One of the benches at St Helier Open Space has an interesting mix of people using it. It is the one nearest the Hospital.
I’ve met two women there – both in their 30s/40s, both drinking. One was on crutches and had come from physio treatment at the hospital.
The local safer transport team were there doing their bike checks.
The bench is also used by the ambulance crews for a quick fag break during their shifts.
Last week I observed a woman (20s) sitting there who was clearly upset, having a massive row with someone on the phone about an infidelity. She was joined by two other women who sat with her for some time clearly talking through the problem/issue.
So for me the bench is a ‘coping’ bench.
The women drinking were dealing with stress and physical problems, partly by taking time out and having a drink outside of the hospital walls. The young woman distressed about a relationship breakdown was trying to cope with what had happened to her. The ambulance crews are taking time out – maybe having had to handle a difficult event. They are using the space as a place to get away from the work area for a short time. The police were there to help the community cope with problems over bike theft.
It's a bench that is the venue for many stories.