'Happy to Chat' benches aim to spread a little love in Buckingham

Town councillor takes up the worldwide campaign to help people who may be lonely

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:52 pm
Happy to Chat bench in Buckingham

A Buckingham town councillor has created three 'Happy to Chat' benches in the town centre - one on Moreton Road, one on the village green by the church and one on the Heartlands overlooking the river.

The idea was mooted on the Buckingham What Matters To You Facebook page, where several people mentioned seeing similar benches on trips to other towns.

The scheme is part of a worldwide campaign initiated by The Happy Bench Project.

One of the Happy to Chat benches

Following positive feedback to the idea, Councillor Harvey bought a laminator and designed a version of the poster he could print out easily, then set out to attach the posters to three of the town's benches.

Mr Harvey told the Advertiser: "Loneliness affects many people. There are no easy solutions.

"But I saw this idea in another town and thought we could make it happen here in Buckingham.

"Having a good chat is good for our wellbeing."

Councillor Jon Harvey on the bench

Mrr Harvey said he would be happy to remove the signs if people object.

But so far, reactions on Facebook have been overwhelmingly positive, with one person saying: "What a lovely idea, gives a chance to interact with someone.. just a few words may mean a lot to someone on their own!" and another saying: "Lovely idea, everyone needs to have a chat sometimes, life can be very lonely for people at times," and a third saying: "If my boys catch anyone on one of these benches they won't be able to leave. They like a chat! Such a lovely idea."