Several benches located throughout Worksop and Retford have been marked with ‘Happy to Chat’ plaques to encourage people to strike up a conversation with others when seated on these benches.
The introduction of the Happy to Chat benches throughout Bassetlaw coincided with Time to Talk Day on 6 February 2020 – which inspires people to talk to others about mental health. The aim of Time to Talk day is to show that talking about mental illness does not have to be awkward and can make a big difference to people’s lives. Time to Change hopes that increasing conversation about mental health will help to end mental health discrimination and stigma.
The council supported the idea of having Happy to Chat benches in the district after the idea was suggested on a social media post made by Retford resident Kerry Walker.
Kerry said, “I first saw Happy to Chat Benches being done in another area and saw what a positive impact it had on the people in that area.
I love living in Retford and people are so kind and helpful. However, I realised that there are still a lot of lonely people and how much difference it made to me when someone simply said hello to me - it lifted my spirits. So, I thought if we had a chat bench in Retford what a positive impact it could have on the loneliness that some people feel when no one talks to them or they never see anyone from one day to the next!”
She added, “Sometimes when I felt lonely I used to go to town with a flask of coffee and sit on a bench in town and watch people come and go never speaking to anyone. I guess these days it's difficult for people to know whether to approach someone just to even just say hello. However, with these chat benches I hope and pray it will make a difference and people won't be afraid to sit and talk to a stranger
I am so happy and excited that not only are these benches actually going to happen but there's going to be 5 of them.
Just shows how kind hearted Retford is and it's a start to combat the loneliness some people feel.”
Last Updated on Thursday, February 06, 2020