The brand new ‘Chatty Benches’ project is aimed at putting an end to loneliness by increasing conversations between customers following the pandemic, enforcing reduced interaction.
The chatty scheme is part of the ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ which is part of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, who are a community interest company.
With over 9 million lonely people throughout the UK, it means the person you are sat next to could easily be struggling with loneliness. TransPennine Express introduced the ‘Chatty Benches’ for this reason to offer a gentle nudge to try and give people the confidence to get back to chatting. The operator has now signposted ‘Chatty Benches’ at all of their managed stations in the North.
To get the initiative off to a good start customers, TransPennine Express staff and representatives from the Campaign to End Loneliness got seated on the world’s longest railway bench at Scarborough station for the very first ‘Chatty Bench’
Recent reports undertaken by the Campaign to End Loneliness found that 71% of adults in the North of England believe that loneliness is going to be a serious and far-reaching issue after the Covid-19 pandemic.
TransPennine Express has committed to raising awareness of loneliness and supporting customers who are suffering right now in the North and Scotland along with those who have felt the grip of loneliness through the pandemic.
A large part of the problem of loneliness is finding the courage to speak to somebody.
The ‘Chatty Benches’ are there to remind people that even a small hello can break down barriers and bring about conversations with people. Even a small moment of connection can help lighten the effects of loneliness for somebody who is struggling.
The benches which are clearly signed will also be cleaned regularly through the day to keep customers safe and the benches ready to use. An enhanced cleaning regimen is also in place at key touchpoints in stations and onboard trains with over 100 TransPennine Express carriages being sanitised to keep passengers safe when visiting the station or travelling by train.
For more information on the work between TransPennine Express and the Campaign to End Loneliness visit: https://www.tpexpress.co.uk/loneliness.
Partnership Marketing Manager for TransPennine Express, Lisa Hewitt said: “We’re very excited to be launching the ‘chatty benches’ initiative at stations throughout the North. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in cases of loneliness and so we know, now more than ever, getting together has never felt better. We want to raise awareness of the issue and encourage moments of interaction to support those who have experienced loneliness, helping them make new connections whilst also enabling them to reconnect with family and friends.
“Loneliness affects so many people in the UK and we share the vision of the Campaign to End Loneliness that everyone can live a life free from chronic loneliness. We want to encourage people to get out and about and make those human connections that we all need, and as a provider of travel, we know we can help make a difference.”
Robin Hewings, Programme Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Tackling loneliness by helping people to build social connections is really important. Loneliness can be felt by people of all ages and backgrounds and can seriously impact people’s quality of life and even their health.
“We are delighted that TransPennine Express has launched the ‘chatty benches’ initiative. We hope that passengers take advantage of the scheme as you never know who you may be talking to and what a huge difference it could make to that person’s wellbeing.”
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