Welcome to Job Doctors Surgery
Connect benches were originally called Chat benches as you can see from the story below. In January 2021 Mark had first 10 connection bench sites approved by Maidstone Borough Council. Job Doctors Surgery are in the process of raising funds for the 10 connection benches that will offer safe outside spaces for cmmunities to connect in the comabt of loneliness and isolation in the community hoping to create stronger care networks.
By the time the UK went into lockdown Mark had felt his life had been pretty much on lockdown in one way or another for 18 months before anyone even knew what lockdown meant. The only thing Mark really missed was his Mum who had only lived in Spain for a year when lockdown was implemented. Lockdown was tougher in Spain so when he could Mark needed to visit his Mum who had understandable found a very harsh lockdown difficult.
Whilst in Spain Mark saw chat benches in action and anyone that has ever had an “ah ha” moment will understand how Mark felt when he saw the simplicity and the reason behind it. Spain have chat benches in parts as an initiative to combat loneliness, isolation and mental health and Mark was totally sold on every aspect of this initiative. When most come back with a suntan and duty- free cigarettes, Mark was coming back with an idea that he was dying to use!
In September 2020, Mark returned at the same time a planned move to London was pulled. Mark had decided he wanted to move back to London because since living in Kent has had experienced numerous incidents of homophobic abuse and felt that Kent attitude was very much behind as unless you are white and straight, many make you feel as if you do not fit in (we can only comment on our personal experiences)so the reality of staying in Kent had just started to setting when Mark was asked to help a local community group Tommy’s Rainbow Charity Trust with their website.
Mark had heard Tommy’s story prior to being asked to help and the more Mark thought about the story, the more Mark resonated with his story and Mark wanted the first bench to be in memory of this vibrant chatty young man and help Claire raise awareness of her mental health organisation that she set up after losing her son Tommy in November 2019 when he took his own life after a homophobic attack in a Maidstone nightclub left him with severe mental health issues so severe that he felt he no longer deserved a place in our community.
Claire agreed and requested the bench be rainbow theme so Mark set out to deliver his first chat bench. The project which was completed start to finish in just 9 weeks. Mark got approval from Maidstone Borough Council, Kent Messenger supported the project and even managed to get the story on ITV News which was filmed on Monday 16th November 2020 the 1st year of Tommy’s death, moving forward further benches will be themed and will be suited to the cause they are representing.
The second bench will poppy themed, this is to acknowledge PTSD and honour our amazing military past and present, to thank them all year round for what they put themselves through mentally and physically and will be installed into Mote Park in January 2021. “I seem to go back to personal experience so the reason this is important to me is when I lived in Blackpool I met a chap who had just been given an honourable discharge from the paratrooper regiment. I was so shocked at the accommodation he was given by a local army charity.
We became friends and I offered him a home, a job that gave him stability and he thrived. He is happy in a relationship and has a little girl too. I do not see or speak to him as much as I like but I know he is always there, as I am for him. I saw first hand the true effect of PTSD which is why I want to create this bench to raise awareness and salute all the men and women who suffer from this condition because they made a decision to protect and honour our country”
to donate below:
Claire Fry when being interviewed on ITV.
After a post on Mark Allans LinkedIn profile was seen by over 6 million people, Mark was given a clear message at a time he felt totally alone, lost and needed direction so Job Doctors Surgery was founded in November 2019. After being commended at Southwark Business Excellence Awards in November 2020 Mark was asked to appear in the LinkedIn TV advert due to be filmed in February 2021 and on screen by Spring 2021