Benches in Callander encourage strangers to chat with each other

Benches have been set up in Callander to help foreigners talk to each other in the city.

The “Happy to Chat” benches were installed in two places in the city after the plans were first imagined by the city’s youth project manager.

Patricia Kent, head of the Callander Youth Project (CYP), discovered the idea online. She said, “I thought this would be a great idea for the Callander community. Sadly, Callander has seen a lot of suicides over the years and I was hoping putting these benches around town might help, even just to get people talking.

“I first spoke to the Callander Enterprise group in 2020, but we went into lockdown, so I couldn’t sue.

“I once again decided to continue on the benches when another youngster committed suicide in July of this year. We bought a bench for the CYP and placed it outside the building and then I spoke to the community council and the high school to see if they would be interested in getting a bench.

Community Councilor David King took on the task of speaking to Stirling Council for permission to put a plaque on a bench in Ancaster Square and Callander Meadows.

Patricia was also successful in securing a donation from Ben Ledi Lodge No 614 to pay for a high school bench which is also now in place.

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She added: “I know these benches will not stop the mental health issues in our city, but if they only help one person, they will be worth every bit of money and effort therein. consecrated. “

The “Happy to Chat” benches have been installed in two places in the city

Community Councilor David King said, “Patricia made this suggestion to the Callander Community Council in September – the need for benches around town where people could sit and discuss any issues. Plates on these benches would promote this personal accompaniment.

“I first contacted Stirling Council Land Services to get permission to put plaques on some of the benches. After many emails, he seemed to be losing momentum.

“We (the community council) then wrote with the help of our neighborhood councilor, Martin Earl, who forwarded us to the department where these decisions are made.

“We looked at all possible benches that would be suitable. After much discussion, we agreed on one in Ancaster Square and one in the driveway of Meadows parking lot.

The community council then obtained the required authorization and agreed to pay and put up the plaques.

David added, “In the future, we would like to have more plaques on the benches to help raise awareness of this heartbreaking disease that affects so many families. “

Trossachs and Teith City Councilor Martin Earl said: “This is a simple but very important initiative. Kudos to CYP, Community Council and Stirling Council Agents for working together to create it.

“Just having this conversation could be very important to someone and be exactly what they needed.

“A great idea and I hope we will see many more similar benches created in all of our communities. “

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