Call for ‘chat benches’ to combat loneliness in Wales

We’re calling for a new initiative to help tackle loneliness and isolation to be implemented in Wales.

We’re calling for ‘chat benches’ to come to Wales

‘Chat benches’ have been set up across Somerset by Avon & Somerset Police to help spark conversation between people in the county and we think the idea would work in Wales too.

Loneliness and isolation is an epidemic across England and Wales. It’s small initiatives like ‘chat benches’ that can help towards tackling the problem.

The benches in Somerset display a ‘happy to chat’ sign. People wishing to chat to others sit on the bench and wait for someone to join them. If they see someone already on the bench, they can sit down and strike up a conversation.

The benches are fantastic for the elderly who live alone and don’t speak to friends, neighbours or families often.

This idea allows them to make new friends, interact with others and as a result, make new friends. We’re calling on the local council and police force to help bring the idea to Wales too.

We’d love to see similar benches around the country. Our staff will certainly sit and chat with people in their communities if the benches are implemented.

The number of people aged 50 plus experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/26 according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. There are currently 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK.

The recent National Survey for Wales showed that 17% of people in Wales were lonely and 54% of people experienced some feelings of loneliness.