An invitation to fill your September with friendship

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Preston Oddfellows, a local friendly society which provides opportunities for older adults in the area to socialise, is inviting residents from across the region to fill their September with friendship. It’s part of the group’s annual Friendship Month celebrations where its members come together to promote the benefits of friendship and host taster events for newcomers to try.

To kickstart this year’s activities, Preston Oddfellows is launching a new monthly meet-up in Thornton-Cleveleys. The inaugural coffee morning will be held at The Tramway on Thursday September 7 at 10.30am, and thereafter on the first Thursday of every month at the same venue. The cost is as per the attendee’s menu choice.

Its Preston-based monthly coffee morning at Penworthan Over 60s Club on Tuesday September 26 is having a special Friendship Month takeover where its regular members are pulling out all the stops to make new people feel welcome. The event starts at 10am and costs £2.50 for unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits.

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Social Organiser for Preston Oddfellows, Colin Burbidge, who is host of both taster events, said: “If anyone feels they could benefit from meeting new people in the area, then these are two perfect chances to take that first step.”

Sandra Browell from Thornton-Cleveleys, centre, is a group memberSandra Browell from Thornton-Cleveleys, centre, is a group member
Sandra Browell from Thornton-Cleveleys, centre, is a group member

“We know that people’s friendship needs and circle of friends can alter dramatically in later life and that 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,” he added.

“We’ve a wonderful range of personalities and people here at Preston Oddfellows, and September’s the perfect time to try us out. Everyone will be made most welcome.”

Sandra Browell, from Thornton-Cleveleys, joined the group in 2021. She said: “After the lockdowns, I realised how important getting together with other people was and to have friendly company and support in your life. There’s something for everyone to enjoy and having a date in the diary to look forward to makes a huge difference.”

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In support of the group’s Friendship Month message, psychologist, author and friend of the Oddfellows, Dr Denise Taylor, further explains the importance of checking in on how you feel about your friendships, especially as you get older and circumstances change.

Dr Denise Taylor, chartered psychologist and later life career coachDr Denise Taylor, chartered psychologist and later life career coach
Dr Denise Taylor, chartered psychologist and later life career coach

She said: “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.

“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.

“It’s not one-size-fits-all when it comes to an ideal mix of friends. It’s about identifying what you value, and doing something about it,” added Dr Denise.

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Dr Denise has provided her top tips on how to assess your friendships and identify if there are any areas for improvement.

Preston Oddfellows Social Organiser, Colin BurbidgePreston Oddfellows Social Organiser, Colin Burbidge
Preston Oddfellows Social Organiser, Colin Burbidge

· Shared interests: Hobbies are a fantastic way to keep you motivated, and sharing them with a friend makes it much more enjoyable. If you don’t have someone to do the things you enjoy with, perhaps now is the time to find someone who shares your passions.

· Emotional support: A problem shared is a problem halved. Do you have a confidante in your social circle you can reach out to? It’s not uncommon to find that friendships decline as we age, often due to changes in circumstances and lifestyle. The good news is, it’s never too late to expand your social circle and develop new, valuable friendships.

· Joy in friendship: Whether it’s a casual acquaintance or a lifelong friend, one friendship we should all have is one that simply brings joy. If you’ve identified there’s room for more friends, then take action. There are plenty of groups you can connect with, or, if that feels a little daunting, perhaps you could start by simply smiling at someone in the street. Even the smallest connections can bring joy.

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· Sense of purpose: We are sociable beings and being socially connected is crucial to our health and wellbeing. We need to feel like we matter. As we get older and our life goes through transitions, we can often feel like the connections we used to have are no longer there. Perhaps now is the time to put some effort in reigniting friendships or finding new ones?

· Diversity:There’s a lot to be said about making new friends. Not only do they reinvigorate you, they also present new opportunities and perspectives. Whether you haven’t had time to make new friends, or you don’t know where to start, you won’t regret putting some effort into finding new friends.

Preston Oddfellows has over 350 members, mostly older adults, who meet regularly to enjoy local social events and activities, and to fundraise.

To register an interest in attending a Preston Oddfellows Friendship Month event, or to request a free local events pack, contact Colin Burbidge on 07592 004080 or email [email protected]. Further details can also be found at

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