Rosalind Earp, social events organiser for the West London branch of The Oddfellows Society, talks friendship, socialising and future travel plans.
How did you become involved with the society?
Last March, I saw a job advertised for a social events organiser at The Oddfellows Society branch – I’d actually never heard of it before then but once I found out about the society and its values, I thought it was fantastic. It’s a non-profit mutual and does so much for people and charity.
I completed a degree in Events Management as a mature student; I’m bossy and love organising things. In the village I live in, I’ve been organising events for about 15 years, so I’ve had plenty of experience.
What does your job involve?
I organise two outings and a social event each month. I started doing evening events (to the theatre, evening meals etc) to try to attract younger members. I had some lovely trips coming up such as Kensington Palace, Wicked the Musical and a shopping trip to Bicester Village on the train. We’re hoping to go to Winchester Christmas Market this year – we are going to stay a couple of nights in a hotel and do some sightseeing while we’re there.
Tell us more about how you try to get new members?
Every September we run national Friendship Month to bring communities together and tackle loneliness. The Oddfellows Society is all about friendship. It’s difficult in Hammersmith because a lot of people come in to work and then go home. I have got a noticeboard they’re going to put up so I can display posters. I give out leaflets in shops and cafes and libraries too to spread the word.
How do you communicate with members about the trips?
We produce an events diary every four months – every member on the mailing list gets one posted to them. I decided during lockdown to update the member database so that’s good. I do a newsletter with additional events/outings that I email and post out as well.
How do you come up with ideas about where to go?
All sorts of ways. I ask the members what they want to do. They love afternoon tea – we went to Mabel’s Vintage Tea Room in Bushey last April and also Maids of Honour in Richmond. We do a few coach trips a year; we usually go to the seaside in September – we went to Eastbourne last year. We were going to go to RHS Wisley this year too. We’ve been to Bourton-on-the-Water which was lovely and everyone enjoyed that. I keep a note about what and where the members have liked, and haven’t liked, for future planning.
“Some of the members say to me that they might not speak to anybody for a week and then they’ll come along to an event or outing and see lots of people which is brilliant.”
What have you enjoyed the most about your role?
I love researching things and they’re such a great bunch of people, they’re very friendly and caring. I love my job. I’m very lucky.
How has coronavirus affected your plans?
When it first started, our society said that nationally we’d cancel everything until the start of June – that has been extended until the end of June. I’ll probably end up picking the diary up and moving it to 2021.
Some groups have been running online events like coffee mornings and Facebook Live quizzes and things. We’ve been doing Mirthy live talks – they’re different online presentations on various topics, they’re really good. I’m also sending out jigsaw puzzles to members with a note to see if they’re ok.
There’s going to be lots to consider in the future about coach travel especially. Some people can’t wait to get back out while others are still cautious – it’s very mixed.
Rosalind’s group at a glance…
Group name: The Oddfellows Society - West London District
No. of members: 300 (in the branch)
Time organising: 15 months+