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More chance to chat

More Chatty Benches to be installed across the Borough

Residents and visitors to the Borough will have even more opportunity to spark conversation as more chatty benches are set to be installed. The ‘Chatty Bench’ is an initiative designed to encourage people to come together to chat and connect while seated on specially designated benches. 

Originating in Wales a number of years ago to tackle the issue of loneliness, the chatty bench has inspired a movement that has spread across the globe. The Antrim and Newtownabbey Loneliness Network, which was formed in 2019 to raise awareness and address loneliness within the Borough, has already established chatty benches in Castle Mall and Antrim Castle Gardens. As a result of the positive feedback received and to build on the success of these benches, the scheme will now be expanded into other areas including Hazelbank Park and Lilian Bland Community Park with others areas being confirmed.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said;

“It’s great to see this fantastic initiative being rolled out across the Borough. Loneliness can affect anyone from teenagers and young adults, new parents, carers and recently bereaved, to students, older people and those with disabilities. I hope the addition of these benches in more locations will go some way to addressing the issue of loneliness in the Borough. If you spot someone sitting alone on these chatty benches, can I encourage you to take a seat and simply have a chat – you might be the only person they talk to that day.”

Due to the current climate, the Chatty Benches display a message reminding people to socially distance while sitting on the bench.

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