CHILDREN at a primary school in Somerset are combatting loneliness with the gift of a buddy bench.

Annington, the company responsible for refurbishing the former Ministry Of Defence (MOD) homes in Ilchester have gifted the bench to children at Ilchester Community Primary School.

The buddy bench is designed to help children combat loneliness and help them to make friends.

Children that are feeling sad or anxious can sit on the bench to signal to others that they need someone to speak to.

The bench, made from sustainable wood, is hand engraved with the words: “We sit, we chat and ask each other questions, we leave as friends, with all good intentions.”

Nick Heath, headteacher at the school, said: "It’s so important to create a safe and caring environment for children so that they are able to talk about their feelings, especially during such uncertain times.

"A shy or anxious child may struggle to ask someone else for support, which is why the buddy bench is such a vital tool in teaching the children what to do when they feel lonely, and how to act when they see that someone else needs support.

"We are very grateful to Annington for donating the bench to us.”

Annington is responsible for refurbishing former Ministry of Defence homes in Ilchester, where prices start from £105,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Louise Saunders, sales and marketing manager at Annington, added: “At Annington, we strive to support local communities wherever we can.

"We are proud to gift the buddy bench to Ilchester Community Primary School, and we hope that the children will be able to use it to create new friendships and feel more confident for many years to come.”

Annington is one of the largest private owners of residential property in the UK with more than 40,000 homes across England and Wales.

For more information about the homes for sale in Ilchester, contact Fox and Sons by visiting or calling 01935 412100.