GMB’s Susanna Reid announced the campaign, which runs throughout December (Picture: ITV)
ITV has launched its annual volunteering campaign, in a bid to get the nation involved in tackling loneliness and the mental health issues which stem from feeling isolated.
The One Million Minutes campaign began on 1 December and over 20,000 minutes had been pledged within four hours of it being announced on Good Morning Britain.
Viewers might be wondering how they can get involved, and how many hours they need to spare in order to take part.
ITV have given a breakdown on the different ways you can help support people living alone in your community, and tackle loneliness this Christmas.
Here’s how to get involved, and the aim of the campaign.
What is ITV’s One Million Minutes campaign?
The campaign kicked off in 2015 and was a lifeline for many last year, when Covid isolation saw many people stuck for long periods of time in their homes, with many living alone and feeling isolated in more ways than one.
Loneliness also doesn’t necessarily stem from living alone, as anyone can go through periods of loneliness and feeling unsupported or in need of someone to talk to.
That’s why ITV have launched the campaign for the sixth consecutive year, looking at the many faces of loneliness, recognising it in ourselves and others.
Over the past six winters, participants who pledged even just a few hours of their time has led to almost a quarter of a billion minutes donated to charities looking for volunteers to connect with those who feel lonely.
Charities who benefit from the volunteers include Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Grief Encounter, Crisis, Re-Engage, Chatty Cafe Scheme and the Royal Voluntary Service.
Members of the public who wish to take part can sign up on the ITV website, where a plethora of ways to offer your spare time are available.
What is the appeal video about?
The short video for this year’s appeal was directed by British actor Colin Salmon, best known for his role as Charles Robinson in James Bond’s Die Another Day (2002), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).
In the video, a character named Bob is seen retiring to his allotment to pass some time, while thinking of family members he hasn’t been able to see.
Speaking of the video, Salmon said: “The film is based on my aunty Myrtle and my uncle’s allotment, my love of gardening, things I’ve seen and been through over the last year and lockdown.
“The importance of flowers, for example, but more importantly, it was about the fellowship of the allotment really, because in respect of the character in the piece - the allotment belongs to Myrtle. Bob helps her out with it, but obviously he is recently widowed and he has to make a decision as to whether he’s going to keep the allotment or move on, because he doesn’t feel he’s much of a gardener.
“But actually, it’s not about that, it’s about the fact that he’s got this group of people. He’s had a long term relationship with this group of people and Myrtle’s given so much of her own time to them, that of course they are going to give back to Bob.
“And it’s called ‘Bob’s Back’ because it’s about having his back as much as anything else.”
You can watch the full video here.
How can I get involved in One Million Minutes?
The one million minutes will be made up of thousands of people pledging some of their spare time, which will hopefully total 1,000,000 by the end of the 2021 campaign.
Here are a few ways you can pledge your time:
Be a dementia support volunteer for the Royal Voluntary service.
Volunteer to spend time supporting someone with dementia, through Alzheimer’s UK.
Volunteer your time as a GriefTalk call handler for Grief Encounter. (approx. 3 hours per week)
Volunteer is a Crisis shop or a few hours to support the homeless, with Crisis
Give an hour of your time to comfort someone experiencing grief or loneliness, through Re-engage
You can find out more about how many hours are involved in each opportunity by clicking the links to the related article above.
To find out more about One Million Minutes, or to see how many minutes have already been pledged, visit ITV’s One Million Minutes countdown.