Listening Benches for ITV's '1 Million Minutes' Campaign to tackle loneliness

You may have seen on Good Morning Britain the '1 Million Minutes' campaign initiative to get conversation flowing in a bid to tackle loneliness and depression. The campaign was in its sixth year of success, and so only fitting that six celebrities were chosen to design a bench each in Nottingham, Windsor, Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter, and Leeds. The campaign works with Grief Encounter, Crisis, Re-engage, Chatty Café Scheme, Alzheimer's Research UK, and the Royal Voluntary Service.

Especially relevant after months of lockdowns brought on by Covid outbreaks during 2020-2021, Creative Solutions were contracted to produce and install the vinyl applications that would decorate the benches for the month of December.

Carry on down to see the 6 benches in their final production, and a little bit about what inspired each design...

WINDSOR

Place: Peascod St

Artist: EastEnders Actress Maisie Smith

Maisie’s bench, which is decorated in the colours from the LGBTQ+ flag, was inspired by her friends. She explained on the Good Morning Britain show: “I‘ve got a lot of friends in the LGBTQ+ community and I know for a lot of people it’s not an easy subject to talk about which is the entire process of this campaign is promotion talking so it felt quite personal for me to do that.” 

EDINBURGH

Place: West Parliament Sq

Artist: Professional Footballer David James

"We're in support of @GMB 1 Million Minute campaign and placed one of their listening benches at Parliament Square, designed by footballer and fundraising superstar, David James to encourage you to talk and listen to those in need." - The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership Twitter.

EXETER

Place: Princesshay, Bedford St, EX1

Artist: Olympic Gymnast Max Whitlock

Princess Hay Shopping Centre Exeter Twitter: "The benches are in place to encourage people to strike up conversations, why not come down and take a seat – you never know what you could get talking about!"

NOTTINGHAM

Place: Lister Gate

Artist: Actress Vicky McClure

"“I feel very lucky to have been asked to get involved in this campaign. When all’s said and done what matters most is being there for people.  Family, friend, colleague or stranger.” - Vicky McClure on GMB.

LEEDS

Place: Trinity Leeds Shopping Mall

Artist: Presenter and Parasport Athlete Kadeena Cox OBE

David Maddison, Trinity Leeds centre director, said: “We’re proud to do our part to help tackle loneliness – especially at this time of year – and it’s fantastic to have Leeds’ own Paralympic star Kadeena on board. Her design is really eye-catching and stands out on the mall here at Trinity Leeds. We hope it helps people get conversations flowing and makes the festive season a little bit brighter for those who feel lonely at this time of year.” - Source

BELFAST

Place: Newtownards Rd

Artist: American Television Personality Calum Best

Explaining the concept on GMB, Calum, who has previously spoken about his own mental health battles, said: “I thought the bench aspect was really a good idea because it invites people to a welcome and safe space. From experience, once you start to open up and speak out, things can get better for people." The bench features an image of his late father, the Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend George Best.

Exeter - Applying Vinyl to struts of the bench
Edinburgh - Heat Treating the Vinyl for perfect application
Nottingham - Halfway through Vinyl Installation

THE SOLUTION

The 1 Million Minutes Campaign may be over for another year, but that doesn't mean the message stops. Keep talking, listening, and checking in with your nearest and dearest. We look forward to its return and growth in 2022!

In its sixth consecutive year, the British public generosity has seen 166,028,640 minutes donated to charities looking for volunteers to connect with those who feel lonely. If you are able to donate time, you can find out more information via the ITV website.

Posted by Samantha on February 28th 2022

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