"Everyone needs a buddy": New buddy benches in Holy Spirit

By Mary Dennehy

A PAIR of Buddy Benches were this week given a new home in the Holy Spirit Senior School in Greenhills, with one of the benches unveiled in remembrance of special-needs assistant Sinead Pugh who sadly passed away in November.

Funding for the benches was given by the Greenhills and District Credit Union after their Youth Liaison Officer, Marion King, suggested the Buddy Bench as an idea.

holy spirit compressed

Marion, who lives in Clondalkin, told The Echo: “Through my job I am involved with schools in the area and I heard about the benefits of the Buddy Bench in other areas.

“The Principal in Holy Spirit Senior School is fantastic and the Buddy Bench idea got great support from the whole school.”

She said: “The Buddy Bench will be a special place in the schoolyard where a child can go and sit if they feel lonely, sad, isolated or just want someone to talk to or play with.

“Mental health starts at a young age and we want to combat this.

“Our aim is to give a child the confidence to talk, and make new friends and let them know it is okay to have a bad day.

“The bench is not just for children who feel sad, or lonely, it’s for all children and teachers.

“Everyone needs a buddy.”

Marion added how the teachers in the school will promote the bench and what it stands for with children, while also monitoring its use.

A plaque was also unveiled on one of the benches in memory of Ballycullen resident and special-needs assistant Sinead Pugh, who was based at the school.

Sinead, who was a mother-of-four, tragically passed away on November 11.

Marion said: “We had pink and blue balloons that we let off for Sinead . . . and we said that they were going up to Sinead who is a friend in heaven looking down on us all.”

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