The Friendly BenchⓇ officially opens in Chester
On Friday 16th October we were delighted to officially handover and celebrate the opening of our latest The Friendly BenchⓇ in Chester, thanks to National Lottery funding.
Superbly organised and officiated by project lead, Morag Scargill and Chair, Andy Scargill, the socially distanced event saw Lyndsey officially handed over The Friendly BenchⓇ to Morag who accepted it on behalf of the Friends of the Park. The Friends were then honoured to dedicate the bench to the ‘wonderful, caring staff’ of the Countess of Chester Hospital and Alison Kelly the Deputy CEO accepted it on their behalf.
In attendance were many of the people and organisations who have supported Friends of Countess of Chester Country Park raise their contribution towards the bench and to The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) for preparing the site.
Morag Scargill from the Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park said, “Having The Friendly BenchⓇ at the heart of the Countess of Chester Country Park has provided a unique opportunity to create a dedicated, welcoming space where individuals and groups can come together to experience a sense of community and wellbeing. Such a wonderful facility is even more important now than ever before and already it has been described as a ‘Joyous element’ by a park visitor.”
The first project the Friends have organised using the bench is called ‘Back to Nature’ and is designed to help those who have felt socially isolated during recent months to get back out and meet other people in a safe, welcoming space.
Sarah Palgrave-Neath, Estates Manager at The Land Trust who own the park, said: “The Countess of Chester Country Park is already a fantastic space for the community and has become incredibly popular since it opened in 2014.”
She went on to say, “Loneliness is a problem we need to tackle, particularly amongst older people. Statistics have shown that spending time outdoors, especially with other people, can have extremely positive health benefits too, so The Friendly BenchⓇ is a brilliant way to help people who may be struggling. I hope that now the bench is open, the community will come together and encourage each other to get involved with this fantastic project and I look forward to seeing that happen.”
More information about what will be happening at The Friendly BenchⓇ Chester will be available on the park notice boards and social media.