SCLT Chat Bench Initiative Receives Global Interest


The Chat Bench Initiative was launched in May 2019 by the SCLT Charity to highlight the issues of loneliness and social isolation that can often blight the lives of many older adults in the United Kingdom. The Charity, which has a particular interest in safeguarding elders from financial exploitation crimes, has been in existance for 10-years in 2019 and was keen to mark it's anniversary with a campaign that would bring substantial benefit to its cohort of clients.



SCLT Chat Bench Initiative Receives Global Interest

CB BoS II Westminster Chat Bench


Effects of Loneliness


Over its decade of operation as a senior safety charity, the SCLT has identified that one of the main reasons why vulnerable elders engage with financial exploitation criminals, is due to the overwhelming effects of loneliness and isolation, which are felt by an increasingly large number of older citizens in today's fast-paced society.


So, after spending several months analysing the cause and effects of financial exploitation on older victims, the Chat Bench Initiative was launched in early summer of 2019 to offer a viable alternative to lonely elders, as well as being a vehicle to showcase and highlight the effects of loneliness and its part in the increasing issue of financial abuse of older adults in the UK.


The initial Chat Bench was opened for business on the esplanade of Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset just in time to celebrate United Nations Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June 2019.




Chat Bench Sweeps the International Press


The initial Chat Bench story was covered by a local online news website, which was remarkably picked up by a variety of international media outlets, including, The Washington Post (USA), The Toronta Sun (Canada) ABC Drivetime (Australia), Radio SRF 5 (Switzerland), to name just a few international news agencies that sought out interviews and material for their various publications, in several languages.


Chat Bench BOS



Ashley Jones, a logstanding volunteer with the SCLT Charity masterminded the launch of the Chat Bench initive in time for UN Elder Abuse Awaness Day and has been at the forefront of the press tsunami, which followed the initial media coverage.


He commented, "The astounding success of the Chat Bench initiative has been something of a very pleasant shock and has really helped highlight the crippling effects of loneliess upon older citizens and the part it plays in the huge increase of financial exploitation offences against older people in recent years.


Loneliness directly affects millions of people in the UK every year and can cause the same damage to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. However, it is an entirely preventable situation and public responses, such as our Chat Bench initiative, can have fantastic results at virtually no financial cost.


The next challenge will be to make sure we capitalise the positive effects of the Chat Bench project as we enter the colder periods of the year, where less people tend to spend time enjoying the outdoors and using public benches. We are already working on some innovative ideas and hope to ensure we can continue to plat an important part in reducing loneliness and social isolation in the future."




Chat Benches Appear All Around the UK


Following the unprecedented media interest in the Chat Bench initiative, which even included a USA-based documentary film crew requesting an interview at the original Chat Bench in Burnham-on-Sea (pictured above), there soon followed the creation of hundreds of new Chat Benches around the UK and overseas as many communities, small and large, recognised the benefit of the simple initiative and sought to aleviate loneliness in their own neighbourhoods by offering similar services to all to use. The SCLT Chat Bench webpages have assisted in the process, by offering simple advice and even a sign-template to make setting up a chat bench in any area a very simple operation.


CB Sign image





Starting a Chat Bench in your local neighbourhood could not be easier, simply download a copy of the Chat Bench sign by clicking on the above image, or by visiting our Chat Bench webpages, laminate it to help it survive the weather and tie to to your choosen bench with a short length of string.


The positive effects of a local Chat Bench are amazing and life-changing for those who suffer the effects of loneliness and social isolation - why noy make a difference today?