The beginning of a new year for most means having a new personal goal or new year's 'resolution'. For Yellow Submarine and The Archway Foundation, it means beginning to plan and organise new fundraising projects that directly enhance the lives of people with disabilities and those affected by loneliness. An upcoming screening of the classic Disney animation 'The Lion King' is going to be their first film fundraiser of 2023, taking place on Saturday 28th January, with goals to make the event a positive experience, whilst raising money to be split between both non-profit organisations.

Despite having different goals and ambitions, Yellow Submarine and The Archway Foundation are both passionate charities united in believing people with disabilities and mental health struggles deserve to live their best life no matter what. In May 2022, the Mayor of Abingdon, Andy Foulsham, nominated both these charities as his Mayoral Charities of the year. Many agree their work is hugely valued and this came through in the nomination. 

To begin with, The Archway Foundation is a small non-profit charity based in the City of Oxford and central Abingdon. It aims to bring together people of similar experiences in loneliness, alongside commiserative and diverse volunteers, many of whom have had their own personal experiences in loneliness.

A recent example of some of Archway's charitable work included organising a fundraising concert in Oxford in November 2022 - namely Gilbert & Sullivan’s comedy operetta ‘Trial by Jury,' which was thoroughly enjoyed by many. 

The fundraising from these events ensures Archway can continue to work and support individuals who are mentally affected by loneliness and social isolation. Lack of contact with others is an extremely important yet neglected matter in today's age. Social isolation is often overlooked, with experts saying there can be serious ramifications; dementia and Alzheimer's occur more within people who have had little social interaction and were lonely during a large part of their life. 

Yellow Submarine is an award-winning Oxfordshire charity that has taken action in making everyday life easier for young people and adults within the Oxfordshire community. They also run social enterprise cafes which are open to all members of the public. You can visit their cafes in Oxford and Witney.

The Mayor of Abingdon has recently been working with the Abbey Cinema to ensure that the film fundraiser will take place and offer quality service for those watching.  The Abbey Cinema - a small outlet cinema in Abbey Close, Abingdon - is catering for the event. On top of this, Copyright Owners of 'The Lion King' have set aside any fees so that all profit made from the event will be given to both of the non-profit charities, directly investing all money to assisting disabled and mental health struggling individuals in Oxfordshire. Both charities offer affordable prices, sometimes waivering set fees and encouraging people to donate what they can. Even if you can't attend an event or show, The Archway Foundation and Yellow Submarine believe in 'paying it forward' by purchasing a ticket that can be given to someone else who can make the event. Paying it forward is something anyone can do and can really make a difference when it comes to charity. It's something that builds community by supporting others who possibly can't afford something but would love to be a part of it. 

So, why, you ask, is it so important to support small charities like Yellow Submarine? In response, I have had the priviledge of asking Ella O'Brien, Yellow Submarine's Community Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Officer, some questions. I have gathered some of her responses to share. 

Why should people donate to or volunteer with Yellow Submarine? 

"Yellow Submarine believes people with learning disabilities and autism deserve to live life to the full. We are a small local charity so support from our community is greatly appreciated and goes a long way, whether that be a £10 donation that covers the cost of a new board game for our Youth Clubs to enjoy, spending a couple of hours teaching our adult members news skills, or buying a cup of coffee from one of our cafes. People that donate or volunteer with us can really see the big impact of their support for themselves. I encourage everyone who is interested in supporting us to visit our cafes, there you can see first-hand the impact of your donation or time volunteered." 

How does your work make a difference to people with learning disabilities? 

"At Yellow Submarine we tackle the problem that many people with learning disabilities leave school with limited life skills and as a result poor life chances. This often leads to isolation or being marginalised. Our projects start working with young people in community settings from the age of 11 onwards, to build their social skills, confidence, independance and ultimately their employability. Our adult members benefit from a range of different projects from social clubs to skills based sessions to residential holidays. We make a huge difference to the lives of our members and at the same time we are supporting families and carers with respite." 

What do you want people to know about the work you do?  

"We want people to know our members are so much more than their 'disability.' From running sessions out in the community to our trainees having customer facing roles in our cafe, we hope people go away from their interactions with the Yellow Submarine with a renewed perspective on disability and what our members are capable of, whether that be personally or professionally." 


If you're interested in attending The Lion King, the listing can be found here