George runs the Oxford Half Marathon to raise funds for Archway Christmas Deliveries

On Sunday 17th October, George Davies-Craine is running the Oxford Half Marathon to raise funds towards Archway’s Christmas parcels for people in Oxford who are suffering with loneliness.

Everyone at Archway would like to wish George all the best for the run – all donations are welcome at the link below:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GeorgeDaviesCraine

Fundraising Trustee

The Archway Foundation has been in Oxford for nearly 40 years, serving people hurt by loneliness.

We currently have an opening for a Fundraising Trustee, to perform the duties of a Trustee of the Archway foundation and assist the Board of Trustees to develop a new approach to fundraising and/or income generation.

Please read the full description below and to find out more you can contact us at office@archwayfoundation.org.uk or by leaving a message on 01865 790552.

Download Fundraising Trustee info PDF

An Update on our Services

WHAT IS ARCHWAY DOING NOW?

Because of the high infection rates in Oxford and advice from the Government to exercise caution we are keeping connected through:

  • Telephone Support Service, with staff and volunteers making regular calls to adults of all ages who are lonely and /or isolated. Offering a listening ear, emotional support and where needed support in accessing other forms of help.
  • The circulation (by email and post) of The Bright Side newsletter to which readers can contribute stories, photos, poems etc. Colourful pictures, quizzes, word searches and instructions for creative projects provide interesting material to read and things to do and a section on Covid updates and helpline numbers gives useful information, especially as the majority of recipients are not digitally connected.
  • Our Individual Support Service within which, some of our existing links are meeting up outside. Individual risk assessments are undertaken to inform decisions about meeting up outside/in cafes/indoors.

GOING FORWARD

Supporting Friends (Service users) in the best possible way is uppermost in our minds, and doing this safely is our highest priority. Over the past 14 months, a planning group consisting of senior staff members and representatives from the board of trustees has met regularly.  The group has monitored the progress of the pandemic, and assessed how our service of telephone support is engaging with people to ensure that the work of Archway carries on. Trustees wish to acknowledge how hard staff and volunteers have worked to ensure that we have maintained contact with as many Friends as possible. Whilst our service provision has changed, we have remained in business and have much to be grateful for.

The transition period from the release of government-imposed COVID restrictions on 21 June to the end of the year will be important. Even with some encouraging news reports, it is difficult to fully assess how these six months will unfold with regard to any continuing or new government restrictions, possible emerging variants of the virus and a potential return to higher infection levels.

Because of the uncertainty that is still in place, we are not yet in a position to resume our social groups as they operated before the pandemic. Whilst we recognise that many people are longing to meet as before, we are not yet able to identify which premises might be open and are Covid secure, how many volunteers and staff would be available, and how many Friends might wish to attend.  We are constantly monitoring these factors.

The pandemic has presented many challenges, but has also offered an opportunity to look afresh at how we support people. Archway’s focus continues to be connection with any who are experiencing loneliness or isolation. We recognise the importance of meeting together, but safety is our primary concern. As government guidelines unfold, the planning group will continue to look at ways to gradually and safely increase the programme of social contacts that we provide. This applies to the Individual Support Service and any possible social groups.

Raj Runs 50km For Archway – Saturday 10th July

After months of grueling training, Raj Patel is running an incredible *50km*(!!) round the Ex Estuary on Saturday 10th July to raise funds for Archway’s work in supporting people suffering from loneliness.

Raj says: ‘I am training to become a GP in Oxford, and doing my first ultramarathon on behalf of The Archway Foundation. It is a 50km(!) run along the Exe Estuary in Devon, on the 10th of July 2021. Of the many terrible consequences of the pandemic, this last year has emphasised the importance of providing support to individuals suffering from loneliness and social isolation.’

Archway would like to say a huge thank you to Raj for going above and beyond to raise funds and awareness for people suffering from loneliness. You can see Raj’s progress, and make a donation, at his fundraising page below:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/…/showROFundraiserPage…

Archway Foundation CEO Sheila Furlong awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Sheila has been involved in the Oxfordshire charity from its early beginnings in 1982. Helping to draw up its vision and scope, first as volunteer and now for over 20 years as CEO, her guidance and inspiration have lifted thousands of people in the Oxfordshire area from the despair of chronic loneliness.

