From July 17th to 21st, The Archway Foundation is running an Oxford-wide campaign to de-stigmatise loneliness. As it stands, over 9 million people in the UK are often or always lonely. It is a serious and widespread problem which can gravely affect one’s wellbeing (studies have found that loneliness carries the same health risks as smoking fifteen cigarettes per day). Yet many people find it hard to admit that they are struggling with social isolation. For some, it is near impossible to discuss this issue openly, seek help, or reach out to others.
Archway’s campaign will therefore spread the word that anyone – no matter their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or background – can suffer from a lack of social contact. We will be broadcasting our message on posters and bus shelters across the city, as well as using the hashtag #letstalkloneliness to highlight the issue on social media. We will also host a quiz night for young adults (aged 18-35) at the Handlebar Café at 7:30pm on June 18th. Archway is particularly keen to connect with this age group, since a staggering 40% of young people report feeling lonely, yet they are often prevented from overcoming this problem due to an unwarranted sense of shame or embarrassment.
Our push to alleviate the stigma surrounding loneliness is timed to coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) – a nationwide campaign established by Bristol-based charity The Marmalade Trust. LAW was started in 2017 with the explicit aim of ‘creating a society where loneliness is recognised openly as something likely to affect us all’. Since then it has grown to encompass hundreds of organisations from across the UK, each one dedicated to combatting isolation and educating people on this silent epidemic.
If you would like to get involved with Archway, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 01865 790552. We are always looking for new volunteers or for people who would benefit from our services.