How does The Friendly Bench work?
The Friendly Bench combines a bespoke, safe and accessible outdoor seating space with organised, regular community-led meet-up activities for local people to attend. We offer two versions of our scheme, to suit the community space you have available, the full Installation and the Pop-Up scheme.
Whichever scheme you choose, our dedicated Friendly Bench team is ready to help organisers breathe life into your new social space. We will provide direct support, guidance and personalised advice on how to fund, plan, market and organise your The Friendly Bench and regular activities. Organisers also benefit from access to peer support and knowledge exchange through the The Friendly Bench Members Network and learning programmes to enhance skills and build a network of like-minded individuals dedicated to community growth.
Specially designed outdoor social spaces
Specially designed, constructed and adhering to DDA guidelines, The Friendly BenchⓇ are safe, easily accessible mini-community gardens with integrated seating and sensory planting which are situated within communities for people to meet, chat, connect with nature, build friendships and a sense of belonging.
Active social hubs
The Friendly BenchⓇ are active, social hubs where free, community-led activities and events are regularly held to encourage everyone to participate, have fun, feel accepted, valued and develop a support network.
Every The Friendly BenchⓇ is independently managed, funded and run by it’s own voluntary group / organisation for their own community. As a member of The Friendly BenchⓇ network, each group receives free advice, support, sharing of best practice, marketing resources, publicity and promotion from The Friendly BenchⓇ CIC team.
Tackling loneliness, social isolation and increasing community cohesion
Every The Friendly BenchⓇ, wherever it is based in the country, aims to reduce social isolation, increase community cohesion and help reconnect people back to their own community.
The Friendly BenchⓇ can positively improve a community's quality of life.
"It's wonderful to have The Friendly BenchⓇ near my home, now I am able to get outside and meet my friends."
"The Friendly BenchⓇ is a really fantastic and innovative project which I am confident will help combat loneliness in our local community."
Sir Alan Duncan
"Love The Friendly BenchⓇ. Hoping to see them rolled out around the UK."
Rachel Reeves MP
Co-Chair of Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness
"The Friendly BenchⓇ gives me a real boost, it takes me out of myself, it gives me something to do and more fresh air!"