Scarborough's 'world's longest railway bench' part of new campaign to help end loneliness
A new initiative that aims to help push an end to loneliness has launched at Scarborough railway station.
TransPennine Express has launched 'chatty benches' across stations in the north, including at Scarborough where the bench running along the platform is reported to be the longest in the world - standing at 139 metres long, it is nearly as long as 12 double-decker buses parked end to end!
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."
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The benches, which will be marked with signs, will encourage travellers to strike up conversation with one another in a bid to help those who often suffer in silence.
It is estimated that more than nine million people in the UK experience loneliness.
In a recent study conducted by the Campaign to End Loneliness, 71 per cent of adults in the north of England thought that loneliness would be a serious issue beyond Covid-19.
Lisa Hewitt, Partnership Marketing Manager at TransPennine Express, said: “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."
The benches will be signposted and cleaned throughout the day to ensure they are safe for travellers to use. This is in addition to the thorough cleaning programme in place to keep passengers safe.
The Grade-II listed bench at Scarborough station was restored as part of a £14,500 heritage project in December 2020.
To find out more about the Campaign to End Loneliness, visit their website.