Chair of the Trustees, Chris Taft says ‘Ahead of the current awareness of the impact of loneliness, Sheila has long recognised how for some individuals it is almost impossible to regain social interaction after trauma or personal difficulties. Her work has transformed the lives of individuals and the general perceptions of loneliness in Oxford and the surrounding area. Her commitment to improving the lives of those suffering extreme loneliness extends far beyond the expectation of her role as CEO.’

Archway’s service users are known as Friends rather than clients or customers. Sheila brought this change into being after consultations with the volunteers and users on how to make the service more inclusive, reflecting the emphasis and ethos that she has nurtured.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began Archway has been fully operational even as social groups have been prevented from meeting. Archway has implemented telephone support of over 180 Friends through staff and volunteers, and a creative approach has ensured that the service has continued.

The Foundation is delighted that Sheila has received this recognition. Sheila’s commitment has made a massive contribution to the alleviation of loneliness for many years. Her impact and inspiration in bringing the problems of loneliness to a wider context has been ahead of its time and as a result Sheila is recognised locally for her expertise and experience in this field. Sheila says:

‘While it is a surprise and an honour to receive this award, I am just one person in a small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers whose commitment, care and dedication ensure that Archway continues to reach, listen, understand and connect with adults of all ages struggling with loneliness and its associated mental and physical challenges. It continues to be a privilege to be a part of this work in bringing relief, acceptance, hope and opportunities for supportive human contact and meaningful connection.’

This award is greatly welcomed as the charity marks its 40th anniversary in 2022.

An Update on our Services

WHAT IS ARCHWAY DOING NOW?

We are providing a Telephone Support Service, with staff and volunteers making regular calls to adults of all ages who are lonely and /or isolated. Offering a listening ear, emotional support and where needed support in accessing other forms of help.

We are keeping connected through the circulation (by email and post) of The Bright Side newsletter to which readers can contribute stories, photos, poems etc. Colourful pictures, quizzes, word searches and instructions for creative projects provide interesting material to read and things to do and a section on Covid updates and helpline numbers gives useful information, especially as the majority of recipients are not digitally connected.

Our Individual Support Service, continues to provide telephone support for those with existing links within this service and as restrictions ease, individual risk assessments are undertake to inform decisions about meeting up outside/in cafes/indoors.

GOING FORWARD

Supporting Friends (Service users) in the best possible way is uppermost in our minds, and doing this safely is our highest priority. Over the past 14 months, a planning group consisting of senior staff members and representatives from the board of trustees has met regularly.  The group has monitored the progress of the pandemic, and assessed how our service of telephone support is engaging with people to ensure that the work of Archway carries on. Trustees wish to acknowledge how hard staff and volunteers have worked to ensure that we have maintained contact with as many Friends as possible. Whilst our service provision has changed, we have remained in business and have much to be grateful for.

The transition period from the release of government-imposed COVID restrictions on 21 June to the end of the year will be important. Even with some encouraging news reports, it is difficult to fully assess how these six months will unfold with regard to any continuing or new government restrictions, possible emerging variants of the virus and a potential return to higher infection levels.

Because of the uncertainty that is still in place, we are not yet in a position to resume our social groups as they operated before the pandemic. Whilst we recognise that many people are longing to meet as before, we are not yet able to identify which premises might be open and are Covid secure, how many volunteers and staff would be available, and how many Friends might wish to attend.  We are constantly monitoring these factors.

The pandemic has presented many challenges, but has also offered an opportunity to look afresh at how we support people. Archway’s focus continues to be connection with any who are experiencing loneliness or isolation. We recognise the importance of meeting together, but safety is our primary concern. As government guidelines unfold, the planning group will continue to look at ways to gradually and safely increase the programme of social contacts that we provide. This applies to the Individual Support Service and any possible social groups.

The Archway Storytelling Project

Archway has been supporting people throughout the pandemic.

We wanted to hear from people what difference that support has made in their lives and to learn about what being involved with Archway has meant to people. 

In order to do this, we set up a storytelling project and listened to the voices of Archway Friends by collecting their stories of this time.  The report of what we heard and found is here for you to read.

