A brand-new ‘Chatty Bench’ has landed outside Coventry Skydome this month. Partnering with Sovereign Assist, an organisation working to help retirees live happier and independent lives, Skydome has launched its own ‘Chatty Bench’ in order to combat loneliness within the community.

With over 1.2 million elderly people facing chronic loneliness in the UK, Sovereign Assist and Skydome are hoping to alleviate the isolation felt by members of the community within the city. The bench will offer a safe space for people to connect and converse with one another and hopefully build new friendships, especially amongst the older generation.

Andrew Fyfe, Director at Sovereign Assist, comments:

“We’re so pleased to have transformed one of the Coventry Skydome benches into a brand-new ‘Chatty Bench’ and hope that the community in Coventry benefits from this new space to talk. Even before the pandemic, loneliness was on the rise; but with COVID-19 restrictions forcing many – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable – into months of isolation, lots of us are feeling more alone than ever before.

“We hope that by installing this ‘Chatty Bench’ we can help to build new relationships amongst those local to Skydome and create a place for socialising and support. It’s more important than ever to check in on the wellbeing of your friends, family and neighbours, and this bench offers the perfect opportunity to check-in and re-connect with people across the city.”

The ‘Chatty Bench’ initiative was first launched last year in Edinburgh, after the team at Sovereign Assist had witnessed first-hand how the pandemic had affected some of the most vulnerable members of society. Wanting to address the loneliness felt amongst older adults they created the ‘Chatty Bench’ concept, encouraging all generations to come together and put a stop to adult loneliness by simply just sitting and having a chat.

Elizabeth Middleton, Operations Manager at Coventry Skydome, said:

“When we first heard about the ‘Chatty Bench’ initiative we couldn’t wait to launch our very own on-site. Here at Skydome, we’re all about ‘great times’ and enjoying what’s to offer with friends, so we couldn’t be happier to offer a safe space for people within our community to meet and chat. For many, the pandemic has been a lonely time, so now that hospitality and leisure venues are beginning to reopen, we look forward to being a place for the community to visit and make friends.”