The Young Foundation, writes:
I became involved in the Bench Project because it became part of The U work in Sutton. The U has been in Sutton for over three years and I have a good network across the borough.
Rather than talking about why I am involved, perhaps it is worth reflecting on what being involved has meant to the work I do in Sutton for The U and how I now see my community.
I notice benches more - where they are located and who is on them, their style and outlook.
The act of observation has made me more observant generally - I think I watch the community more - notice the rhythm of an area or a group of people and pick up on the sounds and smells.
It has made me reflect on the spaces that are excluded from groups or other venues, or who have seen spaces they used to go to disappear - local pubs for example - who are using the public benches as areas to escape to, places to meet fellow drinkers or neighbours.
The project provides us with an opportunity to show the social action/innovation/research aspects of The Young Foundation/The U. In Sutton The U is probably known more for its sessions and this project provides us with an opportunity to show a different side to The U and what it can offer Sutton.