Are You “Happy to Chat”?

by Editorial Team
Published: Last Updated on

“I’m Natalie, the Local Area Co-ordinator for Haxby & Wigginton and my role is to support residents to stay resilient, independent, and connected with their local communities.

“I support people who may feel that life is difficult due to age, disability, mental or physical health, or other life circumstances. I will take time to get to know you and your family and will help you to achieve your idea of a good life, meet new people, and find advice and information.

“Haxby is a great location in which to work—a friendly place, where neighbourliness and community spirit is abundant. This has shone through during the pandemic, with record numbers of volunteers mobilising to support their community. You can feel the buzz in the village on a sunny day, with everyone stopping to say “hello” to one another. Like crocuses appearing under the beech tree, there is a feeling of optimism at the thought of the restrictions ending and summer approaching.

“Over lockdown it has become more obvious than ever before that as social animals, humans are healthier and happier when connected to others. I was looking for opportunities to make this happen and heard about the chatty bench. The idea of a bench where you can go for a chat started in Cardiff when a lady decided to change how impersonal it sometimes felt in her local park by connecting with passers-by. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the idea has since spread as far as Brisbane and Kiev!

“So if you’d like some company or just a hello from a friendly face, come to Haxby’s “Happy to Chat Bench” outside St. Mary’s Church. I’ll be there on Thursdays at 11 AM–1 PM, weather permitting, and hope to turn this into a permanent fixture in the community, where you can go at any time and let others know you’re open to a conversation.”

Come for a chat: help us to build our local community and be part of a global movement to tackle loneliness! Call Natalie Greaves on 07957 455359 or email natalie.greaves@york.gov.uk.

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