The Archway Foundation has continued to support people who are suffering from loneliness. CEO Sheila Furlong counts some of the achievements and successes of an extraordinary year.
‘At the start of 2020 none of us had any idea as to what lay in store.
I am mindful that for many people it has been a really tough year. Some have suffered ill health (physical and mental), others have been bereaved, lost jobs, or had reduced income. So many of us have missed seeing friends, going to our usual places for activity, worship, company or mutual support, be it at Archway and / or elsewhere.
I do not wish to minimize the impact of this but I do want to recognise what has been achieved in this time as Archway staff and volunteers have adapted to the changed circumstances and done everything possible to maintain connection and offer support.
Did you know that since the start of the first lockdown in March:6300 telephone support calls have been made
*17 issues of The Bright Side have been produced and sent to 394 people (280 of these by post)*
*250 packages of activities and treats have been posted to the Young Adults*
*75 volunteers have been trained (24 of them completely new to Archway) via Zoom)as telephone support volunteers*
*230 Christmas Goody Bags have been delivered by hand by volunteers and staff*
*70 Christmas Goody bags have been wrapped and posted*
Throughout this time the Trustee Board have worked closely with the staff team to keep the service under review and any changes made in line with Government guidance. Risk assessments, policies and practices have been regularly reviewed and updated in line with our changed way of working and this will continue in 2021.
Whilst it is very encouraging to know the vaccine programme is being rolled out, the situation will not instantly change in the New Year and it will be some months before the possibility of resuming face to face contact in groups can be considered. In the meantime Archway continues to keep connections through telephone, email and post. As always, we are indebted to our volunteers who have made calls, stuffed envelopes, wrapped parcels and delivered goody bags.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of Archway in reading this Newswire and taking an interest in our work. Some of you are regular and one off donors and your support is very valuable to us as like most charities, we face some financial challenges in the coming year. In keeping with Archway’s Christian Foundations some of you pray regularly for the work of Archway and we value your commitment in this
Wherever and however you are spending this Christmas and New Year may it be all that you need it to be.
With grateful thanks and warmest Christmas greetings.
Sheila Furlong (CEO, The Archway Foundation)
Recent news reports of higher levels of loneliness than ever.
According to the ONS, in the week up to 1 November there were 4.2 million adults across Britain who said they were ALWAYS or OFTEN LONELY – compared with 2.6 million in parts of the summer and before the pandemic. This means approximately 10,000 people in Oxfordshire . This includes people in your community.
We have responded with a Telephone Support Service, which is highly valued and effective at reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
You can make a huge difference to someone’s life, with the gift of a small amount of your time.
If you can spare a few hours a week, we’d love to hear from you: Call and leave a message on 01865 790552, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find more information and apply to become a volunteer here.
Work is underway on a brand new Archway website! With help from our digital trustee and support from the team at Blenheim, the new site will be ready to go live in September 2020. Watch this space!
Social distancing means Archway’s scheduled fund-raising events have been postponed so we need to think creatively about how to do fund-raising in a different way
Archway are delighted to share the news that on Tuesday 5th May ‘Giving Tuesday’ Jacqueline Cole, our office and finance administrator, and her family, (see below!) are running a half marathon relay (in their locality and on the treadmill) in aid of Archway.
The Cole family have set a modest fund-raising target of £500.
Let’s help them to exceed that amount by donating using the button below!
Click here to donate to the Cole Family Fundraising Page for Archway!
March and April 2020 has brought major challenges and changes for us all. Another way Archway has been able to adapt its services is the launch of a new newsletter ‘The Bright Side’. Promotions & Communications Coordinator Conrad tell us more:
“The first week of ‘lockdown’ felt like pulling a U-turn – we were all working out, individually and as a team, personally and professionally – how to adjust to a new way of doing things. Thankfully although only a small organisation, Archway has always been forward thinking about working flexibly so we were all used to and equipped for a degree of working from home.
“The immediate challenge was best to support and keep in contact with Archway Friends without the use of face-to-face services, and alongside the telephone support service, a regular newsletter seemed like a good way of letting Friends know that Archway know they’re there and are thinking of them.“
Our new fortnightly newsletter the ‘The Bright Side’ has two sides to it – the first being unequivocally and unapologetically good news! The mainstream media have ensured there’s no shortage of or escape from alarming stories, so we wanted to provide a reassuring, regular, reliable place for Friends to have one guaranteed moment in their week to enjoy views from the Royal Horticultural Society gardens or the local goings-on of our news-hound Charlie the Norfolk Terrier.
The simple experience of receiving a letter addressed to you (that isn’t a bill or junk mail) can make a big difference to someone’s day.
“The second side is a simple noticeboard with essential information and reminders about keeping healthy, staying in touch, useful numbers etc and are starting to receive more ideas and contributions from Friends.
While things are still very uncertain for the foreseeable future, ‘a little goes a long way’ still stands true for loneliness and it’s good to be part of a team doing everything they can to improve life for people who are struggling on their own.”
Conrad (Promotions & Communications Coordinator)
Calling all knitters! Archway’s Susan Scott has come up with a great project to create something by and for Friends, Volunteers & Staff while we’re at home – an Archway Community Blanket! Instructions below:
- Cast on to size 6 needles, using double knitting wool, 30 stitches. This should make a square of roughly 8 inches.
- Measure across and knit down until the same measurement (knit a row, purl a row). Any colours or stitch (eg Stocking stitch) will do!
- Collect your squares and keep to be washed – Archway will organise a collection at a later date.
We hope to be able to show the blanket at social groups once they’ve reopened and possibly auction it at a later date. We’ll keep you posted!
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has launched its major inquiry to explore what needs to happen next to tackle loneliness across the UK:
“The response to and impact of COVID-19 will mean many of us will be required to self-isolate with a more pronounced risk for those already experiencing isolation and loneliness becoming even more vulnerable during this time of crisis. Launching an inquiry now on this critical issue is more important than ever before. In the long term, once the pandemic has peaked, sadly loneliness will continue to be a challenge for many people across our society.
We have opened a consultation, which will form the basis of the inquiry for the rest of the year. It explores problems and solutions within four crucial policy areas, as identified by the Loneliness Action Group quarterly meetings and in our shadow progress report including:
- Designing and implementing ways to test the implications of government policies on loneliness
- Translating national policy into local action through local authorities
- Community infrastructure (including housing, transport and public spaces)
- How to adequately fund the voluntary and community sector upon which social prescribing depends
Please note that the consultation is due to close on Thursday 30 April at 11:59PM (though in light of COVID-19, the deadline may be extended).”
If you are interested in contributing to this enquiry please click the link below or if you have any queries contact RasteenBoni@redcross.org.uk.”
Radio 4 have been presenting a poem in their daily Today programme. Each presenter takes it in turn to select and read a poem. The poem below was chosen as it was remembered as bringing comfort to its reader at a time when as a teenager, she lost her father who died after a long illness.
We have received the following update from Health Improvement Officer Sally Culmner from the Oxfordshire Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention team:
“In light of the current pandemic, we have taken the decision to publish the Oxfordshire SSH Prevention Strategy without any PR or comms to support it at this stage. The strategy, along with an executive summary, will sit on the public facing Oxfordshire County Council webpages.”
The Oxfordshire SSH Prevention Strategy documents – in summary and in full – can be opened/downloaded below, or, with further information, from the following link: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/social-and-health-care/health-recovery-and-wellbeing/mental-wellbeing