Mid and East Antrim welcomes three more ‘Chatty Benches’ as part of Loneliness Awareness Week 2022
Mid and East Antrim’s Loneliness Network is delighted to launch three more ‘Chatty Benches’ in the borough to mark Loneliness Awareness Week
Located in Larne Promenade, Ahoghill and Sentry Hill in Ballymena, the brightly painted yellow benches have been introduced to provide a place for people to come together to have a chat.
Hosted by Marmalade Trust, Loneliness Awareness Week is an annual campaign which raises awareness of loneliness and gets people talking about it.
The aim is simple: to reduce the stigma of loneliness and encourage people to talk more openly about it. This year’s Loneliness Awareness Week will take place between the 13th – 17th June 2022.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Alderman Noel Williams said: “The Chatty Benches initiative is one of many that aims to engage people in activities to minimise their sense of isolation.
“The ethos behind it is to encourage anyone who wants to engage in conversation with someone to sit down on a bench and just have a chat. There is also a plaque on the bench with a unique QR code on it, which residents can scan to access information on the Loneliness Network.
“I am delighted to see three more benches established in the Borough and look ahead with anticipation for even more to follow soon.”
Yvonne Carson from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust says: “The restrictions of the past two years have exacerbated the experience of loneliness and isolation for many people. Chatty Benches are a great way to break down that social barrier as they encourage us all to say hello and have a chat.”
Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network Chairperson Marjorie Hawkins said: “Chatty Benches are designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community. We now have 11 Chatty Benches across the Borough at the following locations:
- Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus
- Town Park, Larne
- Wellington Street, Ballymena
- People’s Park, Ballymena
- Maine Riverside Walk, Cullybackey
- Whitehead Railway Garden
- Portglenone Marina
- Ballykeel, Ballymena
- Larne promenade
- Sentry Hill
“We hope these new ‘Chatty Benches’ will be seen as places for people to come together to chat and connect.”
The Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network was formed in late 2019, it is a collaboration of community, voluntary and statutory organisations committed to combating loneliness and addressing vulnerabilities in people of all ages across all walks of life.