The 'Happy to Chat' Bench initiative began in the United Kingdom in 2019 and has since spread across the world, including to right here in Broome County.

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There are times a person wants to sit undisturbed and watch the world around them while contemplating their lives. There are other times someone wants to sit and hope for someone to join them and spark up a conversation either because they’re looking to make a friend or just want someone to chat with because they’re lonely or need conversation to take their mind off their troubles.

People in Broome County who wish for the latter, for someone to sit and chat with will soon find making conversation a whole lot easier thanks to Happy to Chat benches.

The past few years have been hard on the world and on our community and there has been something of an emptiness - a longing to break free from isolation and loneliness and embrace human interaction again.

Broome County Parks and Recreation and the Age-Friendly Broome County project have joined forces to designate various benches as safe spaces where those who are looking to engage in conversation with others will be invited to sit and get to know a stranger through conversation.

Starting on Wednesday, June, signs will be placed on benches around Broome County, first at Otsiningo Park and the Roundtop Picnic Area and soon, in even more places.

The signs will be bright green and will announce that the bench is a “Happy to Chat” bench. If you see someone sitting on a bench with one of these bright green signs and feel like a friendly chat, you’re invited to take a seat and maybe make a new friend!

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