THREE 'happy to chat' benches have been installed in Malvern.

The three benches have been installed by Malvern Town Council, following an idea championed by Councillor Julie Maclusky.

The benches have been introduced in Rose Bank Gardens, Victoria Park and Station Gardens and follow an idea adopted not only across Britain but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Ukraine.

The benches are identified by a colourful plaque which says, ‘Sit here if you don’t mind someone stopping to say hello’.

Often people see someone sitting on their own in a park and wonder do they want to chat? Do they want to be left alone? Have they spoken to anyone else on that particular day?

‘Happy to Chat’ benches provide a simple way of letting other people know that you are open to a chat and if the idea proves successful then the council will consider adding benches on other town council land.

Councillor Julie Maclusky proposer of the motion, which was then supported by other councillors at a council meeting, said: “Councillors will be aware of publicity about the health risks of loneliness, and I believe that our ‘Happy to Chat’ benches could play a small but very significant role in alleviating loneliness, and improving social connection and interaction, amongst the residents of Malvern. I believe that many people could benefit from a random hello and chat.