Parks Service is delighted to support the Chatty Bench initiative in our open spaces across Ards and North Down, as we work to provide areas that help improve people’s lives from a physical and mental health perspective.
In 2021, the Borough's first Chatty Bench was installed at Bangor Castle Walled Garden, within Castle Park. The installation of this Chatty Bench provided an opportunity to combat loneliness in our community, encouraging people to sit and be willing to have a chat.
As society emerged from prolonged periods of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, the Chatty Bench gave people a pathway to reconnect with society. The bright colour of the bench offers an opportunity for passers-by to see a fellow member of the community who may want to talk.
The Chatty Bench has not only helped to tackle loneliness within the community but has encouraged stronger relations and built upon an existing positive community ethos.
Based upon the success of the first bench, a further five Chatty benches were installed in the Borough's Green Flag sites: Kiltonga Nature Reserve, Ballymenoch Park, Linear Park, Londonderry Park, and an additional bench at Ward Park.
In many of the Borough's benches you will also find a QR code for the Here2Help App, which provides quick access to advice and support services for anyone in crisis or needing help. The app contains details of local, not-for-profit organisations who can help with many issues, including mental health, addiction, housing and domestic abuse.
The app was created through a locl initiative and developed by Noel McKee from East Antrim Counselling: find out more about the app at Here2Help App | Ards and North Down Borough Council