Cardiff Men's Shed builds buddy bench for Cardiff Public School to help stop bullying

Year six Cardiff Public School students Brewannin Murray, Jack Bateman and Olivia Dugan test the new buddy bench, donated to the school by the Cardiff District Men's Shed.

Year six Cardiff Public School students Brewannin Murray, Jack Bateman and Olivia Dugan test the new buddy bench, donated to the school by the Cardiff District Men's Shed.

THE new Cardiff District Men's Shed's first community project is tipped to help a local school combat bullying and isolation among its students.

The shed's members built and painted a buddy bench for Cardiff Public School.

Buddy benches are a worldwide initiative designed to provide a place for students to go if they are lonely or being bullied.

They have been used in schools in the US and Germany.

Cardiff Public School's bench is painted blue, yellow, red, green and orange to match the school's values of respect, care, achievement, honesty and harmony.

The project was a joint effort by the school's P&C association and the men's shed that opened three months ago.

Men's shed president Dallas Hicks said the students' reaction of all wanting to sit on the bench when it was unveiled was priceless.

"It [the project] was well worth it," Mr Hicks said.

Cardiff Public School assistant principal Sue Gandy helped co-ordinate the project, which took eight weeks to finish.

She said the bench embodied the school's motto - work in harmony.

"The idea is for isolated children to be noticed," Ms Gandy said.

"If they see someone sitting on the bench they can invite them to play."

Ms Gandy said the bench extended the school's bullying prevention program that had been in place for more than 12 years.

Called rock and water, the program involves role plays to help students identify better ways to deal with conflict.

"We are a fairly calm school, but they are children, and things do change on a daily basis.

"We think the bench will help us [combat bullying] even more," she said.

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