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More than just a park bench

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
More than just a park bench

A VERY special bench has been unveiled in Dumfries to provide a space for talking and listening.

Dumfries and Galloway Mental Health Association (DGMHA) have donated a covered bench and two planters to Include Us who run Catherine Street Inclusive Park.

It is intended to provide a place to talk, listen or just be, for anyone needing time to reflect or connect with others.

Phyllis Wright, chair of DGMHA Board, said: “In listening to our frontline staff, we recognised how important it is to support our frontline services staff and the people who are supported by us, particularly when faced with loss and grief.

“We wanted to remember those who are no longer with us, whether someone supported by us or a member of staff and support those who are still with us. The proposal of a memory bench in a local, safe and relaxing space accessible to staff and people who use our services was well received.”

They have previously worked in partnership with Include Us to get colourful planters and hanging baskets for their properties, which were well received by everyone.

Phyllis added: “We are delighted that our memory bench is so accessible, not only for us, but all who use the park and look forward to future partnership opportunities between our organisations.”

Meanwhile, Andy Zieleniec, chair of Include Us, welcomed the collaboration and said: “We are very aware in the park of the importance of being able to access and use outdoor space for physical and mental health and wellbeing. The park welcomes everyone and is a small green space for everyone in the community to use regardless of age, ability or need.

“We hope that this covered bench will give people the opportunity to meet, reflect or enjoy the sights and sounds of the park and will be of benefit to many.”