News and events

Incredible Success of 24 hour Fundraising Challenge

An amazing team of Blenheim Palace staff, their families and members of the local community took on an incredible challenge to travel 3,502 land miles on exercise bikes, pedal bikes and on foot in 24 hours but achieved an incredible 4,105.62 miles. 250 people took part including local fire brigades. The challenge was to achieve the same number of nautical miles that Lord George Blandford and the Oar Inspiring Team rowed the Atlantic in 2018.

The funds raised more than doubled the initial target, raising an impressive £12.5K for The Archway Foundation and for Starlight Foundation. A special thanks to Jo Young of Blenheim who organised the event and was one of team who stayed up all night making sure that everyone was fed and watered and well looked after.  Thank you Blenheim – what an uplifting and inspiring team.


Singalong Songs – Jazz musician gets us singing at Archway’s Social

Ewan Bleach, professional jazz musician came to The Archway Foundation’s Monday Evening Social this month – our regular group for people feeling lonely or isolated. He beautifully performed well known song such as “we’re singing in the rain” and “Moon River” people joined in and a couple even got up to sing accompanied by Ewan on the piano.  A wonderful, joyful evening.

Join Walk to Tackle Loneliness – at Blenheim Palace Park

The Archway Foundation supports people experiencing loneliness and social isolation. Archway’s Trustee Sue Fulford invites you to join our dedicated team on a walk to raise funds to tackle loneliness:

Archway is Blenheim’s Charity Of The Year; join a sponsored walk around the grounds

Do you enjoy walking? If so then why not join a group of walkers from Archway on Saturday 27 April?  Enjoy a walk in beautiful surroundings in the company of fellow Archway volunteers and supporters – and raise funds for Archway at the same time. We will be walking around the park at Blenheim Palace, thanks to an arrangement as their Charity of the Year. One lap is 4.6 miles, two would be 9.2 miles, three would be …. you can do the maths! The whole lap can be walked on a paved route and so is easy underfoot.

Please meet inside Blenheim Palace at the Pleasure Gardens, by 10.30 am. There is parking there, and loos. You will need an entry permit which will be emailed to you the week before. The bus from Oxford stops right outside the Palace too but allow time to walk to the Pleasure Gardens, about 15 minutes. We will aim to walk as a group and hopefully finish one lap by lunchtime. Bring your own picnic or enjoy the delights of the Oxfordshire Pantry café. Those who are up for a second lap can then head off again.

If this appeals please email to register your interest and we will be in touch again later on with a permit.

This is a sponsored event and so we encourage you to ask your family, friends, colleagues to sponsor you. Instead of each walker raising individual sponsorship, why not ask for sponsorship for the whole group? Sponsor the group via this link 

Hope to see you then!

What is Hygge? – from the Happiness Research Institute Copenhagen

Laura Veitch – Archway’s Communications Coordinator talks about The Archway Foundation and “the flip side of loneliness”:

Archway is a charity that “serves those hurt by loneliness” but in fact at Archway we spend so much of our energies focusing on the flip side of loneliness, that is togetherness, connections, warmth, friendship and comfort. When I was recently given as a birthday present “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute Copenhagen, I flicked through the pages and it struck me that hygge is in a way, the essence of Archway – a charity supporting people experiencing loneliness.

So what is hygge? The author Meik describes this Danish word as “An atmosphere and an experience… about being with the people we love. A feeling that we are safe and shielded from the world.” He describes hygge as a way of being social without being socially draining and so therefore it is ideal for introverts. Think the opposite of a fast-paced and instrumental business networking event. Hygge is somewhere between socialising and relaxing in smallish manageable groups – you don’t have to talk with others but you are still together. 

Results from the Happiness Research Institute suggests that we should consider the success of a society as being not just about high standards of living (GDP), but about about “quality of life” – “what makes life worthwhile”. This is why journalists from around the world approach the Institute in Copenhagen (the capital of the happiest country in the world) for insights in to the secrets of happiness. The Institute have found (perhaps unsurprisingly!) that “The factor that has the biggest effect on our happiness is social support – do people have someone they can rely on in times of need – yes or no?” Of course the answer for many who approach our charity Archway for support is “no.”

 As though reinforcing Archway’s mission as a charity, Meik writes how research “shows that when individuals experience social isolation, many of the same regions of the brain become active that are active in the experience of physical pain” in short loneliness really is painful. According to the Happiness Research Institute relationships cause happiness and happiness causes relationships. Therefore Meik hypothesises that hygge is a way of planning happiness and preserving memories of happiness, and this can be put in to practice every day. Along with Denmark’s strong welfare state, Meik argues that hygge is one of the secrets to the happiness of the Danes. 

Some of the many hygge suggestions that Meik makes are; planning regular activities with friends and family (weekly, monthly, annually) such as board game evenings, film nights; cook together, create a warm, cosy and relaxed atmosphere with low lighting, have warm drinks, be ‘in the moment’ give everyone the space to talk, don’t brag or get caught up with politics and importantly… eat cake!

Well Meik could just as easily be describing an Archway social event. These events are places where people can come to meet new people and form friendships. Archway’s Monday Evening, Wednesday Welcome and Abingdon Social every other Friday afternoon provides just that! tea & cake, board games, papers, warmth and friendliness – you can sit and chat or just ‘be’ amongst others in a safe and supportive space. Our New Social Space for young adults opens up this warmth and friendliness to a new generation in the perfectly ‘hygge’ Handlebar Cafe & Kitchen in Oxford every other Tuesday. So let’s not forget the pain of loneliness which motivates us, but let’s move towards connections and friendship, the light that draws people in when they feel lonely.



