A better Medway
Published: Thursday, 24th October 2019

A chatty bench will tour Medway as part of Medway Council’s A Better Medway – Together campaign which aims to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Chatty benchThe talking bench will visit locations across Medway to encourage residents to sit and talk to members of the council’s A Better Medway team to find out more about the importance of staying connected with others. The team will also provide information about a range of services and clubs across Medway where residents can meet new people and learn new skills. Residents can also pick up a free talking tips pack and other tools which can help build confidence and help encourage more residents to speak with others to help Medway being better connected and combat social isolation and loneliness.  

The wooden bench was handmade by Men in Sheds, a project which supports local men to stay well by getting together to share their interests and skills, including sessions such as woodcraft, music sessions and art. Men in Sheds focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on men over 25 who are not in work and retirees. 

Chatty bench tour dates

Come and have a chat. The bench will visit these locations across Medway:

  • Monday 28 October: Chatham Library from 10am to 1pm
  • Friday 1 November: Rainham Precinct from 10am to 2pm
  • Monday 4 November: Rainham Library from 10am to 2pm
  • Monday 11 November: Hoo Library from 10am to 2pm
  • Friday 15 November: Strood High Street from 10am to 2pm
  • Thursday 21 November: Hoo Sports Centre from 10am to 2pm
  • Tuesday 26 November: Strood Sports Centre on from 10am to 2pm
  • Friday 29 November: Gillingham High Street from 10am to 2pm
  • Monday 2 December: Medway Park from 10am to 2pm

Find out more on our Facebook event page.

You can get involved in our Together in Medway activities, and make a pledge.

Or follow #MedwayTogether on social media to find out more about ways to connect with your community.

Social isolation can affect residents of any age

Cllr David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, covering Public Health, said: “I am extremely pleased that the Talking Bench will be visiting a number of locations across Medway. Loneliness and social isolation can affect residents of any age and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit the bench and start a conversation. We will continue to work with our partners to further help our residents make more connections in their local area.”

Tackling loneliness doesn’t have to mean making a big gesture. Sometimes a simple hello can make a big difference. We know it can be hard to start a conversation with someone new, so here are our top tips:

  • Ask someone’s opinion, for example, ask what they think of the weather.
  • In a queue? Say hello to someone.
  • Ask open questions and avoid questions that only have a yes or no answers, for example ask what someone’s plans are for the weekend.
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