Let’s fight loneliness during Friendship Month and beyond

Published: Friday 1st September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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This month is the Oddfellows Friendship Month. The aim of the monthlong event is to remind the nation just how important friendship is.

The Oddfellows was established in 1810, making it one of the oldest friendly societies in the country.

Friendly societies go way back. They were first established during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, offering groups of tradesmen benefits if they ever fell on hard times. Back then, workers rights were not like they are today. There was no real sick pay, so joining a Friendly Society acted as a security blanket if you were ever made redundant, got injured or fell ill.

Nowadays, the Oddfellows has over 310,000 members across 132 branches, which work hard to bring communities together through a number of exciting and accessible events, such as tea parties, lunches and quiz nights.

In 2016, the society hosted a total of 170 events to promote companionship and combat isolation. Its main goal is to improve the quality of people’s lives through care and charitable support. Friendship Month is all about celebrating friendship and reminding the nation of how important it is to our wellbeing.

This Friendship Month, the Oddfellows are focussing on combating loneliness. A growing problem in the UK, loneliness affects more than nine million people of all ages, according to extensive research carried out by the British Red Cross and The Co-Op.

In fact, over half of all people aged 75 and over live on their own. Age UK conducted a study in 2014, which found that two-fifths of elderly people said that their TV sets were their main form of company.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that the loneliness endemic is linked to physical health. Research carried out in 2013 discovered that 59% of adults aged over 52 who report ill health say that they also feel lonely some of the time. Only 21% of those who said they were often lonely were in excellent health.

The Campaign to End Loneliness proposes that this lack of social connection can be a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Events such as Oddfellows Friendship Month are a great way to not only combat the issue of loneliness but to also raise awareness. Even if you’re not an Oddfellows member, you can still do your part to help out someone who might be suffering.

It could be as simple as saying hello to an elderly person on the street, or you could spend more time with the older generation of your family. Additionally, you could search for activities in your area to see if you can volunteer and bring your local community together.

If you’re interested in joining the Oddfellows and its Hull branch, you can find out more information online. Membership starts at just £10 per year.

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Published: Friday 1st September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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