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Council dedicates Happy to Chat Benches

Cheshire and Warrington 30/03/2022

A small scheme to help tackle loneliness

A small scheme to help tackle loneliness has been introduced on benches across the town centre thanks to Knutsford Town Council and the Knutsford Lions.

A number of benches have been designated as ‘Happy to Chat’ benches where the presumption is that if someone is sat there, they would welcome strangers stopping by to say hello and engage in conversation.

Loneliness is one of the most significant health concerns facing the population and has been demonstrated to be as detrimental to health as smoking and worse than obesity. Loneliness is becoming an increasing problem for older people in particular with over half a million older people across the country going over five days without seeing or speaking to anyone and 40% of older people saying the television is their main company.

The benches provide an avenue for those would value additional social contact to subtly ask for help.

The idea for the scheme had been raised with the Town Council by a number of community groups and residents and was delivered in partnership with Knutsford Lions.

Paul Buttrick, President of Knutsford Lions said “The chatty bench project was set by Mike Goldman of the Lions with Knutsford Town Council before COVID-19 struck. It is lovely for people to be able to sit in the sunshine and chat freely again after almost two years of isolation”

Happy to Chat benches have been designated at the following locations:

  • Ash Court, King Edward Road
  • Wallwood
  • Paradise Green, Bexton Road
  • St John’s Church Grounds
  • Toft Road outside St John’s Church
  • Courthouse Garden
  • Library Garden 
  • The Heath

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “If you spot someone sat on our of the town’s new Happy to Chat benches, consider stopping a while to say hello - you don’t know the difference it may make to their day and their health”

Benches have been selected for the scheme where there is an alternative bench nearby for those who prefer quiet bench reflection.