Exe Estuary Run July 2021

We’re very pleased to announce a forthcoming fundraiser for Archway for Spring/Summer 2021 by former Monday Volunteer Raj Patel who is going to extraordinary length to raise funds for our work in helping people suffering from loneliness:

‘My name is Raj, I am training to become a GP in Oxford, and doing my first ultramarathon on behalf of The Archway Foundation. It is a 50km(!) run along the Exe Estuary in Devon, on the 10th of July 2021.

Of the many terrible consequences of the pandemic, this last year has emphasised the importance of providing support to individuals suffering from loneliness and social isolation.’

Click here to sponsor Raj’s 50K Exe Estuary Run for Archway

Craft Bomb Project

Come down to your local park to spot bright, handmade decorations weaving throughout the trees and perched along benches. This surprise decoration-fest is a craft bomb to help combat loneliness. Loneliness has been rife throughout the pandemic, and here at the Archway Foundation we truly believe even one lonely person is one too many. We have been featured by a local crafting group to help spread our charity’s ethos, and we’re here to tell you all about it.

So, what is a craft bomb?

A craft bomb entails random, unannounced decorating of public spaces, usually for a cause. The Oxford craft bomb initiative has come about in order to share local charity information across Oxford; all in the name of one thing. To help combat loneliness across Oxford.

Up until the 12th of April three Oxford locations have been decorated with knitted animals and bunting, with attached tags featuring the Archway Foundation. The three parks are University Park, Abbey Meadows (Abingdon,) and Florence Park. The handmade features perch along the park to catch eyes of passers-by, spread some smiles, and allow people to check out the tags with loneliness resource information.

Loneliness in our current times:

5% of people in Great Britain (2.6 million adults) reported feeling lonely “often” or “always” in Spring 2020. Loneliness continues to soar to alarming heights throughout stay-at-home orders – as an increasingly prominent issue, we have endeavoured to be part of the movement to combat this. We’re supporting this craft bomb in order to shed some immediate happiness, and to let even more people know that we are here for them. Our charity is available for Oxford locals suffering with loneliness, needing someone to talk to, or needing friend. We strive to make sure nobody struggles alone. 

Drop by and help share the love

The craft bomb has been set up by a local https://www.drunkenknitwits.com Oxford knitting group and sponsored by a https://designbundles.net/ You can come on down to one of your local parks and spot the decorations up until the 12th of April. You can also share your discoveries via the hashtag #dbsharethelove

Archway’s Storytelling Project

Archway has been running a storytelling project to collect stories from people who have been supported by us during the pandemic.

We wanted to hear from people, in their own words, what the experience of Archway has been like during this difficult time.

We gathered stories that, anonymised and with people’s consent, we can now share and use to support funding applications, Volunteer recruitment, training and the general promotion of Archway’s work.

Here are a few extracts from the stories….

‘It Has Been A Lifeline’ – An Archway Story

‘I’ve been going to Archway fourteen years, a long time.  Now they phone once a fortnight or once a week to see if everything’s all right.  Judith used to phone and now Barbara phones.  Brenda (senior staff member) phoned the other week because they couldn’t get hold of me and they thought there might be something wrong.  She said ‘they have been trying to contact you and they haven’t had no response so they passed it back over to me to see if you are all right.’  I said, ‘I’m fine.’  She said, ‘as long as you are all right they don’t mind but they were getting quite worried’ she said, which is fair enough, and then I said to her, ‘we got an uncle that’s in the Churchill with cancer, that’s what the problem is.’  She said, ‘I’m ever so sorry, as long as you and your brother are all right.’ ‘He’s fine’, I said ‘and I’m fine’ and I said ‘thank you for phoning’.  She said, ‘no, that’s our job to phone you.’

It’s like in May, I lost my mum in May.  I got in touch with Archway because I went a bit funny about it and said, ‘how am I going to manage now without my mum and dad?’ and they said, ‘You will still manage with your brother who’s there with you’ and I said, ‘yes.’  She said, ‘if you’ve got any difficulties or anything get in touch with Archway and they’ll contact you’ and Judith phoned the next day.  They’ve been really good Archway, they phone and see if I’m all right and have I got enough food and things.

