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GMB launches special 'Listening Benches' in a bid to tackle loneliness

EastEnders star Maisie Smith joined Susanna and Martin in the studio to talk about her involvement in a special part of the 1 Million Minutes campaign - our special ‘listening benches’ across the country.

Six special ‘listening benches’ have been designed by six celebrities, and can be found in six cities across the UK - and they’re in place to encourage people to strike up a conversation. 

In Nottingham, Windsor, Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter and Leeds, the benches - designed by Vicky McClure, Maisie Smith, Calum Best, Kadeena Cox, Matt Whitlock and David James in the hope of getting people talking. Maisie joined the show to share why the campaign is important to her. 

“I’m always very open about mental health,” Maisie explained. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you have - everyone is going through something and I just think the world would be a kinder place if everyone understood that. 

“I think especially growing up in the limelight as a teenager you’re very judgemental of yourself so when you do see comments of other people judging you it can add to the strain of the things you’re already going through I think people do think I’m confident because I cover my nerves with a big smile and that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.”

Susanna asked Maisie if she had a technique for dealing with her nerves. “It depends what it is,” said Maisie. “A lot of the time - and it’s going to sound really stupid - but I write a script. I write down all of the questions that I could be asked and try and come up with something or my brain goes to mush when I’m under pressure, I just completely freeze and no words will come out.”

If you want to check out one of our special 'listening benches' they can be found in the following locations...

Belfast - Newtownards Rd, BT4 1HH - Callum Best

Leeds - Trinity Leeds Shopping Mall, First floor between Primark and H&M - Kadeena Cox

Nottingham - Lister Gate - Vicky McClure

Windsor - Peascod St - Maisie Smith

Edinburgh - West Parliament Sq - David JamesExeter - Princesshay, Bedford St, EX1 - Max Whitlock

A little kindness can go a long way, pledge your time here and help prevent loneliness.

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