Inspired? You can donate to The Archway Foundation here

Or you can apply to volunteer here

Volunteering Connects Us: Polly’s Story

I would recommend volunteering at Archway as it is a very simple way to make a real difference to someone’s life for an incredibly small input with not too much training. 

Archway volunteer Polly tells us us what inspires her about volunteering for The Archway Foundation –  supporting people experiencing loneliness:

“I think that loneliness is one of the saddest problems in our society today and one that should be easy to resolve. Archway gave me the opportunity to help do this.

I like the simplicity of Archway’s approach. Both the social events and the befriending service give people simple human contact – someone to talk to. The sad reality is that this can be the only real social contact that many of these people have and it gives them something to look forward to. It can also help to resolve people’s issues – sometimes things that seem so difficult for a person can actually be resolved very easily – or with a little more help.

I like the non-discriminatory approach. Everyone is welcome.

I like the fact the basic befriending service is not too demanding. I am already very busy but the fact that it only requires one hour once a fortnight means that everyone can really spare the time to help. There is the opportunity to help further at the social events too if you can spare more time.

I have volunteered in many roles but too often I have felt that we have not really achieved much in practical terms. This is the first time I feel that I have really made a difference to someone’s life.

I feel grateful that Archway has provided me with the opportunity to help others in our community, particularly those who are lonely. I have always wanted to be able to help and this has provided me with a very simple way to do so. I now look forward to seeing the person that I support and hope the feeling is mutual!

3 reasons why I would recommend volunteering at Archway:

1. I would recommend volunteering at Archway as it is a very simple way to make a real difference to someone’s life for an incredibly small input with not too much training.

2. The once a fortnight visits mean it really is very easy to fulfil – it is really not demanding at all.

3. You also benefit from volunteering. It gives you a really good feeling to know that you are able to help – something which is so small for you makes so much difference to others.”

Thank you Polly!

If you would like to get involved you can apply to volunteer here

For any questions about Archway and volunteering email:

3,052 miles in 24 hours – can it be done? – cycling challenge for Archway

Please support these brilliant people from Blenheim Palace doing a cycling challenge on exercise bikes to cover 3,052 land miles in 24 hrs – the same number of nautical miles Lord George Blandford (son of Jamie Spencer – Churchill 12th Duke of Marlborough) & the Oar Inspiring Team rowed the Atlantic in 2018.

The staff at Blenheim are taking on this impressive challenge to raise funds for The Archway Foundation a charity supporting people experiencing loneliness and The Starlight Foundation which “brightens the lives of seriously ill children.” The team “need to cover 127.2 miles per hour for the whole 24 hours.” The challenge will commence on Wednesday 20th March and finish at 15.00 on Thursday 21st March. Archway wholeheartedly thanks the Blenheim team and wishes them the best of luck.

You can help raise funds for The Archway Foundation and The Starlight Foundation by sponsoring the Blenheim team’s challenge here:  Virgin Money Giving Page


An exciting & moving start to Social Space – Archway’s young adults’ project

Archway’s new Young Adults’ evening – Social Space, kicked off this week with a wonderful performance from the American duo; songwriters “Leigh & Liam” – they got us in reflective mood with their own breathtakingly performed songs about subjects such as the trials of friendship and a heartfelt cover of Radio Head’s “Creep” – a song all about feeling isolated. But there was also lots of laughter –  Leigh & Liam shared funny and human stories about their experiences on tour “climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower with a very heavy electric piano because the lifts were broken” was one such story and there was a magically uplifting and humorous moment where we all accompanied them with kazoos! They set the tone for Social Space perfectly and the Handle Bar Cafe Cafe provided us with beautiful high quality free coffee and cake in a cosy low-lit setting. The ideal warm and friendly atmosphere for people (aged between 18 and 30) to drop by and meet new people every other Tuesday evening. An exciting and moving start to Social Space. Thank you Leigh & Liam.

Email if you would like to get involved with this brilliant new project.


Inspired? you can donate as little as £5.00 here

…or you can apply to volunteer with Archway here

Archway is Blenheim’s Charity Of The Year; join a sponsored walk around the grounds

Brilliant news! The Archway Foundation announce that Blenheim have selected Archway as their charity of the year and Blenheim are hosting a sponsored walk this spring as part of the partnership on the 27th April.

“Each year we invite all our staff to decide on a locally-based charity for us to support.
We’re delighted to be working with Archway and we have already met with the team there to discuss opportunities and how we can best support them. As well as supporting the work they do we see this as an opportunity to learn more about the causes and effects of loneliness and how we can do our bit to recognise warning signs both in the workplace and in the wider community.”
Says Stephanie Duncan, Blenheim’s Head of Marketing and PR

Blenheim 2 pic

Hannah (pictured above) who has volunteered for Archway for over 4 years and works for Blenheim says  “We take for granted the social interaction of having a cup of tea and a chat but for those who are lonely this can make a real difference to their week.” our sentiments exactly.


 Join Archway on their sponsored walk, raising funds to lift loneliness in the Oxford area!

you can walk as a group and encourage your friends to sponsor you via our Virgin Money Giving page.

On Saturday 27th April 2019
5 miles or 10 miles


email: to sign up



You can support by donating as little as £5.00 here

or you can

Join our community of volunteers here