On Saturday 15th August, our Head of Grant Programmes Andrea Pittock attended the opening of the Friendly Bench™ at Castle Hill Community Centre on behalf of Suffolk Community Foundation. Andrea warmly welcomed everyone, and gave an opening speech. She was joined by the family of the late Lolly Hill – who was a volunteer for NW Ipswich BLT and a Friendly Bench™ champion – Vivienne Mainwaring who was at the heart of getting the one and only first ‘Friendly Benches’ in Suffolk, and Ann Osborn, CEO of Rural Coffee Caravan.
The Friendly Bench™ has been made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery and is the first of 10 The Friendly Benches supported by The National Lottery Community Fund which are being installed across the England this year and next, including Rotherham, Rugby, and of course our very own Ipswich!
It is hoped that the benches will help to alleviate loneliness and isolation. Specially designed with sensory plants, they are a place for people to meet, chat, connect and build friendships.
We are so excited about working with NW Ipswich BLT and the Castle Hill Community Centre, having The Friendly Bench™ installed here will give so many people of all ages a chance to meet, socialise, participate in activities and learn new things. It will be beautiful social, community hub for everyone to meet, make new friends, feel accepted and valued.