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    Bench with a man and dog sitting on it

    Photo credit: Esther Johnson, the Bench Project.

    Clare Rishbeth: Competition shortlisted entry: ‘A bench-full city’

    Clare’s idea for how to build a more mental health friendly Sheffield suggests placing more benches in the city which will enable people to be low-key sociable, or find a peaceful solitude. Both these ways of being outside can greatly improve the wellbeing of the people of Sheffield. Keep reading to find out more about this simple but super idea!

    Competition Shortlisted Entry: ‘A Bench-full City’

    Clare’s idea is a graphic combination of pictures and words, but for anyone who has limited sight we’ve also transcribed the text. Here’s what’s written in the piece, with the words moving from left to right around the image.


    Sit outside in Sheffield!

    “It does you good to get out”

    A walk and a sit down

    Grab a bench, a place to pause.

    Sky, birds, trees, sun (if you’re lucky).

    Benches are free

    A place to belong.


    Without benches everyone would be a bit more lost.

    “When I sit at home it’s lonely”.

    “You just come here to chill”

    Views out, look around.


    What we need is a Better Bench strategy!

    We need to map benches:

    Some people can’t walk very far… how often can you sit down?

    Where can you have a chat? (Especially without needing to buy anything).

    Where are the best views? A Sheffield speciality!


    A Bench-Full City!

    More of them

    Make them comfortable for bottoms! (How about a star rating?)

    Enabling people to spend longer outside.

    Sitting outside you are part of the city.

    Solitude and sociability are both OK.


    I’ve been involved in the Bench Project research. All quotes are from participants on this project. For more information:

    Photo credit: Esther Johnson, the Bench Project.

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