Posted on: Wednesday 15 June 2022
A friendship bench outside a new community wellbeing hub is getting people talking.
The bench, at Ty Glas y Dorlan, in Cwmbran, is designed for people to sit and talk to each other or members of staff, who keep an eye out for anyone sat on the bench alone.
The idea was inspired by the Netflix series After Life, staring Ricky Gervais, whose character Tony gets talking to people while sitting on a bench in a churchyard.
Kate Noyes, from Torfaen Council's Community Intervention Team, said: "I have seen similar benches elsewhere and I thought they were a great way of getting people to talk to others and maybe even strike up a friendship.
"It's Loneliness Awareness Week this week and having a five minute chat to someone can help people to feel less alone or isolated."
Mel Baker, Wellbeing Hub lead, added: "The bench is a fantastic way for our staff to meet and chat with members of the community and we're delighted that people have already started using it."
The bench was paid for by Welsh Government Funding for carers respite and was painted for free by PowdrCoater LTD in New Inn.
Gail Mott, from West Pontnewydd, pictured with her friend Carol Wheeler, said: "I love the bench - I enjoy watching the world go by and chatting to people."
Phillip Smith, from Llantarnam, added: "I sat here yesterday and Emma, from Ty Glas y Dorlan, came out and we were talking for ages.
"I think there should be more of these benches around Torfaen because it does encourage you to have a conversation."
For more information about Ty Glas y Dorlan, visit our website.