A wave of new benches aimed at encouraging people to talk to each other have been installed over the last year.

The nine new benches, one of the designated as a “chatty bench” have been installed around Kearsley as part of a bid to help reduce loneliness in the community.

The “chatty bench” was put in in June of last year, just off Grosvenor Square, with the other eight benches following soon after at various locations.

Cllr Debbie Newall said: “A chatty bench is a bench designed to promote a safe space for anyone wanting to chat or socialise and is recognised as a place of friendship and safety.

“They have been a great success all over the country, combating loneliness and mental health issues.

The Bolton News: A bench dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth IIA bench dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth II (Image: Public)

"The benches have been very well received by all sections of our community, old and young enjoying the facility to hang out or simply stop and rest for a while.

“I often have a drive round to check them out and every time, the benches are in use in one degree or another.”

One of the new benches in Stoneclough was dedicated to the memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II, with the spaces for benches selected after discussions with Bolton Council officers.

But Cllr Newall says that having heard positive things from members of the community she hopes to be able to place orders for new benches over the course of this year as well.

She said: “We have had a lot of very positive feedback and we've asked our residents where they want their new ones and we are getting plenty of suggestions.

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“Council officers will have to inspect and approve the locations, but we hope to have our order on place for new benches in the new year.” 

She added: “No one ever achieved anything shouting from the side lines.

“Good Councillors achieve things for their wards by being where it matters at the right time and negotiating from a position of strength, not waiting for crumbs from the top table.

“This is only the beginning for Kearsley, we have plans, and we'll make them happen.”