A group in Bottesford is tackling social isolation and loneliness with the help of a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
The volunteer group will create The Friendly Bench which is a mini kerb-side community garden for the elderly, isolated and those with restricted mobility to meet others, chat and connect with nature.
Sited on the grass verge on Granby Drive, near Hands Walk, The Friendly Bench has been specially designed to include raised planters for those with limited mobility and integral seating.
It will be maintained by a small group of volunteers who will be responsible for the upkeep of the garden as well as providing friendship.
Lyndsey Young, who has lived in Bottesford for 15 years and is behind The Friendly Bench idea, said: “Social isolation and loneliness is a growing, but hidden epidemic that affects many people.
“Alarmingly loneliness has been found to be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Simply having a supportive place to go where you can have a chat, connect with people and just get outside is proven to be good for a person’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as encouraging stronger community ties.”
Keen amateur gardener Lyndsey added: “We are thrilled that the importance of The Friendly Bench to our community has been recognised and awarded Big Lottery Funding.
“This grant will mean we can now begin work on The Friendly Bench installation with a view to being complete for spring 2018.”
If anybody would like to join The Friendly Bench as a volunteer, for light gardening or for friendship, you can contact either Lyndsey on 07875 719849 or Caroline Arthur on 07900 473426.
You can also find out more on The Friendly Bench’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheFriendlyBench