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Bench inspired by Netflix series gets people talking in Thornhill

Have you spotted this bench in Thornhill? It’s been installed to encourage people to talk to each other.

The ‘friendship bench’ is outside Ty Glas y Dorlan for people to sit and talk to each other or members of staff, who keep an eye out for anyone sat on the bench alone. Ty Glas y Doran is a £3.7 million multi-purpose centre that offers short-stay and respite accommodation, communal facilities and a small number of flats for rent.

The idea was inspired by the Netflix series After Life, starring Ricky Gervais, whose character Tony gets talking to people while sitting on a bench in a churchyard.

Kate Noyes, from Torfaen Council’s community intervention team, said: “I have seen similar benches elsewhere and I thought they were a great way of getting people to talk to others and maybe even strike up a friendship.

“Having a five-minute chat to someone can help people to feel less alone or isolated.”

Mel Baker, wellbeing hub lead, added: “The bench is a fantastic way for our staff to meet and chat with members of the community and we’re delighted that people have already started using it.”

The bench was paid for by Welsh Government Funding for carers respite and was painted for free by PowdrCoater LTD in New Inn.

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Bench inspired by Netflix series gets people talking in Thornhill

two women sat on bench
The 'friendship bench' is outside Ty Glas y Doran in Thornhill