Why has an Esplanade bench been painted orange and blue?

  Posted: 15.07.21 at 18:26 by Alex Jones

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An Esplanade bench has been painted orange and blue as part of a mental health initiative.

The bench - the very furthest from the Pier - will be known as 'Friendship Bench'. It aims to encourage people to "sit, have a chat and potentially make new friends - and to help with mental health," according to Penarth RNLI, who have teamed up with the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the venture.

The project comes as lifeboat stations across the UK experience a large increase in callouts to mental health related incidents in the water.

Orange and blue were chosen in order to represent the RNLI 'big boat' colours. The bench is not yet finished as signage is due to be affixed next week.

Stephen Siddall, RNLI Penarth Community Safety Volunteer, said:

'Whilst we aren't a mental health charity, suicide and self-harm related incidents are
something we are increasingly dealing with both locally and nationally. We hope the
bench will help people create links and friendships in the community.

'Lots of people are keen to connect with others, but might be nervous about striking up
a conversation with strangers. The bench takes some of that away, by giving people a
way to signal that they want a friendly conversation, or to show that they need some
help and support.

'The Vale of Glamorgan Council have been excellent in supporting the Friendship
Bench initiative through granting permission and then carrying out the bench
refurbishment free of charge.'

Flick through our gallery of the bench. More information to follow next week.

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