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Are you sitting comfortably?

For people who cannot walk long distances, the right seat in the right place can be life changing. If you cannot rest in public spaces it can leave you isolated and lonely.

This bench was co-designed by members of VOICE, Newcastle University and key partners and is suitable for everyone, young or old. By rethinking the design of a public bench it has become a safe space which is easy to get in and out of. It is comfortable, a social space, suitable for all generations and easy to maintain.

How we worked
A programme of consumer-led workshops were organised to establish the goal of the design project. These meetings included VOICE members who were given the brief and ask to decide on a product that would be valuable to the public. After much debate, VOICE decided that the project would focus on public seating; more specifically a bench that would be suitable for all ages.

The rationale for the project came from VOICE members. They explained that, if you found walking distances challenging, without the right seating, at the right places, you quickly found yourself excluded from many public places and this could lead to isolation and loneliness. It was decided therefore, that re-thinking the design of a public bench could have significant benefits.

Innovation through good design
The bench demonstrates innovation and shows the value of collaborative design with the public. It points to a future where the co-design of all products and services could be revolutionary.

Take a seat!
We are very proud to announce that, in addition to the original prototype on the Campus for Ageing & Vitality site, there are now two others in situ in Newcastle.  One as part of the Great Exhibition of the North on the 2nd floor of the Great North Museum showcasing innovation developed in the region and one installed on St Thomas Street to provide a resting point for people walking between the Haymarket and the RVI.


Add a comment
  • Zanna28
    15th November 2019

    Hi - I submitted an application but after I pressed 'send' the Voice webpage said 'page not found', so I am not sure it went through. Please confirm. I can re-submit if need be.

    Rosanna King

  • NIHR London IVD Filipa Amaral
    15th November 2019

    Dear Elsie,

    Thank you for your interest in being involved at NIHR London IVD. On the top right-hand side of this page, there is a green button that says "apply here". We would be grateful if you could submit your application there. Please do not hesitate to contact me ([email protected]) if you have any questions.

    Best Wishes,


    NIHR London IVD Co-op PPI Lead

    Imperial College London​

    St Mary's Hospital

    QEQM 10th Floor,

    South Wharf Road, Paddington

    London W2 1NY

    E:[email protected]

  • MaminaNana
    15th November 2019

    I am interested in joining this group and most important, helping out.

    From my home, St Mary’s Hospital is 11 minutes walking distance door to door for me, so attending meetings will not present a problem for me even at short notice.

    I am happy to help and assist in any and all ways that help is required. Cheers Elsie