It’s been a long time this (lockdown), I haven’t been out for a long time.  I’m getting really fed up with it now.  I’m used to going out, that’s what the problem is.  I just can’t go out cos I’m vulnerable at the moment the doctor said, in case I have a fall or anything.  I’ve already had a fall about a month ago in here so I’ve got to be really careful but I just told Brenda, it will be nice when I can go back to Archway (social group) and see all my friends.  She said, ‘we understand and we’d love to see you when you can come back, but I can understand what you mean, it is a long time.’

The calls have been reassuring.  They’ve been really nice, they’ve rung each week and they’ve really talked to me.  It’s like Barbara rung last week and she was on the phone for about forty minutes I should think, or even longer than that.  She said, ‘I don’t mind spending the time speaking to you.’  I said, ‘they’ve all been nice at Archway’ and she said, ‘You’re a nice person at the end of the day.’

They send all leaflets through once a month about whatever they’re doing, and if it’s anybody’s birthday they wish them ‘Happy Birthday.’  And then they rung me in September and wishes me a happy birthday.  But it’s not the same as really meeting the friends like at Archway.  I used to go to Archway each week on a Monday.  They used to pick me up in the car and take me there and bring me back and I used to think it was ever so nice.  It’s all stopped at the moment because of the virus.  I used to be able to go and visit my friends but now I can’t so it’s all come hard really.

I only see my brother at the moment cos he lives with me cos he’s my carer.  Archway calls have made a lot of difference because you just can’t go out and mix with people.  You can’t go to the shops and have a cup of tea, can you, or a piece of cake or a biscuit or sandwiches or can’t go to town, can you, or Cowley centre or Headington.’

‘I used to love going out. The first time you thought it wouldn’t go on so long (lockdown), now they’ve sent a second lot so it’s come harder now because you can’t go anywhere.  If Archway hadn’t been in touch, it wouldn’t have been very good at all cos I wouldn’t have been in touch with nobody.  You’ve got nobody else. My family has been in touch and asked me if I’m all right and things but it’s not the same as speaking to my friends.

I made a nice friend at Archway.  He lives completely on his own.  He rings me a couple of times a day because he lives on his own.  I used to go to his flat and have a cup of tea with him.  Now, I can’t go to his flat.

I’ve enjoyed people phoning from Archway.  I’ve enjoyed it each week.  It’s helped me with the rest of the week cos it’s somebody different to talk to.  Not being funny towards my brother but you don’t know what to keep saying to him do you?  If it’s somebody different, you know what to say to them.    It has been a lifeline.  It’s made a lot of difference really because I don’t have nobody else to talk to only my ordinary friends.  I don’t really know anybody else, only the people really from Archway. 

If you can’t get out it’s more hard.  I tell people I’m in prison.  Well, it’s not like prison really, it’s just a house.  It’s just not mixing.  It’s just mixing with people like people from Archway and going out really that I miss.’

‘Something To Look Forward To’ – An Archway Story

‘During the Covid-19 pandemic, Archway has been very supporting to me by a weekly phone call from one of their many volunteers, ensuring that I stay well.  The weekly conversations generally last up to three-quarters of an hour and I always look forward to these calls. I also receive The Bright Side newssheet, which keeps me in touch with the folk at Archway.  The newssheet arrives by post once a fortnight with a word search, quizzes etc. to pass the time and always has useful phone numbers in case I need help.  Until present I have not needed to use the numbers but it’s nice to know that there is help out there for me.  I often think of the many folk I have met at the weekly social evenings before Covid-19 and hope to meet with everyone in the near future.  The support which Archway provides is second to none.  There’s always a welcome at Archway.

I’ve also wrote the odd poem and they published it in The Bright Side for the rest of the lonely people to read and I quite appreciate that.  I’ve become a poet thanks to the Co-ordinator at Abingdon.  It was her that got me to write my first poem.  I’ve carried on writing a few poems but I’m mainly a storyteller.

I write short stories a lot.  When I go back to Archway, to meet people again, they shall be entertained by some of my short stories.  They are stories that start off and get people interested, but I always end up where it makes people laugh.

Keeping in touch keeps me up to date.  I’m up to date with what’s going on.  It’s nice that Archway can take the trouble to contact all of their members.  If there wasn’t Archway I’d probably be making more visits to see me doctor, because of the loneliness.  I mean I can always pick up one of their quizzes or the word search and pass the time on one of those, cos I don’t always do them you see because I tend to watch a lot of television lately.

