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Breathing Space bench offers residents a chance for reflection

Bench provides residents with the opportunity to take some time out.

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Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) has unveiled a ‘Breathing Space’ bench at its new development in Springfield, Duns. 

In conjunction with the Springfield Group, BHA created a space for the bench, which would provide a welcoming area for residents, in its plans for the development. The bench was created in support of the work of NHS 24’s Breathing Space service which addresses serious concerns about the mental wellbeing of people in Scotland. 

The bench was unveiled to mark National Breathing Space Day on 1 February, a day where people are encouraged to take some time out for our mental health, whether that meant making time for relaxation, hobbies or enjoying nature. 

It is hoped that tenants of the Springfield development and visitors will find it a useful place to gather their thoughts and take time to reflect. 

BHA Chief Executive Michelle Meldrum said: “Sometimes life can be challenging and unkind, and it’s widely reported that stress and anxiety issues are at an all-time high. The world of modern technology, social media and constant news updates means we are often bombarded with confusing and conflicting information that can distract and disconnect us from what is really important.” 

“To assist with self-care and overall personal wellbeing, it’s good to take time out to reflect and reconnect to the things that really matter. The Breathing Space bench provides residents with the opportunity to do this, and we are delighted to be able to provide this facility working in partnership with the Springfield Group.” 

Dougie Paterson, BHA’s Community Initiatives Manager, added: “We are very grateful to the Springfield Group for the donation of the Breathing Space bench as a place for quiet contemplation and reflection to support the wellbeing of our communities. 

 “We are delighted to be working with Breathing Space, and other partner services, to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing and promote the range of support on offer. BHA is committed to supporting positive mental health as much as possible, and the installation of the bench is a permanent contribution to that ambition.” 

Springfield Managing Director of Affordable Housing Tom Leggeat said: “The Springfield Group is proud to have partnered with NHS 24 and BHA to give a Breathing Space bench a home, surrounded by green space and soft landscaping at our development in Duns.  

“The importance of our wellbeing and mental health has grown significantly in the last year. Access to the outdoors for fresh air and mind space is an essential element of this. The bench is an asset to our development for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors alike. 

“We are working with Breathing Space to identify other locations, within Springfield Group developments, to install more benches and add to the growing network of Breathing Space benches across Scotland.” 

Breathing Space was launched in 2002 and complements other professionals and agencies’ work, which are endeavouring to reduce suicide rates in Scotland. Their advisers come from a range of mental health, counselling and social work backgrounds. 

They are a free, confidential phone service for anyone in Scotland over 16 experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. 

Tony McLaren, Breathing Space National Co-ordinator, said: “It’s fantastic that we have this lovely outdoor space for residents. This bench is part of a wider network of benches across Scotland and like the other benches, has the details for Breathing Space inscribed. It’s important that people know that we are here to provide listening and advice to anyone who is struggling with their mental health or experiencing distress in their lives.” 

You can speak to a Breathing Space advisor on 0800 83 85 87. The Breathing Space phone line is available 24 hours at weekends (18:00 Friday to 06:00 Monday) and from 06:00 to 02:00 on weekdays (Monday to Thursday). 

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