As lockdown looks set to continue into the spring, the elderly and those without close family may continue to feel lonely.
Yet, it takes no more than one minute to make someone feel appreciated and put a smile on their face.
Could you support ITV to put a smile on the face of a lonely elderly person? Good Morning Britain needs your help to warm the hearts of the elderly in 2021.
What is the 1 Million Minutes campaign?
The ITV breakfast show has launched the 1 Million Minutes campaign as part of a wider ITV mission to ‘Britain Get Talking’. The aim is to connect people across the UK and stamp out loneliness.
The video at the top of this article was Directed by Eastenders actor Jake Wood, performed by Hussain Manawer with music produced by Naughty Boy - in an attempt to demonstrate how reaching out to someone who feels alone is enough to bring them happiness and tackle the feeling of isolation caused by lockdown.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, families and loved ones couldn’t see each other because of lockdown restrictions.
As the Covid crisis continues, ITV are keen to ensure loneliness does not become the next crippling pandemic.
The project was launched following research carried out with 1334 NHS general practitioners which revealed that in UK:
- more than a quarter of health professionals (27%) believe their time and NHS resources are majorly drained by treating lonely people.
- Nearly a third (32% ) said they regularly see patients who come to them because they are just lonely.
- One in six (16%) said loneliness is at epidemic proportions in today's society compared with just 10 years ago
The show has now teamed up with national charities - Alzheimer's Society, Captain Tom Foundation, Grief Encounter, Once Upon a Smile, Re-Engage, The Not Forgotten and the Royal Voluntary Society - to tackle loneliness at a grassroots level.
The aim is for people across Britain to pledge time to give to make a difference to elderly people, especially during the festive period - the time of thousands of people will accumulate to deliver 1 million minutes of kindness.
How can I get involved?
You can pledge to give as much or as little of your time as you can afford to spend supporting someone in need of companionship.
Whether it is a formally arranged activity or supporting a loved one, you can pledge your time through various charity websites.
On the Good Morning Britain website, you can pledge to give from one hour to three hours per week, month, or as a one off.
What activities do you pledge to support?
Here are some activities you could carry out to help the campaign support 1million minutes of kindness.
Please remember to adhere to local and national guidelines on social distancing and meeting outwith your festive bubble. Guidelines can be found here for England and for Scotland, follow Scottish rules.
30 minutes a week:
- Volunteer with The Silver Line to befriend and speak to one older person on the phone weekly
- Pledge to make a regular phone call or visit to an older friend or family member.
60 minutes a week:
- Volunteer with The Silver Line to befriend and speak to two older people on the phone weekly
- Pledge to spend some time teaching an older friend or family member how to use a digital tool like Skype or FaceTime.
120 minutes a week:
- Pledge to support an older person through the work of the Royal Voluntary Service.
- Throughout lockdown, pledge to volunteer locally with an Age UK in your area, supporting elderly in your community.
What is 1,000,000 minutes equivalent to?
One million minutes amounts to 694.5 days - but don’t worry, you are not expected to donate this many hours.
The campaign aims to bring people together to bring more people together.
To make a change, you could donate just one hour.
That is the same as:
- The time it takes to commute to work (time you’re saving now if you’re working from home)
- One episode of a Netflix series
- The time it took you to learn and video a TikTok dance
- The time you spent queueing outside a supermarket to stock up on toilet paper (don’t pretend you didn’t).
- The time you spent queuing in the McDonald’s drive-thru when they finally reopened.