A bench in Dinnington is the first in the area to be designated a Chat Bench that will encourage residents to talk to each other.
St Leonards Church and Rotherham Council have worked together to convert the bench within the church grounds with a new ‘Happy to Chat’ sign.
The bench will give residents a dedicated spot to go if they want to chat or just say hello to other people.
Some people may go days or even weeks without any human contact and this is just one of the projects taking place in Dinnington to combat loneliness and isolation.
Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr David Roche, said: “The idea of the Happy to Chat bench is to break down social barriers, such as isolation, and allow residents to all say ‘hello’. Figures from Age UK show that one in twelve people over the age of 50 feel lonely – that’s about 1.4million people in total which is a staggering amount, especially as this is only one section of the population. Loneliness affects people of all ages and can have devastating results.
“The Council is working with organisations and partners across the borough to help people who feel isolated or are struggling with personal issues or bad mental health. Recent campaigns, like Be The One, have guided people who feel like they are lost in a personal crisis reach out for and get the help they need.”