News and events

Drive for Drivers

Archway runs a range of social groups, giving isolated people somewhere to go out, get together, take part in activities, enjoy entertainment, celebrate birthdays and special occasions, and meet Friends, volunteers, staff alike. However, many people would find it difficult if not impossible to get were it not for help with transport to get these groups.

This Autumn/Winter, we’re doing a drive to recruit new volunteer drivers – to give someone a lift to and from a weekly social group. Volunteer drivers are welcome to attend the social group as convenient, and free parking and mileage are available.

We are looking for people who:

  • Live in the Oxford Area
  • Have car and driving licence
  • Can spare an hour or two every week to give someone a lift to & from a social group

Even if you don’t drive, you can still help!

We want to share our call-out ‘Drive for Drivers’ as widely as possible. If you’re able to put an A4 poster up in your local church, doctor’s surgery, workplace or community centre – please give us a call or drop a line and we can post/email some information to share:

01865 790552 / conrad@archwayfoundation.org.uk

You can also find and share our posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – and look out for our campaign on Oxford City and Park & Ride bus screens – and take a snap if you see one!

Archway’s ‘Perceptions of Loneliness’ Event – Review

On July 8th Archway hosted a panel discussion at Oxford Town Hall, featuring philosopher Julian Baggini and historian Fay Bound Alberti. These influential writers came together to discuss perceptions of loneliness, past and present. They asked how our view of loneliness has changed over the last century, and why it has become such a pressing issue in the modern world.

With almost 150 people in attendance, the level of public interest in this issue was undeniable. Alberti kicked off the evening by pointing out that loneliness, as we currently perceive it, did not exist before the nineteenth century. For her, it is a distinctly modern phenomenon created by the rise of capitalism and the breakup of communities. Therefore, she argued, it should not be understood as a personal problem, but as a societal one which we have a shared responsibility to combat. She drew on recent research which suggests that loneliness can be alleviated by focusing on the body as well as the mind. Activities like cooking, massage, painting and object handling have been shown to improve loneliness in people of all ages. As such, Alberti claimed that viewing loneliness as a mental health problem ignores this physical dimension.

Baggini spoke next, posing an interesting question about the stigmatisation of loneliness: if contemporary society is constantly telling us to be individualistic, self-reliant and self-interested, then why does it portray solitude as a terrible affliction? Everyone is supposed to be ‘out for themselves’, yet being alone is somehow seen as shameful or embarrassing. Baggini went on to highlight the difference between loneliness and social isolation: the former is an unwanted and distressing type of solitude, while the latter can be perfectly normal and benign. By confusing the two, he said, we are in danger of telling people who enjoying being on their own that there is something wrong with them. Baggini concluded his talk by warning against the medicalisation of loneliness. We are often tempted, he said, to ‘diagnose’ loneliness and find a ‘cure’, but perhaps this clinical language is not suited to such problems, and we must develop a different, more creative way of speaking about them.

After the speakers gave their presentations, Archway patron Lindsay Mackie chaired a lively audience discussion where many other issues – such as the impact of social media and the role of community organisations – were raised. In the end, Archway staff were able to speak to many members of the public about our work, but we were also able to mutually reflect upon the nature of loneliness, and appreciate its complexity as a social, physical, political and psychological problem.

You can follow the speakers and chair of this event, on Twitter:

‘Living A New Life’ – Dementia Video by Des O’Sullivan

Archway is supported in no small way with the help of the Food Bank who drop by the offices every week to help top up our supplies of tea, cake, biscuits and snacks for use at our social groups.

When one of the key Food Bank staff, Des O’Sullivan, told us that he’d made a short film about how he and his family have learned and grown from his dementia diagnosis, we were only to happy to share his story.

Click here to watch the short film about Des’s story.

Perceptions of Loneliness Event: Monday 8th July 7pm

To book your ticket (admission free) click here.

On July 8th, The Archway Foundation is bringing together two renowned experts to discuss the issue of loneliness in modern society: what is it, how is it perceived, and how do we alleviate it?

Julian Baggini, one of Britain’s best-known philosophers, will consider the stigma attached to being solitary. He will question whether our view of loneliness – often coloured by shame and embarrassment – has eclipsed the positive aspects of being on one’s own: its potential to enrich the inner life, unlock creative energies, and open a space for reflection. While there is no doubt that loneliness is painful, Baggini will ask whether we should aim to eradicate it entirely, or whether our approach to isolation must involve more compassion and acceptance.

Joining him in conversation is Dr Fay Bound Alberti, author of A Biography of Loneliness and historian at the University of York. Alberti will argue that loneliness is a historically recent phenomenon which only came into existence during the 19th century. Before then, being alone did not carry the same sense of emotional hardship – a situation which began to change with the rise of individualism and the breakdown of social communities. In deciding how to combat loneliness, Alberti will claim that it is a tangible, physical experience, and that we must deal with its effect on the body as well as the mind.

The event will be chaired by Lindsay Mackie, Guardian journalist and partner at The New Weather Institute. It will take place in Oxford Town Hall at 7:00pm. Admission is free and all are welcome!

Archway’s Campaign to De-stigmatise Loneliness

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 office@archwayfoundation.org.uk, or call us on 01865 790552. We are always looking for new volunteers or for people who would benefit from our services.

Volunteers’ Week 2019

It’s no secret that one of Archway’s main sources of support is our amazing team of volunteers. From serving and socialising at our social groups, driving, providing individual support, to contributing to promotional and fundraising events – we simply couldn’t tackle loneliness on this scale without them.

As we celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2019, we’d like to take this opportunity say a sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers for their time, talent, generosity and expertise.

We’re always looking for people who can spare an hour or two a week in helping to serve those suffering from loneliness – if you, or anyone you know would like to find out more about getting involved, please get in touch at: 01865 790522 / office@archwayfoundation.org.uk – or via our Volunteering page – We’d love to hear from you! 🙂

PART TIME CO-ORDINATOR role for ARCHWAY in ABINGDON (10hrs a week).

If you have a heart for social concern, are available on Fridays, understand the impact of loneliness on mental and physical ill health, are well organised and have experience of managing volunteers, then we would love to hear from you.

Click below for:

Abingdon Coordinator Job description and Person Spec

Job Application Form

Email office@archwayfoundation.org.uk or Tel 01865 790552.

Closing date 9th June 2019 Interviews 14th June 2019.