Oxfordshire based charity The Archway Foundation, dedicated to the alleviation of loneliness, has announced that CEO Sheila Furlong has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Ms Furlong has been involved in the Oxfordshire charity from its early beginnings in 1982 she first started as volunteer and now for over 20 years she has been the CEO. Archway say her guidance and inspiration have lifted thousands of people in the Oxfordshire area from the despair of chronic loneliness.

Archway is delighted that Sheila has received this recognition and highlighted that her commitment has made a massive contribution to the alleviation of loneliness for many years.

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Ms Furlong said: "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."

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 more than 180 friends through staff and volunteers, and a creative approach has ensured that the service has continued.