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Chatty Chairs

People experiencing isolation and loneliness are being encouraged to use a new seating area where they can sit in specially-created Chatty Chairs.

Every Monday in November the team from Lush will be offering free hand and arm massages at the Chatty Chairs between 11am - 12noon. So not only with you get a chat, you'll also get a free pamper.

It’s the first time a Scots shopping centre has installed Chatty Chairs with signage that says: “Sit here if you don’t mind having a chat with someone.”

The move comes after the Age Scotland charity revealed that 282,000 older Scots feel lonely some or most of the time.

The latest Scottish Household Survey published earlier this month also found that one in four people over the age of 60 said they do not meet a friend, neighbour or relative at least once a week.

The intu Braehead Chatty Chairs are in the upper mall and are configured so that it’s easy for shoppers to start a conversation with someone sitting next to them.

The move by the shopping mall to encourage visitors who would like a chat to use the seats and for shoppers to spend a few minutes talking to them has been praised by Age Scotland.

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland, said: “It’s heart-breaking to think of hundreds of thousands of older people going a week or more without meeting a friend, relative or neighbour.

“While loneliness can affect us at any age, older people can be more vulnerable due to bereavement, retirement, health, or mobility issues.

“Loneliness is having a devastating impact on older people’s health and well-being. It increases the risk of high blood pressure and developing dementia, as well as seriously affecting mental health.”

Lydia Brown, intu Braehead’s community development manager said: “The simple act of stopping to say hello to someone sitting on one of our Chatty Chairs could make a huge difference if they are feeling lonely.

“A few minutes chat started by a simple ‘hello’, or ‘how you doing, today?, could make someone’s life a whole lot better and make them feel less isolated.

“The Scottish Government has launched a strategy focused on dealing with social isolation and loneliness in society.

“We recognise that it’s a problem for many people – of all ages – and we hope our Chatty Chairs initiative can play a small part in combating feelings of loneliness and isolation.”