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‘Chatty Bench’ launched in Kells!

Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Stewart McDonald with Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network Chairperson Marjorie Hawkins, Cllr Alan Barr and members of the local team from NIFRS.

Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Stewart McDonald with Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network Chairperson Marjorie Hawkins, Cllr Alan Barr and members of the local team from NIFRS.


Mid and East Antrim’s Loneliness Network is delighted to launch another ‘Chatty Bench’ in the Borough.  


Located at Riverside Walk in Kells, the brightly painted yellow bench provides a place for people to come together to have a chat.


Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Stewart McDonald, said:


“I am delighted to see another bench in the Borough. The ‘Chatty Benches’ initiative is one of many projects which aims to engage people in activities to minimise their sense of isolation.



“The ethos behind it is to encourage anyone who wants to engage in conversation with someone to sit down on the bench and just have a chat. There is also a plaque on the bench with a unique QR code on it, which residents can scan to access information on the Loneliness Network.”


Sabrina Lynn from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust says:


“One in three people in Northern Ireland are likely to experience feelings of loneliness in their lifetime (NISRA). Loneliness can affect anyone and experiences of loneliness can vary, but its effects can be profound and wide-ranging. It is considered by many to be one of the largest public health challenges we face and is why the work of Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network is so important."



Braid Councillor Alan Barr has welcomed the ‘Chatty Bench’ in Kells. He said:


"A few months ago I identified that Kells and Connor had no ‘Chatty Bench’ so I am delighted to see this worthwhile initiative being launched in the villages.  

 

“As a resident of Kells, I fully appreciate the beauty of the river walk and it is an ideal place for those who are wanting to have a chat.  This is especially true now that we are coming into Autumn and Winter, whereby people may be reluctant to be out and about at night and therefore feeling more lonely.


“I want to thank the MEA Loneliness Network Team for installing the bench."



Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network Chairperson Marjorie Hawkins said:


“We recognise that everyone is likely to experience some feelings of loneliness in their lifetime.  ‘Chatty Benches’ are designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community. We hope they will be seen as a place for people to come together to chat and connect.”


The Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network was formed in late 2019, it is a collaboration of community, voluntary and statutory organisations committed to combating loneliness and addressing vulnerabilities in people of all ages across all walks of life.

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