IT’S September – and that means it is “Friendship Month” for an organisation founded more than 200 years ago.
St Helens and Warrington Oddfellows, a friendly society which provides opportunities for older adults in the area to make local friendships, is asking people to assess their social circles to see if they could benefit from making new connections.
The invitation is part of the local society’s Friendship Month celebrations with members hosting special taster events to help people plug any friendship gaps and experience the benefits of joining a community-based social group.
Branch secretary Pam Casey said: “Your friendship needs and circle of friends can alter dramatically in later life.
“We often talk about the dangers of loneliness to our health, but you don’t have to be lonely to need new friends. We benefit from having a well-rounded friendship group – which includes new friends, pals with shared hobbies and interests and friends who challenge and support you.
“We’ve a wonderful range of personalities and people here at the Oddfellows. September’s the perfect time to try us out as we’ve some great Friendship Month events lined up, as well as our usual warm welcome.”
Events during the month include:
Thursday, September 14: Friendship Month lunch at the Hotties Café, inside the World of Glass Museum at St Helens.
Tuesday, September 19: Drop-in session at the United Reformed Church, Ormskirk Street, St Helens (1.30-3.30pm)
Thursday, September 21: Monthly coffee morning at The Hotties Café 10.30am -12 noon,
Tuesday, September 26: Monthly coffee morning in Warrington at Rhode Island Coffee House, 10.30am-12noon in the Latte Lounge.
Psychologist, author and friend of the Oddfellows, Dr Denise Taylor said: “Friendships are vital to our social wellbeing and can have a direct effect on our physical and mental wellbeing. As we journey through life, we can go through many stages of transition – retirement, relocation, losing loved ones, which mean that some friendships may slip away. Our opportunities to maintain a supportive social circle often reduces and the friendships we do have can take more work.
“I advise taking stock of your friendship network at regular stages in your life. Look at your own social wellbeing and identify what needs to change to ensure you feel fulfilled and supported by those around you.”
To register an interest in attending a Friendship Month event, or to request a free local events pack, contact Julie Webster on 07456915655 or email Julie.webster @oddfellows.co.uk Further details can also be found at www.friendshipmonth.com.
• Launched in 2010, Friendship Month is the Oddfellows’ national awareness month to promote the benefits of friendship.
• Established in 1810, the Oddfellows is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK, with around 40,000 members across 99 branches nationwide. It’s a non-profit mutual run by members for members, aiming to improve the quality of people’s lives through friendship, care and charity. It costs from £25 a year to join.
Picture: Local Oddfellows members enjoying an outing together