East Herts introduces new ‘Chatter Benches’ to support mental health
Published 13th May 2022
pictured is Eric Buckmaster talking to someone on one of the new chatter benches
It’s mental health awareness week and to help support mental health across the district, East Herts Council is introducing ‘Chatter Benches’ into four of its parks: Southern Country, Pishiobury Park, Castle Park and Hartham Common.

The ‘Chatter Benches’ are designed to help start conversations and get residents talking to each other.  The idea is simple – the benches have special plaques and by sitting on one, people will know you are happy to chat if they sit down next to you.  It doesn’t matter who you are, the ‘Chatter Benches’ are there for everyone. If you spot someone on one - you might just brighten their day.  

Speaking about the launch of this new initiative to support mental health, Eric Buckmaster, executive member for well-being at East Herts Council said:

“I have mentioned the concept of the new ‘Chatter Benches’ to many people recently and the idea has been extremely well received; so it is exciting to finally get the plaques installed and give residents who might be feeling lonely a way to find someone to have a chat with.

“It is so important people can reach out when they are feeling low and the introduction of these new benches is a small step towards supporting people that might be feeling isolated.  I do hope residents will look out for people sat on our new ‘Chatter Benches’ and take time to stop for a quick chat.  You can never under estimate the difference that can make.”

Clare Rennett, from Herts Mind Network said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this new initiative. Loneliness affects a lot of people and has a massive impact on our physical and mental health. Initiatives like this, which help people to reach out and connect with others in their local community are an incredibly important way of improving our health and well-being.”

Sharn Tomlinson, Chief Executive Officer of Mind in Mid-Herts

“We are delighted to be a part of this initiative to encourage people to connect.  We know that just the smallest gesture can be uplifting to someone who is lonely.  Especially this mental health awareness week talk to your friends/family colleagues about mental health.”

The introduction of the benches form part of the Parks and Open Space Strategy to promote activity which supports health and well-being across East Herts that will be launched later this month.

For further information on the new ‘Chatter Benches’ visit  www.eastherts.gov.uk/chatter-benches 

Anyone seeking advice and support can also contact their local Mind by visiting either of the following websites:

Herts Mind Network: www.hertsmindnetwork.org

Mind in Mid Herts: www.mindinmidherts.org.uk