Leon and June

July 19th, 2016 by The Mag Editors in Features

An elderly woman and man sit side by side on arm chairs with a table between them - June and Leon

Gogglebox couple, Leon and June, are ambassadors for Age UK’s ‘No-one’ campaign – having made a TV ad encouraging people to look out for their elderly neighbours who might be alone. Our guest editors put their questions to the popular celebrities to get their tips on how we can help people in our communities.

Shirley: What is the No-one campaign doing to help people who are lonely? How does it work?

Leon: It’s hard to believe that millions of older people can go through the ups and downs of life entirely alone. We’ve been supporting Age UK’s campaign that’s all about letting people know how lonely some people are.

June: Doing everyday things like watching TV, shopping – we can’t imagine what it would be like not to have someone else around. The campaign raised awareness of all the great things you can do to help, like volunteer befriending projects, so people of all ages can either call up older people or pop in for a chat and a coffee. It makes such a huge difference to the lives of some people. We wanted to support it because we just can’t imagine being alone – the thought is awful.

Leon: And you’ve always looked after me haven’t you June?

June: Oh yes – I’ve made you plenty of cups of tea over the years!

Anne: How can we, as neighbours, encourage people to join in with activities?

June: Getting to know your neighbour is a good start. Don’t just hurry by and say hello, stop and chat and find out more about them. Gradually you can then suggest different kinds of activities that you think might interest them, and let them know that they have someone to go with. If you know someone living alone, give them a call on a Sunday – a lonely day for many people

Leon: I bet places like Applegrove, places with communal areas and lots of activities, means there’s plenty of activities and socialising going on. But for those living alone in independent accommodation, it’s often more difficult.

Valerie: Some people are worried about trust, and which activities will be the most suitable and safe for them. What’s the best way of finding out about safe and supportive groups or activities in your local community?

June: It can be a bit worrying if you’ve never been to a group before. I think I’d check first maybe with your local library or if you can go online, why not look at the local council website? Sometimes the local paper has a list of what’s on in your area and there’s often someone like the organiser you could call to ask about the activity and what it’s like. U3A is a wonderful organisation where there are monthly general meetings and small groups of various activities for people who don’t enjoy large group activities – or church groups could be good, even if you’re not religious.

Anne: What is your advice to people who feel lonely? Is there anything they can do themselves?

Leon: I think you need to try and make yourself do something – use your bus pass and visit a place of interest or even just go for a coffee. Otherwise it is too easy to just sit about at home alone. I think that can make you feel more lonely.

June: If I’m a bit lonely I’ll try and arrange to meet up with friends or family or I’ll get in touch with a friend I haven’t seen in ages and arrange to meet up for a cup of tea and a catch up.

Wendy: What might you suggest to somebody who is shy about joining in with new activities and groups of people?

June: It can be intimidating going into a new place where you don’t know anyone. I think I’d remind them that there are so many people in the same boat – so they wouldn’t necessarily be on their own. And that once you take that first step, you’ll seldom look back and you might make some lifelong new friends.

Beryl: Sometimes, you can feel lonely even in a crowded room or when you are married at certain times in your life. Have you ever experienced loneliness?

June: I sometimes feel lonely at a function or social event as I’m not a party animal

Anne: Are the characters we see on Gogglebox genuine characters or is there a degree of acting involved?

June: What you see on screen is just how we are!

Wendy: What is it like living a celebrity life? What are the pros and cons?

Leon: Very enjoyable, I love every minute of it and enjoy the fact we make people happy

June: Amazing! At first it was very strange being recognised, but now we’ve become used to it. People are kind and warm and very friendly