Buddy bench donated to Hatfield school

James Luton, area sales manager from McCarthy and Stone's, witth Birchwood Avenue Primary schoolchi

James Luton, area sales manager from McCarthy and Stone's, witth Birchwood Avenue Primary schoolchildren. Picture: McCarthy and Stone. - Credit: Archant

A buddy bench has been donated to a Hatfield school by a developer.

McCarthy and Stone is building a retirement home near the Birchwood Avenue Primary School, and thought the bench would help foster friendships outside the classroom.

The brightly-coloured bench, which is now positioned in the playground, is intended to promote positive mental wellbeing by giving pupils a special place where they can go if they are looking for a companion.

Birchwood Avenue Primary School headteacher Nick Read said: "We are all committed to providing a safe, healthy and happy environment where children grow into confident, free thinking individuals who achieve their potential.

"Supporting the emotional wellbeing of our children is of the utmost importance to us.

"Our school motto of 'Educating Hearts and Minds' truly reflects everything that we do.

"By having a Buddy Bench in the playground, our children can support each other when someone needs to talk or find someone to play with.

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"We are delighted with the bench and are extremely grateful to McCarthy and Stone for their kind donation."

Julie Ward, national sales director for McCarthy and Stone, said: "We are delighted to hear that Birchwood Avenue Primary School will be making good use of the buddy bench.

"We understand how important it is for people of any age to feel a sense of belonging, and to have a friend they can turn to when they feel the need to talk.

"Loneliness isn't just something that affects older people in our communities, but everyone, whatever their age.

"We hope pupils at Birchwood Avenue Primary School continue to develop long-lasting friendships from the bench."

Retirement home Highclere House will offer pensioners the opportunity to downsize and maintain an active, independent lifestyle, surrounded by like-minded individuals, with the first occupants expected in spring 2020.

It will be located near Hatfield Town Centre and The Galleria and have gardens in which to relax; and a comfortable guest suite, should residents have friends or relatives to stay.