Tips on how to 'spread more neighbourly cheer’, from Chesterfield friendship group
‘Spread more neighbourly cheer’ is the latest message from local friendship group, Derbyshire Peak Oddfellows, as it shares its top five tips to keep community spirits high this festive season.
The advice comes on the back of Campaign to End Loneliness’ Be More Us initiative, which reports that almost half of UK adults say that their busy lives prevent them from connecting with other people.
Toni Siddall, social organiser of the group, which meet regularly in Chesterfield, said: “In the run up to, and during, the festive holiday period, we know that many people’s day-to-day lives become even more hectic and distracted. So our friendly, festive nudge is to not forget the importance of maintaining relationships with those living around you.
“The high spirits of the season creates lots of opportunity to strike up new conversations and to spread more neighbourly cheer, but with a serious message of making sure we look out for each other, too.”
With over 200 years’ experience in helping people to form friendships and in offering support to its members, the Oddfellows has the following advice:
Start with a hello. Add a smile and a comment about the weather, and it’s often all you need to break the ice
Let them know who you are. Use the festive season as a chance to drop a card through their letterbox. They can then put a name to your face
Be thoughtful. Small, helpful gestures can make a huge difference. If you’ve taken in a parcel for a neighbour, drop it off for them when you notice they’re in, or put their bin out if you notice they’ve forgotten
Share news of local events. Whether you stick a flyer on a communal noticeboard, or post a notice through their door, share what’s happening in the area with your neighbours. Better still, invite them along to something you’re going to
Keep an eye out for vulnerable people. Let them know you’re there for them, especially if the weather’s bad, or you think someone needs some extra help or company
Toni added: “We’re hosting two free events in December, the first is a Christmas Quiz at 12pm on Thursday, December 5, it’s a quirky quiz lasting an hour on a variety of topical traditions, the speaker will pit his wits against the rest of us.
"No pen or paper required. Our second event is a festive coffee morning at 11am on Wednesday, December 11. It’s relaxed and informal, so a great opportunity to get to know others in your area.
"Feel free to invite your neighbours, too."
Both of these events will take place at the branch office, 126 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NG.