Local groups gathered together this week to celebrate the first two ‘Chatty Benches’ in Shirley.
The new pale blue Chatty Benches in Shirley Park and Parkgate are part of a project to help reduce social isolation and loneliness by encouraging people to sit and chat.
Many people are still struggling with the isolating effects of the pandemic so it’s hoped that the Chatty Benches will encourage people to sit down and talk to each other if they feel lonely.
Councillor Joe Tildesley, Deputy Mayor of Solihull, said:
“I am delighted to support the Chatty Benches project which will help bring the people of Solihull together.
“It is a wonderful idea to help reduce social isolation and get people back into the community. If you see someone sat on one of these benches, you can go and talk to them to make sure they are ok – you may be the only person they have spoken to in days.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project. I hope to see many more light blue benches popping up all across the borough!”
Sharon Gates, Senior Social Prescriber at Citizens Advice Solihull Borough, said:
"CASB has spoken to hundreds of lonely, isolated people and we feel the Chatty Bench project is very important; it will provide people with somewhere to go to talk to someone. Mental health problems and loneliness are on the rise, and this is a small step in trying to address the major issues within our community.
“It's good to talk, we hope people will sit, chat, smile and heal."
The Chatty Benches are in Shirley Park, close to the main entrance and in Parkgate by the Royal British Legion. The project is supported by Citizens Advice Solihull Borough (CASB), Parkgate, Friends of Shirley Park, Solihull Healthcare Partnership and Solihull Council.