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Started just before Christmas 2014 as part of Buzz50's Banish Loneliness Campaign for Seniors over 50. Still going strong in 2017!
This category is for talk about loneliness and how to tackle it. Can you can help in our campaign?
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TOPIC: 'Happy to Chat' benches:

'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 16 hours ago #3332710

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What a brilliant idea.......The Happy to Chat Benches

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-50000204

'Happy to Chat' benches: The woman getting strangers to talk

By Matt Lloyd
BBC Wales
19 October 2019

For 40 minutes an elderly man sat on a bench in a busy city centre park - alone.

He was ignored by the passing dog walkers, joggers, parents with pushchairs and teenagers with headphones, all too busy to even say "hello".

Did he want company? Did he want to be alone? Did anyone actually care?

It was enough to move one woman to try and get strangers to chat, helping inspire a movement that has spread across the world.

"There was some of that British reserve that made me think he may think me weird if I sat next to him," said Allison Owen-Jones, 53, from Cardiff.




"Wouldn't it be nice if there was a simple way to let people know you're open to a chat, I thought.

"So I came up with the idea of tying a sign that would open the avenues for people. I didn't want it to sound too vulnerable so I wrote, 'Happy to chat bench. Sit here if you don't mind someone stopping to say hello'.

"All of a sudden, you're not invisible anymore."

The idea in May this year led Allison to laminate cards and begin tying them to benches in parks around her home city.

It was a blissfully simple idea to tackle loneliness that swiftly created a buzz.

The Senior Citizen Liaison Team charity took the idea a step further.

It has already set up partnerships with both Avon and Somerset Police and Gwent Police to have permanent benches across their areas and arrange volunteers to "chat-bench".

Word has spread through social media and now "Happy to Chat" benches are popping up all over the world - with the exact same words composed by Allison.

People from Canada, the United States, Australia, Switzerland and Ukraine have contacted the charity, all interested in copying the idea to get people talking.


Read more on the BBC website, that is a live link above.....just click onto it.

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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 13 hours ago #3332755

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Brilliant idea!!!!!!
The easiest thing for us all to do is to spare time to chat even for just a few minutes, can make all the difference to someone who is lonely smile.png
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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 11 hours ago #3332769

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What a fab idea - when you read that some people feel so lonely they go to the supermarket just to chat with the cashier on the way out, then these Chat benches are a gift to those alone, or those who would just like to chat with someone anyway. I'd certainly sit down for a natter. smile.png
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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 10 hours ago #3332782

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I did a volunteer job in a thrift shop we had a lot of people come in that didn't buy anything and just wanted a chat,when I go anywhere I'm always chatting to people.
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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 10 hours ago #3332790

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Love this reaching out in a very simple way!

I will look for benches that are tagged and make it a point to say hello if someone is sitting there.smile.png
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Better to be be surprised at what's around the next corner than to plan on what I might find there.

'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 10 hours ago #3332791

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They should install them on trains.

Went from Harrogate to York (and back) yesterday. The only time I got a response from anyone was on the return trip when I gave up my seat for someone. A woman sat opposite me sneezed so I said "bless you". She never said a word, just peered over the top of her glasses at me then looked away.
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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 6 hours ago #3332876

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I think it's a wonderful idea.
When I was 19 years old, I sold Avon door-to-door. I'll never forget an elderly woman who lived in my neighborhood. She didn't have money for cosmetics or perfume. She was frail, hunched over and lived alone. Even so, she kept me in her front yard, talking for at least an hour during our first visit. She told me she hadn't spoken to another soul in a week. She didn't have any family.
That dear lady really made an impact on me about the reality of loneliness.
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Last edit: by Sweetness56.

'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 1 hour ago #3332975

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Until a person reads about loneliness,or actually experiences it, there is no real understanding of it,
This is a wonderful idea,getting people together,interacting with each other,
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No home is complete without the pitter patter of kitty feet.

'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 19 minutes ago #3332992

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I’ve not actually seen any,but I would sit and have a chat if I did,,
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'Happy to Chat' benches: 4 weeks 11 minutes ago #3332996

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This is Jehovah witness conspiracy - dont fall for it !

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Debonair, suave Male 97½, own, knife and fork, hair, most teeth Available as earnest charity case between the hours of - TBA
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