We're introducing Connect Benches to get people talking

We're introducing Connect Benches as a way to help combat loneliness and promote positive mental health at our sheltered schemes communal gardens. Thanks to an idea from customer, Mark Allan, we're bringing the project to life and getting people outside and talking. 

Mark Allan, Golding customer said 

“The concept of Connect Benches was inspired by an initiative I came across in Spain, where they had "happy to chat benches" aimed at creating safe outdoor spaces for community engagement. I firmly believe that having a continuous initiative that visually represents loneliness and mental health can only bring positive outcomes.  

Loneliness can be experienced by individuals for various reasons and can take a toll on a person's mental wellbeing. Im grateful to Golding Homes for bringing to life something that holds such deep significance to me personally and wish them all the best with the project. 

We're reclaiming as many old benches as possible and giving them a new lease of life through this initiative. The benches also help to signpost customers to wellbeing support in the form of a QR code and telephone number.

Katie Tree – Opal Team Leader, said: 

I'm thrilled to announce the introduction of Connect Benches into our communities across Maidstone. We know that gardens are important for mental wellbeing and have teamed this up with Mark’s idea of the benches. 

With help from our Handyman Jaymie Allan and residents, we'll be refurbishing benches that we already have at our Sheltered Schemes, encouraging people to get outside and talk. 

We hope these benches make a positive contribution to neighbourhoods where we have homes and help to combat loneliness and promote positive mental health in our communities.” 

We're aiming to extend this initiative to other communal areas in the future. 

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