December 7, 2022
Children at a Solihull junior school are forging new friendships thanks to the introduction of a ‘friendship bench’.
The brightly coloured seating area was donated to Sharman’s Cross Junior School by Hayfield, following an approach from the Parent Teacher Association.
Shereena Delaney, treasurer of the school’s PTA, said: “After the pandemic and having been at home for so long, some of the children were struggling with friendships and mental wellbeing.
“We felt that a friendship bench would be a focal point for children to support each other if they were feeling down or left out, and it has proved a huge success.”
The PTA approached Hayfield, who were happy to support the initiative with a £500 donation. The children then chose the design and colour scheme of their bench which has pride of place in the school playground.
Shereena added: “By choosing the style of the bench themselves, the children have taken ownership of the scheme. It is such a good idea and is certainly helping in terms of mental health.”
Sara Wilkes, Headteacher at Sharmans Cross Junior School said: “The children love our new friendship bench, and it is great to see them using it to build relationships with new friends or just passing a few moments chatting to someone they someone they know.
“We are very grateful to both the PTA and Hayfield for their kind donation. I am sure the children will enjoy it for many years to come!”
Sara Hope, Human Resources Director at Hayfield who was on hand to present the bench, said: “Inclusion and positive wellbeing are key values for Hayfield and we are delighted to be able to support the PTA in this valuable initiative.
“We hope the children will enjoy using the bench and that it will be somewhere where they can talk and laugh together.”