Oddfellows reach out to help Buckingham newcomers forge new friendships

Friendship group has advice for those wanting to meet new people

By Hannah Richardson
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 3:36 pm

A friendship group in Buckingham is reaching out to people who are new to the area.

Established in 1810, the Oddfellows is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK, with 42,250 members across 113 branches nationwide.

The Grenville Branch of Oddfellows has been organising social events and activities since it was established in Buckingham 164 years ago.

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Now the branch is turning its attention to newcomers to the area, who may need a little help settling in.

Branch secretary Doreen Sams said: “Moving to a new town or city is daunting at any age, but when you relocate your entire life in later years, it can be even more difficult to find your feet.

"Gone are the streets and shops you knew like the back of your hand, the reassurance of friendly and supportive neighbours, and the reliable network of friends you’ve built up through the years.

"The good news is that you’re not alone.

“We’re a ready-made friendship group and caring bunch of locals that can help you to feel more at home, explore the area and get to know your new neighbourhood.”

Upcoming events organised by the Oddfellows include a visit to Milton Keynes Museum on March 23, a visit to Coton Manor Garden on April 26 and monthly lunch drop-ins at Buckingham Garden Centre.

The Oddfellows has also teamed up with clinical psychologist Dr Jennifer Wild to create a list of hints and tips for those who are feeling nervous about meeting new people:

- Choose a group that is linked to your own interests – don’t sign up for a rock climbing class if you’re not into heights. Perhaps enjoying a coffee with an organised friendship group is a good place to start.

- Call ahead – a telephone call with the organiser or an existing member will help alleviate your concerns, answer any questions you have and ensure someone can greet you as soon as you arrive.

- Give yourself permission to leave after five minutes. Concentrating on a short period of time is much less daunting than thinking you have to stay for an hour. By focusing on a short time limit, you are putting less pressure on yourself.

- Predict your outcomes – write a list of what you are worried about. Putting pen to paper will help you look at what’s really concerning you and help test whether or not your worries come true. Science shows us that 88 per cent of our worries never happen.

- Choose your own path – if a group isn’t for you, or you struggle to find a connection, try something else. There are no expectations from anyone but yourself.

Doreen added: “We know that walking into a room full of people you don’t know can be daunting, but a warm welcome awaits anyone wanting to give our friendly group a go.”

The Buckingham Oddfellows is a non-profit organisation with about 33 local members.

In addition to attending regular social events, members can access financial benefits and welfare support, with a dedicated Care and Welfare Helpline, Citizens Advice Line and travel club.

To read more about Dr Wild’s clinical advice about trying something new, go to oddfellows.co.uk/news

To register an interest in the Grenville Branch of Oddfellows or to receive a free local events diary, call Doreen on 07730 218723 or email [email protected]