Good news stories are few and far between at the moment – but this natter bench installed in Horsforth, Leeds is a little breath of fresh air. The 2.4-metre long bench was installed in Hall Park and aims to help tackle loneliness by taking in to account social distancing rules.
In November Britain saw its highest levels of loneliness during the pandemic with 4.2 million people admitting they were ‘always or often lonely’, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This new natter bench fits two people and was suggested by Horsforth councillors Jonathon Taylor, Dawn Collins and Jackie Shemilt who secured funding – who got the idea from their Facebook Community Group. The bench reads: “If you need someone to talk to, or just rest your feet – take a seat and have a chat, that’s how friends meet”.
According to The Yorkshire Evening Post, Mr Taylor said: “Some of the best ideas come from our community, and this is another example.”
“We know more people are suffering with loneliness following the restrictions this year and installing this bench in our park specifically to meet friends, make new friends, or to encourage someone to join for a few minutes will hopefully help overcome this. The natter bench has been designed with social distancing in mind.”
“Once the rules and guidelines say it is safe to do so, I’d encourage residents to take a moment and make time for a chat and brighten someone’s day – I think this will be so important to isolated residents, and will make a big difference in people’s lives.”
The bench allows residents to meet and socially distance – while having a catch up, and is a great idea which will hopefully inspire other areas to do something similar. It states that only two people should be sat on the bench in a socially distanct safe manner.