See the video mentioned via this link. It’s well worth your time as the story is both heart warming and thought-provoking. As The Guardian says on its website:
“One in four people in Zimbabwe experiences mental health problems but there are only 13 psychiatrists in the country. To help plug the gap, Dixon Chibanda has developed a scheme to train an army of grandmothers, who offer a listening ear on park benches. The scheme challenges the stigma surrounding mental health and provides the women with company.”
There’s been much written in the press over the years about the ‘postcode lottery’ for various treatments on the NHS, but I never imagined a bench would feature in a health related story.
You need a postcode to register with a doctor, so how can that be achieved if you’re of no fixed abode?
A practice in the centre of Bristol found a workaround by using the postcode of a nearby park bench in Portland Square to provide the address for the homeless who registered with them.
It’s a neat way of ensuring ‘the system’ is satisfied, so the health workers can get on with the business of providing any care needed.
It’s a while since this story was reported in The Guardian, and so it may no longer apply, but it was still worth a diversion to Portland Square when I was in Bristol late last year. The Square in question has many park benches around its sides, so I can’t say whether this is the actual bench with the postcode. Perhaps they all do?
The Telegraph recently showcased some amazing benches, which I discovered via Twitter. With their assertion that Britain has been named as the best place for benches, it’s no wonder I’m nowhere near running out of material for this strand on my blog.
I think some of my finds stand up with the best of them 🙂