“SPREAD more neighbourly cheer” is the message from local friendship groups, the Pride of Bournemouth and Brownsea branches of the Oddfellows.

In the run up to, and during, the festive holiday period, many people’s day-to-day lives become even more hectic. So our friendly, festive nudge is to remember the importance of maintaining relationships with those living around us.

The festive season creates lots of opportunities to strike up conversations, spread more neighbourly cheer, and make sure we look out for each other.

With over 200 years’ experience in helping people to form friendships, the Oddfellows has the following advice:

* Start with a “hello”, add a smile and a comment about the weather – 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.

* Be thoughtful – small, helpful gestures can make a huge difference.

* Share news of local events – invite your neighbour 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

The Pride of Bournemouth and Brownsea Oddfellow friendship groups meet regularly in Tuckton and Poole, to enjoy events, fundraise and offer support to each other. To find out more contact Margaret on 01202 775122 or email Margaret.white@oddfellows.co.uk. Further information can also be found online at oddfellows.co.uk.

MARGARET WHITE, Playfields Drive, Poole