Loneliness is an experience that many of us may go through at various times in our lives, affecting people of all ages. Almost half of adults in England say they experience feelings of loneliness and it has been widely quoted that loneliness is as bad for one’s health as smoking.
St Matthew's is a supporter of the Archway Foundation which was established in Oxford in 1982 to help relieve some of the real distress that loneliness can cause. Via social groups and befriending, they connect those feeling alienated, with a diverse group of volunteers, many of whom know for themselves how damaging loneliness can be.
Here is a quote from a person, previously lonely, who was helped by Archway and has now become a befriender himself:
"I keep coming to Archway to try to help people who are in the same situation I was. I look forward to coming here. There are people here who need me – who are very pleased that I turn up and talk to them. Archway is an oasis for people. There’s always someone there to talk to you and be sympathetic, not judgemental." (Danny)
Archway offers social evenings and a weekly drop-in cafe. Social gatherings with a supportive, understanding and friendly environment help people to gain confidence being around people. Just knowing other people struggle with loneliness too can sometimes bring relief and help us not to feel so isolated.
When: 10.30a.m.-noon each Wednesday
Where: St. Columba’s Church Hall, Alfred Street, Oxford (off the High Street, next to Nat West bank)
Wednesday Welcome offers a drop-in cafe for a friendly chat over tea or coffee or to read the papers and enjoy board games.
For those who find it difficult to get out to meet people for whatever reason, there is a befriending service. Befriending is in great demand and their limited resources are allocated according to need.
For further information please see
The Archway Foundation, New Marston Pastoral Centre, Jack Straws Lane, Oxford, OX3 0DL