Family firm Desser, leading specialist in cane furniture and wickerware, is helping to combat loneliness with its new Single Suites initiative.
The Manchester-based company – this year celebrating its centenary and now in its fourth generation – will be donating suites of furniture which can be used as focal points for vulnerable people to meet and chat.
It is targeting nearly 20 strategic locations across the UK such as community centres, care homes and retirement villages.
“Loneliness and its consequences is one of the biggest problems this country is facing today,” said Desser sales director Mark Stewart.
“According to Age UK, loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
“And research also shows that people with high degrees of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as people with a lower degree of loneliness.
“Admitting you’re feeling lonely can be a hard thing, but it is estimated that nine million adults in the UK are lonely and we want to do something to change that.
“By placing our suites at 19 locations across the UK, we’re aiming to spread friendships and banish the stigma of admitting you feel lonely.”
The initiative is based on the Buddy Bench concept in which special seating is provided in school playgrounds where children who feel lonely can sit and signal they need someone to talk to and include them in their games.
“Making friends and establishing relationships can be hard for some, even when they are surrounded by people,” added Mark Stewart.
“These suites will be clearly signed as ‘friendship benches’ in some way, and the message of their purpose will be communicated to those able to use them.”
Desser is inviting institutions and organisations which could benefit from one of its suites to email the company at email@example.com