Lewisham is the first borough south of the river to get new smart benches which are solar-powered, have free wifi, and let people make contactless donations to charity.
The borough, along with Islington, was chosen as the launch pad for a London-wide scheme to improve public spaces with digital technology. Smart city business Strawberry Energy teamed up with Cancer Research UK to set up the network of smart benches, which have charging ports for mobile phones and free Wi-Fi.
There are currently five benches around Lewisham, installed to coincide with World Cancer Day last Saturday, There are plans to install 100 across London by the end of 2017. The benches also gather data on their surroundings and users can monitor sound levels, temperature, humidity and CO2 levels via the website (http://smartbench.london).
Location of benches:
Where to sit and donate:
Albion Way/Lewisham High Street
Lewisham Model Market
Brookmill Road, Deptford
Corner of New Cross Road and Clifton Rise
The benches also have built-in contactless payment technology and tapping a bank card on the smart bench donates £2 to Cancer Research UK.
Lewisham Councillor Rachel Onikosi said: “I’m very pleased that Lewisham is part of the start of this network of smart benches. Finding creative ways to make the most of our public spaces benefits local communities and attracts people to come and see the great things Lewisham has to offer.”
The smart benches were chosen as one of the winning ideas at the ‘Connecting People and Creating Communities’ competition held by the Institute for Sustainability in partnership with the Mayor of London.
Miloš Milisavljević, founder and CEO of Strawberry Energy said: “We have been working with London boroughs to breathe life into our dream of a network of solar-powered Smart Benches, making energy free for all Londoners. We are proud to launch our network in the lead up to World Cancer Day with a contactless fundraising innovation in aid of Cancer Research UK.”