Two youngsters enjoying a chat on the new Buddy Bench.

A new “Buddy Bench” has been donated to The Rainbow Centre in Marham to help children foster friendships and combat loneliness.

Property company Annington, which is  refurbishing former Ministry of Defence homes at its nearby Field View development, has donated the bench to the Elm Road nursery. 

Made from sustainably sourced wood, the bench has been placed under the canopy at the outside play area and any youngsters who are feeling sad or anxious, can sit on it as a signal to others they need a friend to speak to.

The bench has been engraved with a special message – “We sit, we chat and ask each other questions, we leave as friends, with all good intentions.”

Dee Gent from the centre said: “It’s so important to create a safe and caring environment for children so that they are able to talk about their feelings, especially during such uncertain times. 

“The Buddy Bench is such an important tool to help children who may struggle to talk about their emotions and help them to feel comfortable to talk to a friend when they are sat next to each other, and how to act when they see that someone else needs support. 

“We are very grateful to Annington for donating the bench to us.”

Louise Saunders, sales and marketing manager at Annington, said: “We are proud to gift the Buddy Bench to The Rainbow Centre and we hope that the children will be able to use it to create new friendships and feel more confident for many years to come.”