“Hope is Everything” benches of reflection donated to City-owned parks

hope is everything

Three bench installations have been donated to Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park in association with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably to encourage people to talk and get advice if they’re struggling.

It’s part of a campaign in which Netflix has donated 25 benches to local authorities and the City of London Corporation to coincide with the new series of Rick Gervais’ After Life.

After Life focuses on the impact of grief and features a number of emotional scenes filmed on a bench. The series has regularly filmed at Hampstead Heath, which is run by the City Corporation.

The benches are being placed in locations across the UK where people can take the time to reflect and for communities to visit.

The series is renowned for showing Ricky Gervais’s leading character, Tony, on a bench at his local churchyard, as he grieves for his wife Lisa, played by Kerry Godliman.

The bench serves as a place for Tony to reflect, share, listen and, ultimately, to grow and find hope for the future.

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The benches have been commissioned alongside CALM – who offer help, advice and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis.

Gervais said: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with CALM and the great work they do.”

People who visit a bench will be able to access resources from CALM via a unique QR code with the wording “Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign Against Living Miserably is by your side”, and online by clicking here.

Benches can be found right across the country in locations including Bath, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Surrey Heath and Taunton.

They are each inscribed with a quote from season three, “Hope is Everything”, and a plaque saying “This bench is donated by Netflix to commemorate Ricky Gervais’s ‘After Life’.”

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee, Anne Fairweather, said: “This is an excellent initiative, and I am very pleased the Heath can be part of it.

“Mental health is so important, and open spaces like the Heath play a crucial role in supporting our wellbeing, which has been especially true during the pandemic.

“Many of us live busy, crowded lives. Taking time to reflect can make a difference in how we feel, and I hope this initiative can make a difference to Heath users.”

Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM added: “Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest.

“That is why we’re delighted to team up with Netflix to put benches in parks across the country – inscribed with that crucial line from the show, “Hope is everything” – to help people have those conversations and to show it’s normal to have those feelings.”

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