In England, “chat benches” are popping up all over. If you feel like you’re having a hard time, feeling lonely or need someone to talk with, these benches are designed to help.
“The Chat Bench is a very simple concept where a sign is placed on a bench, typically in a park or a town [center], in a location used by a good cross-section of the community,” said Burnham-On-Sea Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Tracey Grobbeler. Grobbeler says “The sign simply helps to break down the invisible, social barriers that exist between strangers who find themselves sharing a commonplace. Simply stopping to say ‘hello’ to someone at the Chat Bench could make a huge difference to the vulnerable people in our communities and help to make life a little better for them.”
Another coastguard spokesperson said, “A simple ‘Hello’ or ‘Are you OK?’ can make such a difference to a person. In our role as Coastguards, we deal with many people who are battling mental health issues, they can feel isolated and unable to share what is going on, often this can be alleviated just by a simple chat.”
The police department released these benches to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The benches encourage the community to appreciate seniors and raise awareness for elders going through physical, emotional and financial abuse.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens finishes saying, “The Chat Bench is a fantastic new initiative that I hope encourages those of all ages to start many more conversations in the future.”
Let’s be kind today and take a moment to talk to those around us, you never know who might be in need of a listening ear.