The Friendly Bench to be installed at Countess of Chester Country Park

22nd January 2020

A new seating area which includes a mini community garden is coming to the Countess of Chester Country Park thanks to a National Lottery social enterprise scheme.

The bench at the Countess Park will be one of the first five to be installed in the country and aims to fight loneliness and social isolation by bringing communities together.

The benches are accessible to all and are run by community volunteers. The Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park, who applied to acquire the bench in Chester, will continue to play a large role in helping bring the community together at the park.

Morag Scargill from Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park said: “Having a Friendly Bench at the hub area of the Countess of Chester Country Park will provide a unique opportunity to create a dedicated, welcoming space where individuals and groups can come together to experience a sense of community and wellbeing.

“We look forward to seeing this happening on a daily basis as well as at more organised events.”

The Friendly Bench CIC was created by Lyndsey Young in 2018 and is specially designed to bring people closer to nature and each other. It’s been described by Lyndsey as “a free to use ‘outdoor living room’ in the heart of the community.”

 

Benefits of The Friendly Bench include:

  • Increased social interaction.
  • Improved wellbeing and self-esteem
  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Reduced loneliness and social isolation
  • Increased community resilience.
  • Increased connection with nature (and the wildlife benefits that brings).
  • Increased connection with local services

Sarah Palgrave-Neath, Estates Manager at the Land Trust, said: “The Countess of Chester Country Park is already a fantastic space for the community and has become incredibly popular since it opened in 2014.

“Loneliness is a problem we need to tackle, particularly amongst older people. Statistics have shown that spending time outdoors, especially with other people, can have extremely positive health benefits too, so The Friendly Bench is a brilliant way to help people who may be struggling.

“I hope that once the bench is installed at the park the community will come together and encourage each other to get involved with this fantastic project and I look forward to seeing that happen.”

More information on The Friendly Bench will be available once the bench is installed at the park.

To get involved with the park and the Friends group, visit their Facebook page. For more information about the park, including events and opportunities, visit the site page.


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It is a privilege to work for an organisation that puts communities at the heart of its work. The knowledge that I am helping to provide a better environment, especially in areas where open green space is in short supply, is what motivates and inspires me.

Victoria Webbon, Estates Officer

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