How ‘Buddy Benches’ are making playtime less lonely

“We use the bench as a reminder for children of things like communication, mutual support and opening up about feelings …”

Dougal Shaw for the BBC reports:

“The school playground can be a lonely place for a child if they haven’t got anyone to play with. But a special type of bench is helping pupils make friends and get people talking about bigger issues too.

One day, during her usual chat with her eight-year-old son about school, Tracey Cooney got an answer she didn’t expect.

‘There was nobody to play with. Everyone was playing in their own little groups,’ he confided.

She was surprised because he was usually outgoing and confident. But two of his friends had been sick that day, so they weren’t at playtime.

Cooney felt a little upset, but remembered something she had seen on social media and wondered if it could help children in his situation. It’s called a Buddy Bench.

The idea is simple – if a child feels lonely, they can go to the bench as a signal that they need someone to play with. Another child will see them, go and talk to them and include them in their games …”

Read more (and watch a 90 second video) here. And/or listen here to a 24 minute BBC podcast about Buddy Benches.

Here you can find our more about Buddy Bench Ireland and their award-winning, children’s mental health initiative for schools.

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