Benches have been the target of hostile designs for a number of years – but this one is hoping to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
The Friendly Bench, which was launched in Bottesford, Leicestershire, earlier this year by creator Lyndsey Young with help from Sir Alan Duncan MP, merges a lush community garden with a convenient seating place.
The project is designed to offer a meeting place for elderly people who are at risk of becoming isolated from their community with a place to meet others through friendship, events and activities organised by volunteers.
Far from the exclusion brought by the notorious Camden bench or examples like the one seen in Bournemouth in February, The Friendly Bench is aiming to give people with limited social mobility a place to rest as well as access to nature allowing a boost to their mental wellbeing and physical health.
Made with sustainable timber and decorated with plants and organic herbs, the first bench in creator Lyndsey’s hometown of Bottesford is being maintained by a team of two volunteers.
But she insists that the community is also pitching in with one elderly resident claiming that tending to the plants “gives him a reason to get out of bed”.