‘Happy to Chat’ benches aim to combat loneliness and isolation
As part of its work to improve health and wellbeing within the community it represents, Haydon Wick Parish Council installed new ‘Happy to Chat’ benches as a trial on the Hamble Road/ Thames Avenue footpath in November 2021.
This initiative aims to help break down the barriers of social isolation and get people talking. The benefits of ‘Happy to Chat’ benches have been demonstrated by other similar initiatives across the country, and studies have found that providing benches allows people to spend longer outside, which is beneficial for mental health and helps to connect people within communities. This connection is particularly important for people who might find social venues like cafes too expensive or too busy.
However, these benches were removed on 30th June 2022, due to numerous reports of anti-social behaviour during the evening hours. The Council’s decision to remove the benches was not an easy one and its priority was to give those residents directly affected by the behaviour priority, whilst they are in their homes.
A consultation will be conducted whereby you will be able to share your feedback regarding the new location(s). Please help us by taking the short survey below to have your say. The survey closes at 5pm on Friday 29th July 2022.