A bench encouraging people to get talking is to be trialled in Pershore.

A ‘Happy to Chat' bench is to be allocted in King George Playing Fields, with councillors hoping it will prove a boost to residents' mental health.

Counillor Dan Boatright said the idea first came to them before the pandemic, but now it has an entirely new importance.

“Now that we are coming out of the pandemic, I just think it’s a really good idea to try and promote.

“We just wanted to give people the opportunity to get chatting because I think we have all gone into ourselves a bit after Covid.

“I think it will go down well with the people of Pershore.”

Wychavon Council have also taken the idea on board and are looking at dedicating some of the benches under their control to the project.

One of the main stumbling blocks for Pershore Town Council is that many of the benches in the area are dedicated remembrance benches.

However, councillor Boatright says those he has spoken to believe it is a “lovely idea” that offers a unique way to remember their loved ones.

Councillors discussed the idea at Thursday’s Town Council meeting, with councillor Peter Brookbank questioning why a sign was needed.

Councillor Valerie Smith responded: “I think it’s an excellent idea.

“While councillor Brookbank might feel confident about going and chatting to people, for those who are lonely and vulnerable, they might appreciate a sign telling them this the place to go.”

The decision to launch a trial of 'Happy to Chat' benches in Pershore comes days after Netflix announced it would be donating 25 benches to local councils.

The donation is part of a mental health initiative following the launch of the new series of Ricky Gervais’ After Life.

In the show, Gervais’ character, Tony, is often seen sitting on a bench at his local churchyard as he reflects on the loss of his wife.

Gervais said: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with Calm (a suicide prevention charity) and the great work they do.”