British Recycled Plastic is working with care homes on a buddy bench scheme designed to encourage socialising again after lockdown. The company has designed a 100% recycled range of rainbow coloured buddy benches that encourage care home residents to sit and enjoy a conversation with visitors and residents.

A recent study by the University of Edinburgh found Covid-related restrictions have caused mental distress to three out of four people who have relatives in care homes and being unable to see and touch loved ones during the pandemic has triggered a range of negative emotions among study participants. Many said their experience of care homes had not adequately balanced their right to a family life against the risk of infection.

The mental health benefits of regular visiting were emphasised throughout the study, which also involved the University of the West of Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and the Institute for Research & Innovation in Social Services. It is hoped the benches will support and encourage the great need for socialising in a care home setting.

British Recycled Plastic’s Managing Director, Jason Elliott, says: “Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents and is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care. Our recycled plastic buddy benches are bright and colourful and have been specifically designed to promote socialising in care homes across the country.”

The ultra-tough benches are made from 100% recycled mixed plastic which has been diverted from land-fill, incineration and dumping abroad then converted into a durable, useful material.