Buddy Bench project

Members of the Youth Advisory Committee painting Buddy Benches will be placed in seven schools across the Mid North
Members of the Youth Advisory Committee painting Buddy Benches will be placed in seven schools across the Mid North

The Youth Advisory Committee of the Clare and Gilbert Valley have taken steps to further strengthen an anti-bullying message across schools in the Mid North with it’s Buddy Bench initiative.

Originally implemented in Germany, the Buddy Bench took off in America after second grader Christian Bucks approached his Primary School in Pennsylvania with the idea having came across the project while researching a potential move abroad.

Besides being painted in bright colours, they seem exactly the same as any other bench.

However, if a student does not have anyone to play with, they can take a seat on the bench and one of their peers can come over and start a conversation.

Instead of feeling isolated, it creates a more inclusive environment on the playground.

Youth Advisory Committee development officer Colene Noble said the idea came about during a brainstorming session of ways to benefit the community.

“Buddy Benches were one of the things we came up with and it was presented to members of the committee and they were all for it,” she said.

“We sent out a letter to all the schools to see who would be willing to have one within the Clare and Gilbert Valley region.”

Committee member James Long said YAC decided to take up the project in order to help primary school students.

“We believe that it would be a great idea to help primary school students to make friends, as the colourful benches are a great conversation starter,” he said.

We hope to get nothing out of it because this is what the Youth Advisory Committee is all about, giving back to the youth in the Clare Valley

James Long

Fellow committee member Etabez Donato echoed James sentiments.

“We want the schools to use them and hopefully children will appreciate the effort YAC has put in to provide the beautiful bench.”

The Clare and Gilbert Valleys Lion Clubs were also involved in the project by providing funding to purchase paint.

Clare High School, Clare Primary, Vineyard Lutheran, Gums Child Care Centre, Clare Valleys Child Care Centre, Auburn Primary, Watervale Primary, Saddleworth Primary and Riverton Primary have all put their hands up to install a Buddy Bench on their school grounds.