The Friendly Bench UP032

The Friendly Bench, a social organization in the UK, uses its large bench and activities to build stronger communities and fight social isolation across the country.

This U-shaped bench, designed to snugly seat people together — and not six feet apart — was clearly not built with a pandemic in mind. In the wake of COVID, The Friendly Bench has pivoted to virtual events such as a “virtual tea” with the UK Minister for Loneliness, Diana Baron, and socially-distant picnics (with each member receiving a picnic delivery to their home).

How can you balance consumers’ competing needs for social distancing and social interaction? Is there also a way you can help residents in your own locale maintain a sense of community?