Saturday, 27 February 2021

READING District Oddfellows, a friendship group, is inviting anyone struggling with the impact of spending increasing time alone to join them at one of their regular free online social events.

The group has a diary of upcoming Zoom events, which can be sent out to anyone who gets in touch.

Some of the public local and national events include:

Every Wednesday at 11am: National cuppa and chat, meeting ID: 988 3920 7187

Every Thursday at 2pm: Just-for-fun Thursdays, meeting ID: 988 3920 7187

Monday, February 15 at 2.30pm — Zoom talk “The job of a laughtime” by TV and radio comedy writer Brad Ashton. For the Zoom link to talk, email reading

It has been a hard start to 2021 for many. Even though we can’t meet up, we still want to bring a bit of friendly conversation, company and comfort into people’s homes. Having something to look forward to in your day can be a real mood-lifter.

If you don’t know where to start with using Zoom, drop the event host a line and they’ll happily talk you through it. You just need a good internet connection and a device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Reading District Oddfellows, which has members from across Berkshire and Oxfordshire, normally meets regularly to socialise, fundraise and support each other.

To receive a copy of its events diary, call Debbie Jex on 07375 935663 or email readingdistrict@oddfellows. or visit www.oddfellows.

Here are five tips for trying an online event:

1. Pick an event that suits you. If you love learning, give a guest talk a go. If you like to chat, try a coffee morning. If you prefer to sit back and listen, look for a talk or tutorial.

2. If you don’t know where to start with Zoom, contact the host ahead of the event. They can help you to get connected and even have a quick practice beforehand.

3. Be prepared, and on time. Have the Zoom meeting ID and password to hand, so you don’t feel flustered when you join.

4. Sit somewhere comfortable, with good lighting and a drink to hand. Try to place your device at eye level and on something sturdy so it doesn’t move about.

5. Always remember that you don’t need to turn your camera on if you don’t want to. The most important thing is that you’re there and in company.

The Oddfellows, a national friendly society with branches across the UK, was set up in 1810 to offer workers and their families insurance should they fall on hard times.

As well as offering opportunities to socialise locally and to volunteer, the society continues to provide help to its members through difficult periods with care, welfare and financial support today.

Debbie Jex, secretary

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