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Chatty benches appear in Spalding… but mystery surrounds who put them there

Eye-catching chatty benches have recently appeared on a town site in a bid to encourage conversation for people who may be feeling lonely… but mystery surrounds who put them there.

The bright yellow and turquoise seats have been installed in Spalding between the Holland Market retail area and Swan Street, opposite the Becca’s Ice Cream Parlour store.

They encourage strangers to sit and hold conversations with one another in a bid to help battle loneliness and mental health troubles.

The chatty benches in Spalding
The chatty benches in Spalding

“This is a Chatty Bench! A small connection can have a huge impact on someone’s day. Take a seat and chat,” a message on the benches explains, along with contact details for the Cambridge, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire branch of mental health charity Mind.

However, when we contacted Mind, they told LincsOnline the benches weren’t their doing.

“We collaborate with many different partners but, to our surprise, we have not yet been able to trace exactly how our logo came to be on this bench on this occasion, but we would love to find out,” said Mind’s Gary Sutcliffe.

The sign on the bench offers contact details for CPSL Mind, but thye don't know who put the seats there
The sign on the bench offers contact details for CPSL Mind, but thye don't know who put the seats there

“The sign is a great way for people who may need support with their mental health to have a seat, have a chat and even reach out to us and we would encourage anyone needing support to do so.

“And, if anyone knows who placed this sign on the bench, we would love to know so please do contact us so we can have a chat.”

South Holland District Council’s communications team also attempted to help with our enquiries, but drew a blank from their planning, communities and democratic services teams, who had also not worked on the project.

Spalding’s Community Mind Matters campaigner Vanessa Browning hosts a chatty bench in Ayscoughfee Gardens.

She sits there between 10am and noon on Thursdays to meet with anyone suffering with loneliness, depression, anxiety and bereavement, or who just feels like a chat.

“I dodn’t know who put the benches there and I’ve been asking everyone,” Vanessa said.

“I’d love to know because maybe we could work with them.”

CSP, who run the Holland Market site, have also been approached for comment.

Do you know who is behind these chatty benches? If so, please contact duncan.browne@iliffepublishing.co.uk.

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