NEW 'chat benches' to combat loneliness in the community could be installed in Inverclyde.

The benches feature a friendly sign that reads, 'Sit here if you don't mind someone stopping to say hello' and they have proved to be a big success in tackling isolation in England.

Now Port councillor Jim MacLeod is calling for chat benches to be introduced in this area.

He believes it will build on the work going on in the area from the likes of Compassionate Inverclyde and Your Voice, who are working to prevent people from being cut off from society.

Cllr MacLeod said: "I read about these benches on social media and I think it's an excellent idea.

"Life can be lonely for people so it would be good for them to have these benches where they can go and have a chat with someone."

Cllr MacLeod says Inverclyde has lots of places which would be perfect for the benches, such as Port Glasgow's Coronation Park.

He told the Tele they would not cost much and have the potential to have a big impact on individual wellbeing.

Mr MacLeod added: "I think it's great because it costs nothing - it's just a sign that is placed on a bench.

"It's about trying to break down isolation and get people talking by sitting on the benches.

"Sometimes people don't know how to engage with other people.

"This would be a good way of bringing folk together for a chat."

Councillor MacLeod is now going to formally speak to council officials to pursue his suggestion.

He said: "I'm going to put the idea to them to see what they think."