Three Saints-themed benches have popped up around the city, designed to get people talking.

The benches in St James’ Park in Shirley, Riverside Park in Bitterne Park, and the Miller’s Pond conservation area in Sholing have all been painted in the club's signature red and white stripes.

They also all have a plaque to spark conversation - with the goal, as it were, to reduce social isolation.

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Daily Echo: The talking bench in Bitterne Park

Paul Hedges, Health Projects Manager at Saints Foundation who spearheaded the scheme, said: “We’re excited to use the iconic red and white stripes to signify our new talking benches.

"The colours of our club mean a lot to our communities, and we hope that, like Saints, these benches will be a point of connection for people, and get Southampton talking."

The Southampton F.C. charity partnered with community groups So:Linked and Friends of St James’ Park, and the University of Southampton on the idea.

Daily Echo: The talking bench in Bitterne Park

The red and white benches will be formally unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Valerie Laurent, at the St James’ Park bench today.

This is to coincide with Time To Talk Day, a national initiative that encourages mental health conversations between friends, families, communities, and workplaces.

Mr Hedges said: “These benches have been brought to life by an exciting collaboration of local charitable organisations and the University of Southampton, supported by the Effective Partnerships Practice fund – a fantastic example of Southampton institutions to coming together for the good of the community.

“We’d also like to thank Elmtree Signs, a valued corporate patron of Saints Foundation, for the installation of the benches, and Spectrum Signs for their support with design and signage.”

Daily Echo: The talking bench in Shirley

The benches will be supported with a web page hosted by So:Linked and a QR code that will allow individuals to leave comments and feedback.

The talking benches are just one way that Saints Foundation is aiming to support wellbeing in Southampton.

Launched in 2023, their Saints By Your Side programme offers free group support sessions for men in the local area who are struggling with their mental health.

People can self-refer via the Southampton FC website.