Staff and children at Manor Park School in Pulrose have come up with a novel and effective way to support children who may be feeling lonely in the playground.
Nicola Walton, whose eight-year-old son Aaron goes to the school, said when he was new he had struggled at first to make good friends, then they had hit on the idea of the Friendship Bench to be sited in the school playground.
‘The idea is that it is a bench in the playground and the children can sit on it if they are feeling lonely,’ she said.
‘The children know about the bench and the idea is someone else, one of the other children will go over and talk to them.’
The bench was paid for by the Hope Homecare organisation, which Nicola herself works for.
The Hope Homecare charity supports people with brain injuries and offers things such as hydrotherapy.
The bench is decorated with a variety of carvings and says ‘Friendship Bench’ on it.
The children at the school all joined in to decorate the bench colouring in the words on it and some of the decoration.
‘The bench is really lovely,’ Nicola said.
The bench was put together by the Manx Disabled Workshop, which designed it before its trained carpenters then built it.
The Manx Disabled Workshop has been recently expanding its output with benches proving a popular line.
Their benches have been on display outside B&Q at Cooil Road and they have also produced a range of bespoke seating including benches which are now in place near to Union Mills on the former railway line.
It has offered a range of other bespoke joinery, in recent months, including a dove cote.
The workshop offers a variety of services in addition to woodwork. With the approach of the TT races it is gearing up for a particularly busy time as it has responsibility for engraving the TT trophies.
As well as expanding its output, the workshop has taken on more people in the past year and offered new products.