BADGES will be introduced to benches to let people know they are 'happy to chat' with the aim to combat social isolation in Worcester.

Signs will be placed on 'happy to chat' benches for people who would be glad for someone to sit and say hello.

The seats will be available in St Clement's Close, St John’s, for a trial period to see if the the initiative has a positive impact.

Cllr Richard Udall has agreed to use money from his divisional funds to purchase the signs.


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Cllr Udall, who represents St John’s ward, said the idea is to get people talking and to bring communities together.

He said: “We want people to be able to sit on a bench in a safe place. We will not put them everywhere as not everyone wishes to chat to strangers.

“Social isolation is a problem all over the country. There are a lot of people who are alone and lonely and don’t always get out.

“I know pensioners who go on buses and use their bus pass just to get out of the house and have a chat with the driver.

“We try to tackle loneliness and we hope these benches will have a positive impact in the city. We can only try and find out what happens and hope it helps combat social isolation.”

If the badges are successful, Cllr Udall has said that he hopes to get Worcester City Council on board with the idea.

He added: “We are just waiting for the signs to be printed and then we will add them to a couple of benches.

“If it’s successful I hope the city council can run it around the city and especially in more sensitive areas - such as Sabrina Bridge. If the people like them and they are used, we will start placing them across Worcester.”

Cllr Udall posted on Twitter: “Hopefully new friendships will be made, maybe even new relationships.

"Let's talk, make friends and learn from each other.”