Salford mental health charity START will be introducing ‘Chatty Benches’ to Walkden in order to combat loneliness and isolation in the area.
The benches will be on the upper floor of Egerton Walk, located outside of Clouds and The Dispensary.
The benches are designed to encourage people to sit and chat in the hope that it helps people to reconnect with others and support positive mental health. They are made to feel homely and welcoming with the use of warm lighting, soft furnishings and plants. They will provide an informal meeting space for people.
Michelle Dennett, Charity Director of Start, said, “The impact that social isolation and loneliness can have on physical, mental and social health is well documented and since the pandemic we have seen a growing number of people who no longer feel motivated or confident enough to leave their house and this is having a huge impact on people’s wellbeing.
“The Chatty Benches in Walkden will hopefully create a safe social space to encourage people to come together, to talk and to build friendships. By gifting this area to the community we hope people will feel ownership and pride for the space and include regular visits to it as part of their weekly routines, arranging to meet with friends old and new.”
It is intended that ‘Guest Sitters’ will visit the Chatty Benches from different services and local provision in Salford. A timetable is visible in the space to inform people of upcoming guests. This will include volunteers from the local community to facilitate discussions as well as community connectors, mental health practitioners or social workers.