Family of Volunteers tackle loneliness with Archway

How often do you feel lonely? A study by the British Red Cross and The Co-Op reported that 9 million adults in the UK often or always feel lonely – a number greater than the population of London.

Archway creates communities – and one family in particular has come together for the cause. Sam (pictured) is a Befriender, her dad Graham is a Driver, and her husband Harry has fundraised.

A personal experience prompted Sam to volunteer. “I was in hospital for 7 weeks and I was on wards with patients who had no or very few visitors. When my family visited, we’d end up chatting with other patients, and it was obvious the difference it made,” she says. She then started looking to volunteer to combat loneliness, and found Archway.

Sam became a Befriender. “I have built a great relationship with the woman I go and see on a fortnightly basis, and I think (and hope!) we’d both agree that it now feels far more like a friendship than a ‘volunteering arrangement. I also attend the Monday night social events.”

Sam prompted her dad Graham to get involved too. “Sam asked me if I would be interested in becoming a Driver for Archway, as they always struggle with getting enough,” Graham says. He gives Friends lifts to evening social events. “The thing I enjoy most is talking to my regular friends that I pick up… If you start the evening off positively with just a general chat it sets the mood for a good evening for all.”

Harry, Sam’s husband, is another strong supporter: he ran an amazing 100 kilometres to raise funds for Archway. “Shortly after I entered the race, my family and friends suggested I raise money for charity,” he says. Archway was a natural choice. “Through Sam and Graham I had seen the incredible work that the Archway Foundation do.”

Why should someone volunteer for Archway? “Never once have I not been happy that I went to Archway,” Sam says. “To know that you’ve had maybe the only conversation that someone’s had that day, or that someone is excited to update you about their week – it’s a wonderful feeling, and makes you feel good too.”

She continues, “Archway doesn’t need a huge time commitment from its volunteers, so whether you commit to the social groups, 1:1 befriending or driving, it’s easy to fit this around what you do. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Graham adds: “Don’t ask why should I – ask why shouldn’t I.”

To get involved go to, https://archwayfoundation.org.uk/volunteer/ or phone 01865 790552. 

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