The late Barry Hulyer, the founder and first CEO of TDC, was very fond of benches. When walking with him he could often be heard muttering that there really ought to be more benches wherever you happened to be at the time, either for resting a weary frame or just admiring the scenery.
In this, he was like so many of us – but in other ways he was quite special. His tireless devotion and commitment to the local community and to bringing people together has left a significant legacy in Brighton and Hove.
TDC has been inspired by Barry’s love of benches along with a wonderful initiative called ‘chat benches’. Where some public seating is marked out as spots where people can stop if they would like to chat.
‘Happy to Chat Bench’ : Sit here if you don’t mind someone stopping to say hello’.
Chat benches help people who feel isolated in their daily lives make a connection with someone new. They also give people who want to help the lonelier members of their community a chance to do so. They bring together benches with the kind of community involvement that Barry would have loved.
In these COVID-19 times of increased isolation and social distancing the chat bench can provide a powerful mechanism for bringing people together. The Trustees of TDC have decided that the promotion of chat benches in Brighton and Hove would be a highly appropriate way of marking the contribution of Barry Hulyer within the city. Funds have been identified for an initial bench and a site is being explored.
It is hoped that this will be the first of many across the city.
Friend of Barry Huyler
Chat Benches in Your Community
If you’d like a chat bench in your community, TDC can support you to set one up. There are three ways to do this.
- You can nominate an existing bench as a chat bench. TDC can provide a Happy to Chat Bench Laminate to mark out your chat bench. Email us on [email protected] to order one – or print it yourself if you prefer.
- You can get a plaque made to put on an existing bench. You can get one of these from Sussex Memorial Benches for £75 including logo and QR code.
- Or you can fundraise for a new bench for your community. This will cost around£1000, but TDC can help you set up a Crowdfunder. To have a chat about this just get in touch with [email protected]