Aylesbury Vale friendship group urges people to give it a try for ‘just three minutes’

A Buckingham-based friendship group has come up with an unusual way to help new members take the plunge and try socialising again.
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To help widowed residents overcome the difficult first step of socialising again after loss, Buckingham Oddfellows is inviting visitors to come along to its events for just three minutes.

The unusual offer is based on the ‘Three Minute Carrot Method’, which gives permission to stop or leave something after three minutes, instead of feeling daunted by needing to stay for an hour.

The technique was suggested by clinical psychologist and author Dr Jennifer Wild, as a way for people to rebuild social confidence after losing a partner.

Members of Grenville Oddfellows on a recent visit to ShuttleworthMembers of Grenville Oddfellows on a recent visit to Shuttleworth
Members of Grenville Oddfellows on a recent visit to Shuttleworth

Grenville Oddfellows is a not-for-profit group, based in Buckingham, that brings people together for social activities.

Members come from a wide area, including Brackley, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Branch secretary Doreen Sams said: “Trying something new can be nerve-racking, especially if it’s the first time an individual has really put themselves in a social setting without having their partner by their side.

“We’d obviously love people to stay for the entirety of our events, but we also recognise that people need to move at their own pace.

"So if you decide that three minutes is enough for you that day, that’s totally fine. If you want to stay longer, then that’s great also.”

Dr Wild, who has written a series of blogs for the Oddfellows, said: “The Three Minute Carrot Method gives you permission to stop or leave something early.

“After your three minutes, you can decide if you are going to turn around and go home, or if you are going to carry on.

"You’ll find, more often than not, that you will carry on. But by giving yourself permission to leave, it relieves the pressure.”

Doreen added: “When Dr Wild explained this technique to us, we wanted to share her advice more widely, as it could be the thing that encourages someone to take that one small positive step forwards.”

Sue Moden, who has been a group member for nine years, said: “Going along to a meet a new group of people is easier said than done, especially when you are used to having someone support you.

"But once I got over the hurdle of first introductions, any concerns just melted away. The Oddfellows couldn’t have made me feel more welcome.”

As well as social events for its members, the Grenville Branch of Oddfellows holds regular monthly meetings in Buckingham Library, and newcomers are welcome to try out the next meeting, at noon on July 4.

Anyone wishing to attend or find out more should contact Doreen Sams on 07730 218723 or email [email protected]

In addition to attending regular social events, Oddfellows members can access financial benefits and welfare support, with a dedicated care helpline and citizens advice team, and a travel club.

Further information about the Oddfellows can be found at oddfellows.co.uk/firststeps

To read Dr Wild’s series of advice blogs, written especially for the Oddfellows, go to oddfellows.co.uk/news.