New initiative to get people talking across South Kesteven

Three benches in Grantham’s parks are being designated as places where a chat with a friendly stranger is welcome.

‘Happy To Chat’ benches have been installed in Wyndham, Queen Elizabeth and Dysart Parks and will provide an opportunity for a quick chat or long conversation with a friendly passer-by.

The South Kesteven District Council initiative aims to tackle social isolation and promote community cohesion by encouraging people to interact with others in a safe, public space.

The benches were officially unveiled earlier today by Cllr Gloria Johnson, Chairman of South Kesteven District Council and Cllr Paul Stokes, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, in a ceremony also attended by volunteers and representatives from South Kesteven District Council.  

Cllr Stokes said: “We know how important parks and open spaces can be in encouraging community interactions and so we are delighted the ‘Happy To Chat’ benches will provide yet another opportunity for people to socialise whilst visiting the park.

“The benefits of being able to connect with others are significant but unfortunately some people can go for days, or even weeks, without the simplest of human contact. We’re really hopeful the benches will help to break down that social barrier and allow our communities to connect.”

The benches feature a simple welcoming sign which reads “Sit here if you are happy for someone to stop and say hello”, making them easily identifiable as a ‘Happy To Chat’ bench.

They are located near the Visitor Centre and Model Boating Lake in Wyndham Park, along the river path facing the fishing pond in Queen Elizabeth Park and next to the Bandstand in Dysart Park.

The Council is welcoming everyone to get behind the scheme to encourage community interactions between people of all ages, as well as to strengthen support for those experiencing loneliness.

Whatever your age and whoever you are, stopping for a chat can really brighten someone’s day or lead to a new friendship.

Happy to chat bench at Wyndham Park, Grantham


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