I think they’ve done enormous, they’ve been enormous for help.  They give help to other members, lonely people, they give help to those as well.  It’s not just me.  And it’s the way they do it.  It’s a nice approach, it’s a very good approach. 

Also, Sally rings me up once a week on a Wednesday.  We have very interesting conversations, talking about things in general and that.

It’s nice that they can spare the time to phone me.  I mean because the person who speaks to me, she does work, she does go out to work… and it’s nice, you know, that she can find the time to speak to me over the phone cos it generally lasts three-quarters of an hour.  It’s the conversation with people that makes the difference.  I’m one of those that likes to meet people to have a chat with.  I mean when I go into town for shopping or for a walk out, I generally see people and have a chat with them, but with the lockdown, whenever I go into town there’s not many people about and I am one that likes company.

Phone calls and The Bright Side are something to look forward to and looking forward to things, it’s like when I’ve booked a holiday.  The best part of the holiday is the build up to looking forward to a good holiday.’

‘We Have Not Been Neglected At All’ – An Archway Story

‘I was thinking back and I think I’ve been going to Wednesday Welcome (Archway social group) sometime 2017, perhaps earlier. It’s such a caring and supportive place to go, that’s why it’s so wonderful to go there and be part of the group. Obviously, with the Covid, sadly the group was unable to continue. I am so much missing it as I live on my own. I feel loneliness all the time and I’m sure I’m not alone with other Archway members experiencing the same.  Because it was really the only thing I had in my life, which might sound a bit…. Well I have a very close friend but she suffers with bipolar so she’s never very well normally and of course we can’t meet anyway.  And family wise, I just have a twin sister really who’s very… she can be caring but sometimes she can’t.  She can be very, er, bossy (laughs).

In the now, I have been very suicidal and I have to rely on the Samaritans to keep me alive basically.  And so it’s been awful actually. I’m waiting for a hip replacement and I have degenerative sclerosis of the spine which means having an operation and as they can’t guarantee any success rate I won’t have it done.  I don’t want to risk being in a wheelchair sooner than I have to be and I did have some good news because there is another operation I’m waiting for and I just had a phone call from the JR (hospital) to say they have a cancellation and they have an appointment for me. 

My hip means that I’ve constantly got pain. I struggle doing things around the flat.  I’ve always kept the flat nice and clean and tidy but it’s a tip and I find that hard to cope with, but no, it’s quite restrictive it really is and I can get quite upset about it when I see people just walking or running or just doing things that I was always able to do.  No more running for a bus, not unless I put my stick out and try and wave it down.

The house I live in is divided into two flats and a young family lives above me.  It’s constant noise until they go to bed at night and I find that very stressful.  I don’t find there is any peace, I don’t have any peace.

Archway is such a wonderful place, it really is and I think me being in the situation I’m in at the moment physically and mentally, it’s a great loss to me not being able to go.

Lisa does ring me and so does Janet [staff members].  The Samaritans are really lovely.  They are a listening ear and they don’t, you know, condemn or say anything, make judgements and they’re an incredible organisation, they really are.  It’s nice when Janet phones.  It’s just nice to be able to talk about how you feel.  You wouldn’t believe the Samaritans, and Archway in particular, because I’m not always low, I have my ups and downs.  I think just going to Archway (to a pre-pandemic social group), even if you just sit there.  I mean you don’t just sit there because people talk to you and that’s what’s so lovely about it.  You are never left sitting on your own, it’s marvellous, it really is.’

‘I have to say Archway, despite all that’s going on with the virus and everything, they are doing their utmost to keep in contact with members.  The staff and volunteers are still working hard, and we have not been neglected at all despite all what’s going on and I appreciate it so much.’

And to receive the fortnightly newsletter, The Bright Side, makes you feel good.  I always look forward to receiving it.  Although we can’t actually meet up, it’s just the weekly phone call is another thing.  I mean I feel so privileged to have that and I mean I can’t find the right words to express.  It’s the only place, organisation or whatever you want to call it, that I’ve gone to and – usually if I haven’t been somewhere, say for two or three weeks, and because I suffer with depression and anxiety, I probably wouldn’t go back – but I never get that feeling at Archway because they are always so pleased to see you again and they are so caring.  I’ve never known anything like it before.’