Hillmorton's new 'outdoor living room' to bring community together - The Rugby Observer

Hillmorton's new 'outdoor living room' to bring community together

AN ‘OUTDOOR living room’ has been built in Hillmorton.

The neighbourhood has become the first place in Warwickshire to have a Friendly Bench – a mini community garden with seating built to tackle loneliness and social isolation and to bring the community together.

The bench – located in High Street near to the English Martyrs RC Church – has been handed to community group Friends of East Rugby Group (FERG) by The Friendly Bench Community Interest Company (CIC).

It will be used as a focal point for free community events and activities, beginning with a Halloween Surprise event on October 30 and 31.




However, visitors to the bench are reminded to observe current Covid-19 guidelines and maintain their social distance.

FERG chair Jill Dwyer said: “We are really excited that we have been successful to get the first Friendly Bench to be installed in Warwickshire and I am proud that Hillmorton has one of the first wave of these amazing facilities to be installed across England.


“We think it will be a positive addition for the whole community to use.

“We would like to thank Hillmorton charities and Rugby Borough Council’s Community Grant for part funding the project and Richard and David at Batchelors Builders and RGI Surveys for working with us on the project.”

Founded by Lyndsey Young, The Friendly Bench CIC has partnered with the FERG to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to meet, chat, connect with nature, build friendships and find a sense of belonging.

Lyndsey said: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Friendly Bench to Hillmorton. The Friendly Bench plays a vital role in reconnecting people back to their community and helps tackle loneliness and social isolation which is experienced by so many.

“By creating a welcoming, inclusive, accessible and well-located social space to meet, chat, rest and enjoy the benefits of being outside, or by joining in with one of the regularly organised activities, The Friendly Bench will be a hub for everyone to connect.

“As well as helping to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing, The Friendly Bench will also help strengthen community ties and encourage connections across the generations and with the wider community.

“With backing from local residents and community and charity grants, we believe The Friendly Bench will make a real difference to the lives of people in Hillmorton and its surrounding areas.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/FriendsEastRugbyGroup for more information about FERG and the Halloween Surprise event. Email [email protected] to enquire about holding a community event at the bench.

Visit www.thefriendlybench.co.uk for more information about The Friendly Bench.

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