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Talking Benches left as legacy gift to Mendip communities

Mendip District Council are installing seven 'Talking Benches' to encourage people to sit, share and connect with each other.

Benches are already in place at Glastonbury, Nunney, Shepton Mallet, Street and Walton. Two more are destined for Frome and Wells.

The benches are paid for through the Chair's Fund and demonstrate the council's desire to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of residents.

They are a legacy gift to the community as the District Council comes to an end, to be replaced by a new Somerset Council on 1 April.

Talking Benches left as legacy gift to Mendip communitiesCllr Helen Sprawson-White, Chair of Mendip District Council, said:

"Mental and emotional wellbeing has always been a personal priority of mine and over the last few years we have seen a huge increase in the impact of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Getting outside is proven to improve holistic wellbeing and I truly hope that this legacy project will fulfil everything I hoped it would when I first discussed it with officers.

"It's good to talk and important to share. We must be kind and look out for each other and try to make a difference.

"I truly hope that these benches provide much comfort, both physical and emotional, over the years ahead."

Cllr Heather Shearer is Portfolio Holder for Community Health & Services. She is also one of Mendip's Health and Wellbeing Champions. Cllr Shearer said: "These benches are a fantastic, simple, practical idea, with the potential for huge impact.

"We know that social isolation can have a significant effect on mental health, and these benches are a simple but effective way to bring people together. The benches are in public places making them accessible to everyone."