top of page

Connection Matters | Mid and East Antrim welcomes another ‘Chatty Bench’

(L-R) Mayor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna with Michael Clarke (Chairperson of Sunnylands and Woodburn Community Development Group) and Marjorie Hawkins (Chair of Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network).

(L-R) Mayor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna with Michael Clarke (Chairperson of Sunnylands and Woodburn Community Development Group) and Marjorie Hawkins (Chair of Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network).


Mid and East Antrim’s Loneliness Network is delighted to launch another ‘Chatty Bench’ in the Borough to mark Loneliness Awareness Week 2023.

 

Located in Sunnylands Community Garden, Carrickfergus, the brightly painted yellow bench hasbeen introduced to provide a place for people to come together to have a chat.

 


Hosted by the Marmalade Trust, Loneliness Awareness Week is an annual campaign which raises awareness of loneliness and gets people talking. The aim is simple: to reduce the stigma of loneliness and encourage people to talk more openly about it.

 

This year’s Loneliness Awareness Week takes place between the 12 – 18 June and the theme is ‘Connection Matters’.


(L-R) Michael Clarke, Alison Kane (DEA Officer Carrick Castle), Marjorie Hawkins, Vanessa Postle (Sustainable Development Officer Parks and Open Spaces) and Mayor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna.

(L-R) Michael Clarke, Alison Kane (DEA Officer Carrick Castle), Marjorie Hawkins, Vanessa Postle (Sustainable Development Officer Parks and Open Spaces) and Mayor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna.


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:


“I am delighted to see another ‘Chatty Bench’ installed in our Borough. This fantastic initiative 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 a bench and just have a chat. There’s also a plaque on the bench with a unique QR code on it, which residents can scan to access information on the Loneliness Network.

 

“I look ahead with great anticipation for even more to follow soon.”


Chatty Bench in Sunnylands Community Garden.

Chatty Bench in Sunnylands Community Garden.


Yvonne Carson from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust added:


“We are realising more and more that connection matters. ‘Chatty Benches’ are a great way to break down that social barrier as they encourage us all to say hello and have a chat.”

 


Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network Chairperson Marjorie Hawkins said:


“Chatty Benches are designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community.


"We now have 15 benches across the Borough at the following locations:

 

1.​Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus

2.​Town Park, Larne

3.​Wellington Street, Ballymena

4.​People’s Park, Ballymena

5.​Maine Riverside Walk, Cullybackey

6.​Whitehead Railway Garden

7.​Portglenone Marina

8.​Ballykeel Community Garden, Ballymena

9.​Larne promenade/Larne Community Fridge

10.​Glenvale, Glarryford

11.​Ahoghill Park

12.​Sentry Hill, Ballymena

13.​Sunnylands Community Garden at Sunnylands Community Centre

14.​Harryville Motte, Ballymena

15.​Ballykeel Memorial Garden

 

“We hope these ‘Chatty Benches’ will be seen as places for people to come together, chat and connect.”

 


In addition, AEL Lunch Box Café is also getting involved in Loneliness Awareness Week by offering half price tea and coffee throughout the week.

 

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.

Comments


bottom of page