BALLYKEEL - Chris Bowyer and Rosie McCrory Ballykeel 1 Moving Forward Community Group, Cllr Reuben Glover, Mayor Ald Gerardine Mulvenna and Marjorie Hawkins Chair of MEA Loneliness Network
Mid and East Antrim’s Loneliness Network is delighted to launch three more ‘Chatty Benches’ in the Borough.
Located in Harryville Motte in Ballymena, Ballykeel 1 Memorial Community Garden, and Ballystrudder Community Garden in Islandmagee - the brightly painted yellow benches have been introduced to provide a place for people to come together to have a chat.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:
“Chatty Benches are springing up all over the Borough to help combat loneliness and reduce social isolation.
“It’s a simple idea where existing or newly installed benches have a sign on them that shows by sitting on them, a person is happy to chat with whoever comes and sits next to them. It is a fantastic opportunity to increase face to face interaction, spark up new conversations and make lasting friendships.”
HARRYVILLE - Representatives for the Carson Group, Mayor Ald Gerardine Mulvenna and Marjorie Hawkins Chair of MEA Loneliness Network
Sabrina Lynn from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust added:
“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 chat.
“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.”
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 14 Chatty Benches across the Borough and hope even more will follow soon.
ISLANDMAGEE - Mayor Ald Gerardine Mulvenna, Marion Adams Volunteer with Islandmagee Community Development Association and Marjorie Hawkins, Chair of MEA Loneliness Network
"To date benches have been launched in:
• Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus
• Town Park, Larne
• Wellington Street/Church Street, Ballymena
• People’s Park, Ballymena
• Maine Riverside Walk, Cullybackey
• Whitehead Railway Community Garden
• Portglenone Marina
• Larne promenade/Larne Community Fridge
• Glenvale, Glarryford
• Ahoghill Park
• Sentry Hill, Ballymena
• Sunnylands Community Garden, at SunnylandsCommunity Centre
• Harryville Motte, Ballymena
• Ballykeel Memorial Community Garden, Ballymena
“We hope these new benches will provide an opportunity to combat loneliness in our community, encouraging people to sit and have a chat.”