Young people in Ceredigion have been creating benches for communities across the county.

The initiative, led by the group Inspire, is part of a broader mental health campaign inspired by the TV programme 'After Life', with a nod to actor Ricky Gervais, its creator.

Over the past few months, Ceredigion County Council’s Community Youth Work and Prevention Team has partnered with Inspire to design and create bespoke benches for several communities in the county.

Inspire is a group of young people above the age of 16, who are not currently in education, employment, or training.

The project was envisioned as offering a tranquil, open, and safe place for individuals to converse and take some time for reflection.

With the assistance of Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training, the young people got the opportunity to plan, varnish, maintain, and deliver the benches to various community groups.

Each bench carries a distinctive Ceredigion Youth Service plaque and has been donated to several organisations including Cardigan Bowls Club, Llandysul Community Council, Llangrannog Welfare Committee, Cyngor Cymuned Landisiliogogo and Cyngor Cymuned Troedyraur.

Ethan, a young participant from the Inspire group, shared his experience: "I enjoyed being part of this bench project because it got me out of the house and it was a fun activity.

"It was good going with Adrian, our Youth Worker, as he was easy to talk to and explained how everything worked."

Gwenllian Morris, Ceredigion’s team manager for Community Youth Work and Prevention, praised the project: "It is fantastic to see projects such as this where youth workers can support young people by giving back to their community.

"We are delighted to be able to provide the benches to different communities in Ceredigion where people can sit and talk."

Councillor Wyn Thomas, Ceredigion's cabinet member for lifelong learning and skills, also expressed his admiration for the initiative: "What a pleasure it is to see the successful work by Inspire here.

"They have shown great craftmanship whilst planning and building these wooden benches.

"These benches will enhance the locations in which they have been placed, and give pleasure to people in the communities.

"These young people have created a meaningful and important project and they should be praised for all that has been done."

Inspire commits to assisting young people in seeking re-entry into education, employment, or training.

They offer drop-in provisions, workshops and activities aimed at fostering personal and social development among the youth.

Consequently, a focus on resilience, confidence, wellbeing and opportunities in education, employment and training is emphasised.

Inspire groups are available at centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron and Cardigan on a weekly basis.

There are also mobile and pop-up sessions if needed in more rural areas.