Local charity Link Age Southwark’s ambassadors includes a host of actors who have come together to help lift the spirits of older people during lockdown.

Stars from television shows such as Downtown Abbey, Game of Thrones, Spooks, and Scott and Bailey, have recorded themselves at home reading a short story or a poem, which Link Age Southwark has turned into Lockdown Listens. Link Age Southwark has been issuing a recording each week with the aim of giving older people and local volunteers a morale boost during lockdown.

One of the actors  featured is Heather Bleasdale, who has starred in Coronation Street and in the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, reading the humorous short story Free White Towel.

The novelist and comedian Jenny Eclair recorded herself reading one of her short stories ‘Valerie Lashes Out’. As part of the recording, Jenny offers a message of hope, saying: “Look after yourselves. Let’s hope that very soon we’ll be over all this and we can get out and we can enjoy our friends in the sunshine and see people we haven’t seen for some time. ”

One service user fed back about a reading by Robert Glenister, star of the BBC series Spooks:

“I enjoyed hearing Robert Glenister read Wordsworth’s wonderful poem Upon Westminster Bridge”.

Link Age Southwark originally shared the actors’ recordings by email with their service users and volunteers, but based on feedback from older people they are now keen to share these morale-boosting recordings with the wider public.

Link Age Southwark’s Director, Sophie Wellings said: “We are very grateful to our celebrity Ambassadors and volunteers for taking the time to get involved with this project and are delighted with how well the Lockdown Listens series has been received.”

Link Age Southwark plan to incorporate the readings into materials for their Dementia reading group which has now moved online so even more people can take enjoyment from the series.

Link Age Southwark’s Lockdown Listens are now available for the public to listen to on their website


This article first appeared in the September issue of SE22.