A poem written and read by an Archway friend

Sue Saville updates us about Archway.

As most of you know Archway is a local Oxfordshire charity ‘serving those hurt by loneliness’. Over many years now Holy Trinity has supported Archway’s work both financially and through congregational members who are or who have been volunteers. We have all been very concerned at Archway about the affect of the COVID 19 measures on the friends who are already hurting because they feel isolated in so many ways from ordinary social contact. Of course the situation varies for everyone. Some Friends say this is their normal way of living and are coping pretty well. Other Friends and Volunteers are highly anxious and struggling with not sleeping and are not able to set and keep to any kind of routine. (One lady hasn’t got dressed for 3 weeks). Some are becoming mentally unwell. Others report not feeling as anxious as the expectations on going out and interacting socially with others/going on public transport etc. are no longer required. They have concerns that when this is over their social anxiety might be greater as they are out of practice with face to face social interaction and going beyond their comfort zones. Of course the fear of contamination that everyone told them was not in reality likely to happen, in the current situation, is a very valid concern.

One friend’s outing every day has been to go to the shops even if it’s only to buy one thing. It is hard for her to understand the restrictions and even worse she feels ‘got at’ because she doesn’t use a debit card and no-one wants to accept money at the moment. Most of our friends don’t have access to social media platforms so things like Facetime, Skype and Zoom are not part of their world.These are scenarios I hadn’t imagined. During this time every friend is offered a telephone call every week. There are hardly any who have opted out. The calls have led to staff members sorting out all sorts of unforeseen difficulties especially for those who need shielding because of poor health.

Some are being creative with poetry writing, craft work, knitting and painting and are grateful for the concern of others. Some friends feel more connected than ever in the COVID 19 scenario perhaps because they have already had to manage much more loneliness and isolation than the rest of us.

At the moment Archway’s finances are in reasonable shape but 25% to 30% of our income comes from donations and fund raising efforts and its quite possible that these will decline as the impact of the economic slowdown begins to bite after the crisis has abated. It’s therefore very important to Archway that we seek ways to maintain the excellent support we receive from the community.

So do remember the Archway friends, staff and volunteers during this extraordinary time. Thank you.

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