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Police Install Chat Benches To Tackle Loneliness

They’re Called “Happy to Chat” Benches Loneliness is a big problem for elderly people around the globe. Study after study finds that people who are socially isolated have negative...

(Photo Credit: Jon Williams)

They’re Called “Happy to Chat” Benches

Loneliness is a big problem for elderly people around the globe. Study after study finds that people who are socially isolated have negative physical and mental health outcomes. What’s the solution? One police department in the United Kingdom decided to install a “chat bench” in town for people who don’t mind strangers stopping to say hello.

The benches are called the “Happy to Chat” benches, and British police estimate there’s about 40 of them throughout the United Kingdom.

“Have you seen our ‘Chat Bench’ in Burnham or Taunton?” the Avon and Somerset Police Department tweeted. “To help us tackle loneliness and isolation in the community we have introduced a ‘Chat Bench’ in Vivary Park in Taunton and also on Burnham Sea Front. Simply stopping to say ‘hello’ to someone at the ‘Chat Bench’ could make a huge difference to the vulnerable people in our communities and help to make life a little better for them.”

Detective Sargeant Ashley Jones, who has been on the police force for two decades, decided to install the bench after he talked to an elderly woman who had sent a scammer $31,000 because he called her house daily and pretended to be her friend. The elderly woman told Jones she would go weeks without talking to another person, which was why she was vulnerable to the scam.

“Chat benches” are making their way to the U.S. The town of Prineville, Oregon, has several scattered around the city.

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