HUNDREDS of lonely people in Oxfordshire are set to be helped by Blenheim Palace.

The stately home has adopted the county-based loneliness charity The Archway Foundation as its official charity of the year.

The Archway Foundation was founded in Oxford in 1982 to help relieve some of the distress caused by loneliness; offering support, friendship and a listening ear.

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The charity is in touch with about 300 people in Oxfordshire and has a team of 130 volunteers who help with activities including home visits, driving people, hosting groups and running a call-in café.

Hannah Banfield, who has been volunteering for the charity for more than four years and also works at Blenheim, said: “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.”

As part of its support, Blenheim in Woodstock will be undertaking a series of fundraising and awareness building activities and events. Stephanie Duncan, Blenheim’s head of marketing, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Archway and we have already met the team.”