Local group says “keep making new friends”

Despite ongoing social restrictions, local friendly society Derbyshire Peak Oddfellows has revealed big plans for its annual Friendship Month celebrations.   

The group, based at Saltergate, Chesterfield, is a non-profit membership organisation which holds regular social events in the Derbyshire Peak District area.

Friendship Month, held in September, is an annual celebration designed to encourage anyone interested in meeting new people locally to give one of their special no-obligation social events a try.

On Friday 11th September, the group’s hosting a picnic in the park, starting at 11am.  On the 16th September we are hosting a canal walk at Cromford Meadows, also starting at 11am. Booking onto these events is essential. Please contact Toni on 01246 273076 or toni.siddall@oddfellows.co.uk.

Toni Siddall, Social Organiser at Derbyshire Peak Oddfellows said: “2020 has seen a big shift in the way we work, live and most importantly, socialise. At the Oddfellows we recognise that people in Chesterfield and Derbyshire still want, and need, to meet up and make new friends – whether that’s safely out in the community or from the comfort of their own home.

“Friendship Month is our annual celebration of all things friendship, and this year is no different. We’re still here to welcome old friends, and new. That’s why we’re encouraging people to take part in one of our events and see what we offer.”

Although the group pressed pause on its regular schedule of face-to-face meetings, it has been a busy year for its local teams. During the Covid-19 lockdown, staff and volunteers regularly checked in on its 200 members, many who are shielding or live on their own.

The Oddfellows was originally set up in 1810 to offer workers and their families insurance should they fall on hard times. Today, the Society continues to provide help to its members through difficult periods, with care, welfare and financial support.

Toni, also added: “Friendship isn’t just for the good times. Friends provide support through thick and thin – and so do the Oddfellows. Many people think we just put on social events, but the Oddfellows, like your friends, provides so much more.

“It’s not just lockdown that can cause people to lose touch. Bereavement, caring responsibilities, moving away, family leaving home, retirement and many other life changes can leave anyone, no matter their age, open to feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

Anyone interested in giving the group a try is invited to give them a call. Contact Toni on 01246 273076 or toni.siddall@oddfellows.co.uk. Future events are also listed online at www.oddfellows.co.uk/events.

The group’s top five ways to keep connected

Derbyshire Peak Oddfellows is keen to help people, whether they’re members or not, to stay connected. The group has shared its top five ways to encourage everyone to stay in touch:

  1. Telephone – if you’ve not heard from someone for a while, why not drop them a line? If you can’t commit to a call, even a text message would be more than welcome.
  2. Postcards – letter writing is fast falling out of fashion, but an email or handwritten note only needs to be a few lines. If you live close, why not hand deliver? A great way to get out and get moving at the same time.
  3. Neighbourhood watch – when was the last time you talked to your neighbours? You don’t need to be the best of friends, even a quick hello over the hedge will help you and them feel more connected.
  4. Get online – you don’t just have to use online video conferencing to stay in touch, getting online offers lots of other ways to socialise too: find your tribe on social media, join an online hobby group, learn with an online course, follow along with an exercise class or join a chatroom. If you’re online, why not check out the Oddfellows on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Park life – Another great way to stay connected is to head to your local park where you could arrange to meet a friend for a socially-distanced walk or picnic. Parks are busy places – you could always try striking up a conversation with some of the familiar faces you see on your walks.


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