September is Oddfellows Friendship Month which aims to bring more people together in friendship.
For more than 200 years, Oddfellows has helped people forge new friendships as one of the UK’s largest friendship societies. Every September they host SociabilTEA events across 100 branches throughout the UK. The idea is to enjoy a cup of tea together with dances, walks and craft workshops, surrounded by potential new friends and many old ones too! Join an event near you.
Friendships do help people feel healthier and happier and as well as joining events with Oddfellows there are other ways you can make new friends and support your community.
The Goodgym started in 2009 as a way of joining people and good deeds together. The focus is working to combat the loneliness and isolation older people can feel by members running missions for them including; clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs and other odd jobs they can assist with.
As well as completing jobs, Goodgym runners can be assigned an older person to have to run to once a week for a social visit.
"I saw hardly anybody. I was housebound having had my knees and hips replaced. I felt very cut off. Having Kim visit me gives me something to look forward to every week, she’s lovely. She comes every Monday. It’s someone to have a chat and a laugh with. Mind you, she doesn’t say much as I’m chatting all the time! We have a good laugh. I would definitely recommend it to other people like me.” Joan, 87.
“It is lovely to have a friend from a completely different generation, we never run out of things to chat about. Going to see Joan helps me to get out running on a Monday night whatever the weather, I am pretty sure I could not motivate myself to go out running all through the winter without her!” Kim, Goodgym runner.
Members also gather on a weekly basis from Bethan Green to Bristol to complete a range of community-based tasks from sorting donations in food banks to clearing up local council gardens. So as well as improving your health and forging new friendships, you can feel good about offering something back.