Buddy bench builds community connection

No one should feel lonely or left out when they take a seat on Elliot Springs’ buddy bench, a safe space that supports inclusiveness and helps new friendships to flourish.

The Elliot Springs “buddy bench” will become a brilliant new addition to our neighbourhood, helping spread kindness, supporting new friendships and providing a safe zone for residents.

The Joyful Foundation, who were recently awarded an Elliot Springs Community Grant, will use the funds to build and install a buddy bench at Wadda Mooli Park in April.

The charity was founded in 2012, to continue Joy Donnellan’s (guidance officer and psychologist) legacy of shining a light on disadvantaged students in North Queensland schools through;

  • The provision of stationery packs for students in need
  • Installing buddy benches in school playgrounds
  • Providing sponsorship for individuals or groups of students for school needs
  • The Jump for Joy program, helping students access sporting, cultural and arts programs

The Joyful Foundation spokesperson Erin Stafford said the buddy bench would not only provide a “safe zone” for Elliot Springs residents but create a place of peace and contemplation in our busy modern world.

“The Foundation has been installing buddy benches in schools for over 5 years. In 2022, our first buddy bench was installed in a public space through a collaboration with the Soroptimist International Townsville Breakwater and the Townsville City Council,” she said.

“This raised profile led to the consideration of installing a buddy bench at Wadda Molli Park at Elliot Springs. We applied for the community grant from Lendlease and were successful.

“Elliot Springs is flourishing as a community of young families. The buddy bench, set in Wadda Mooli Park and near the popular playground facilities will provide a safe space for children who may be looking for a friend, or a place for a quiet chat for parents supervising their children at the playground.”

The concept behind the buddy bench is to provide a “safe zone” for children in schools to go to if they are feeling lonely, excluded or need some help with friendships. They are an anti-bullying strategy that has been utilised successfully in many Australian schools to allow students to access support when needed.

In a community context like Elliot Springs, the buddy bench is a place for the community to connect, a space for relaxation, which encourages residents to unwind and feel a sense of peace.

We look forward to sharing updates on the installation of the Elliot Springs buddy bench in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page for more details.

To learn more about the Joyful Foundation visit their Facebook page here.