Sit and Chat bench in grounds of Biosphere office

An addition to a new wildflower area in the grounds of the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture will help friendships blossom.

An addition to a new wildflower area in the grounds of the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture will help friendships blossom.

A Sit and Chat bench has been installed at Garey ny Cloie (Gardens of Play), Foxdale Road, St John’s.

Sit and Chat benches and picnic tables were installed across the Island last year by Compassionate Isle of Man, a community initiative working within the auspices of Hospice Isle of Man.

Chat Benches were first introduced in the United Kingdom by Allison Owens-Jones as a way of letting people know they were open to chat.  

Recognisable by either their purple and yellow paint (on recycled benches) or as new hardwood benches with plaques, the Sit and Chat benches are places where people can sit if they wish to strike up a conversation with others, easing isolation. 

This new bench at DEFA is an initiative between Hospice Isle of Man and UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, which is located at DEFA.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘Garey ny Cloie is a beautiful place to visit and somewhere people come to find tranquillity and connect with nature.

‘The addition of the bench will benefit those visiting alone and seeking someone to chat to, briefly, to brighten their day. As we all get back out to enjoy the Island and seek to re-establish connections with others after lockdowns, I am sure it will be well used.’

This newly installed bench was commissioned on behalf of Manx Telecom by Isle of Man Newspapers, who have arranged for a cache of Sit and Chat benches to be placed around the Island with plaques to recognise their ‘In the Spirit of Community Kindness’ event partners.

The ‘Spirit of Community Kindness’ event was organised by Isle of Man Newspapers and held last year at the Gaiety Theatre. Its aim was to celebrate the key workers and unsung heroes that supported our island community during the first lockdown. Each of the partners of the event will have a bench dedicated to them; Manx Telecom, Standard Bank, Keystone Law, Microgaming, PokerStars, Manx Co-op and Think Manx.

Kathy Smith, from Isle of Man Newspapers, said; ‘We are delighted to be able to thank the partners of our event by dedicating these benches to them, we hope the benches will help to continue to legacy of kindness and compassion that has been shown by our community during the difficulties of the last 18 months.’

These benches have been carved and locally crafted by Peter Metcalf.

Wendy Smith, from Hospice Isle of Man, said: ’simply stopping to say hello to someone at the Sit and Chat bench could make a huge difference. Lockdown has affected many people with restrictions such as shielding, social distancing, and self-isolation. We have an opportunity to promote simple acts of kindness that could make a difference to people feeling alone and needing human contact.’ 

Click here to learn more about Hospice Isle of Man’s Sit and Chat benches.

Hospice, IoM Newspapers, Manx Telecom, Microgaming, Manx Co-op  and PokerStars are all Partners of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man.

Posted up on 8th July 2021


If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

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