‘Friendly benches’ to help those who have been shielding

There are concerns about the mental well being of the vulnerable and elderly of Peterborough who have been shielding or staying home during lockdown and are only now beginning to venture out.

To help bring back a sense of normality to their lives, volunteers in Bretton are engaging in friendly conversations with residents in the local park every Monday until the end of August through the Friendly Benches scheme. The first session was held on July 6. 

The initiative was the brain child of the Better Bretton community group, and has been funded by People’s Health Trust and supported by Royal Voluntary Service.  

Kathy Shaw, from the community group, said: “Volunteers from Better Bretton will be sitting on designated friendly benches every Monday from 10.30am to noon through July and August and would love to have a chat with anyone in the area.

“Many older people will now be feeling anxious about venturing out into public spaces, creating a series of friendly benches is a way of building confidence and having a good chat at the same time.”

She added: “Better Bretton’s vision is to create an age-friendly community so resident’s think it is a great place to grow older, Bretton Park is a wonderful outdoor space which contributes to the health and well-being of all local residents.”

Among the topics up for discussion will be the future of the park and what the community want from it.

Kathy said: “Working alongside the Friends of Bretton Park local group, which has several plans to make improvements to the area, Better Bretton want to speak to local people about how they use the park, it is especially important now we are coming out of lockdown.”




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