Loneliness and isolation are frequently used by unscrupulous criminals to gain the trust and cooperation of many vulnerable people, often those rendered susceptible to such approaches by virtue of advanced age, or disability.
* There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK
* Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all
* Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone
* Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company
* There are over 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain, an increase of almost a quarter (24%) over the past 20 years.
One of the best ways to effectively combat loneliness & isolation and also prevent the financial exploitation of vulnerable citizens through criminal befriending, is to establish environments where people can meet and share a chat.
The SCLT Chat Bench initiative could not be more simple.
Download our sign, weatherproof it by plastic lamination, or other means, if this is not avaialble to you. Then place the sign on a local bench in your community and hey presto..... you have a functioning Chat Bench.
CREATE YOUR OWN CHAT BENCH
Click on the image of the Chat Bench sign on the left of the screen to download your own official Chat Bench sign.
We recommend affixing the sign to your bench with cotton-based string
GET THE MESSAGE OUT THERE!
To get the message out, that you have a new Chat Bench in your community, we suggest that you make contact with your local media outlets, such as local newspapers, radio stations and social media, which will spread the word and gain the interest of the population. Both those who may need the Chat Bench, and those who want to help others and lend an ear on the bench.
Perhaps ask the local mayor or a significant community leader, if they are prepared to officially unveil your new Chat Bench, or hold an event to grab attention and showcase your fantastic new community resource.
Either way, once you have established your Chat Bench, the best thing you can do to contribute to it's success, is simply to sit on the bench and chat to fellow bench users. It may be worth asking your local police officers and other local officials if they could use the Chat Bench to hold meet & greet sessions, where the public can catch up with them to ask questions and/or report local issues - a sort of 'public safety surgery' - Pretty soon your Chat Bench will become an integral part of your neigbourhood, where people, who were previously lonely, can meet friendly faces and feel part of the community again
NOT JUST FOT SUMMER
There is little argument that your Chat Bench will be best used in the summer-time, but it's enduring legacy of alleviating chronic loneliness in your community will be felt throughout the year. However, keep an eye on your Chat Bench through the cooler months and make sure that you re-launch your Chat Bench every spring, when the weather starts to brighten up and people are ready to sit and chat again.
A little investment of your time & compassion could go a long way - It may even bring much needed light, to the darkness of a lonely life for residents in your neighbourhood
CONTACT & SUPPORT
For information, advice or support about setting up your own Chat Bench, please get in touch by clicking the contact link below.
We would love to hear about your Chat Bench and how it has made a difference to your community, so please get in touch to let us know how it has worked for you - send a photograph and we may feature it on our news pages for all to see
CHAT BENCH GUARDIAN
You can help the Chat Bench revolution to overcome loneliness in your own community. Once a Chat Bench has been established in your neighbourhood, we need volunteers (Guardians), who walk past the Chat Bench on a regular basis and can help by replacing the Chat Bench sign, if it becomes damaged or detatched.
It's a very easy task, with no committment other than a requirement to keep an eye on your local bench.
All you need to do to become a Chat Bench Guardian, is to drop us a line (via our 'Contact' tab) with your address and we will send you the signs and string needed to become a local Chat Bench Guardian.