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How Placemaking (and The Friendly BenchⓇ) can Positively Impact Communities

Placemaking is defined as turning outdoor areas into calming spaces where a community can come together.

A community get together at The Friendly BenchⓇ Brandon, Suffolk
A community get together at The Friendly BenchⓇ Brandon, Suffolk

Sadly, the pandemic left many of us feeling isolated and lonely with very few reasons to get out of the house. Because of this, it is more important than ever to build easily accessible places that help reduce loneliness and social isolation.


The Friendly BenchⓇ Rotherham's knitted Christmas tree
The Friendly BenchⓇ Rotherham's knitted Christmas tree

Our aim at The Friendly Bench CIC is develop a network of outdoor social spaces with integrated seating and sensory planting to encourage socially isolated people of all ages to reconnect, socialise and meet new people in their own community. In addition, each of our The Friendly BenchⓇ are managed by a dedicated team of local volunteers. These volunteers work hard to provide regular community discussions, events, and fundraisers which take place at The Friendly BenchⓇ outdoor spaces, all with the aim of benefitting and supporting their local community.

Four Benefits of Placemaking

Wellbeing – the main goal of The Friendly BenchⓇ is to assist the overall health of each community. The garden spaces can help improve people’s physical and mental health by encouraging physical exercise in the outdoors, as well as providing a safe space where people can connect with others, have a purpose and engage with nature on their doorstep.


People chatting at The Friendly BenchⓇ Ipswich
The Friendly BenchⓇ Ipswich

Meeting New People - placemaking is a great way of connecting residents that otherwise wouldn’t have met each other. By bringing people together, community ties and a sense of belonging will be strengthened, ultimately making the area more pleasant, connected and enjoyable to live.

A community get together at The Friendly BenchⓇ Bottesford
A community get together at The Friendly BenchⓇ Bottesford

Community Development – once a safe, public space is created, residents will feel more confident in sharing their concerns. The spaces can then be used to support each other and discuss and fix any weaknesses in a community, which will ultimately improve the lives of the entire area.


Children planting at The Friendly BenchⓇ Bottesford
Children planting at The Friendly BenchⓇ Bottesford

Connecting with Nature – The Friendly BenchⓇ creates stunning garden spaces that allow people of all ages and abilities to engage with nature. Mentalhealth.org reported that “throughout the pandemic, nearly half of the people in the UK said visiting green spaces, helped them to cope.” There is a strong link between nature and improved mental health, which The Friendly BenchⓇ recognises.


Tree planting at The Friendly BenchⓇ Chester
Tree planting at The Friendly BenchⓇ Chester

Final Thoughts


In conclusion, placemaking is a fantastic way to turn undeveloped areas into pleasant meeting spaces that will bond residents, create happy memories, and meet neighbourhood needs.


If you would like to know more about joining our The Friendly Bench Network™ here's more information: Join Us



Reference: MentalHealth.org.uk


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