialled in the coming weeks.
For more information on the scheme, please see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-50000204.
Photos attached: Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Councillors Phil Keeble and Stacie Allensby
- End –
For more information contact Tom Dommett, Town Clerk, Warminster Town Council.
Tel: 01985 214847. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: 8 June 2023