Shepton Mallet Town Council has dedicated benches around town as
‘Happy to Chat’.
Councillors supported the proposal by Councillor Nicklin and have identified specific benches as ‘Happy to Chat’ benches where people may sit and welcome conversation with others. These are identified by a plaque including a QR code which also takes you to a page on the Council’s website for other sources of information that might be of interest https://sheptonmallet-tc.gov.uk/health-wellbeing-contacts/.
Allison Owen-Jones developed the original concept of Happy to Chat Bench (HCB) in 2019. Her idea was to create a simple way to let others know that you are open to a chat by tying a laminated message ‘Happy to Chat Bench. Sit here if you don’t mind someone stopping to say hello’, to local benches. This idea has since spread across the world. Benches bearing these words have appeared in amongst other places, Kyiv and nearer to home, Wells (which also has a talking table in the Bishops Palace Café).
Councillor Jane Nicklin said “We know that getting out in the open air and connecting with people can help us feel better. These benches are such a simple, proven idea to help break down social isolation. If you see someone sitting on one of these benches, why not join them- it just might prove to be a positive experience for both of you!’
The benches can be found in Collett Park and the Market Place. Map Here