Do you ever get up in the morning and think ‘is this it?’ Work, meals, children, washing, sleep and repeat. If you do, why don’t you make today the day you volunteer, make new friends and be part of something bigger?
Volunteer, Make New Friends and Be Part of Something
We all go through phases in our lives, where our circumstances change. You might hit a milestone age, suffer a bereavement or suddenly find yourself with a slightly different lifestyle. Have you relocated but find your wonderful new life at the seaside somewhat lacking?
You might be newly out of work – made redundant or newly retired and climbing the walls. Maybe you’re isolated because you’re looking after someone. Or are you just bored and with the hum-drum and want a fresh challenge?
Fortunately, here on the Fylde Coast there are a dozen and more ways for you to make new friends. We’ll help you to find something to do which interests you. Something that absorbs you and be part of something bigger than yourself!
Don’t know where to Start?
Here’s a week’s worth of suggestions to work your way through. You’ll probably kiss a few frogs before you find your handsome Prince!
A good place to start is obviously with your own existing interests. If you’re gregarious and like meeting people you’ll be away. But if you’re quieter, more thoughtful your new hobby might take a little bit more finding.
An awful lot of people move to the Fylde Coast – maybe for work or to enjoy retirement at the seaside. It’s a right old melting pot of people from all over the place. Perhaps that’s why people tend to be so friendly and welcoming – because so many of us have been that new person.
It can be difficult at first, going along to a new group. But remember that most groups are looking for new members just like you – and you can always leave if you don’t like it!
A Week of Ideas to help you to Volunteer, Make New Friends and Be Part of Something
These are perhaps the most obvious places to start. Talk to people wherever you go – ask about what’s happening in the community. They’ll tell you what’s happening and it’s amazing what you’ll find out!
We haven’t quoted specific links in this article because there are too many to single just a few out. There’s a community section on each Visit Fylde Coast website. Take a look!
Volunteers make the world go round. They help out with all kinds of things, from a couple of hours once a flood to practically a full time job.
‘Volunteering’ is a rewarding way to do something that makes you feel worthwhile and valued.
Your thing might be helping a charity shop, a local school, at the hospital or hospice, or with environmental projects. There are literally hundreds of things that you could do. There are organisations all over the Fylde Coast who rely on people just like you to function.
Where could you volunteer?
Are you interested in supporting young people and their families? Vulnerable adults within your community? Learning about local history with one of the Civic groups or Museums. Or what about looking after the environment as a countryside ranger or environmental group member?
It’s a great way to meet people and make new like-minded friends. The aim of the organisation is the glue that holds its volunteers together (litter picking, brewing tea, whatever) but it’s the friendship and sense of achievement that makes it worthwhile. Volunteering is extremely satisfying. There’s so much to be gained from feeling like your time and actions have made a difference.
If you’re looking for a paid job, volunteering can also help you to build up transferable skills which will prove invaluable in employment, education, friendships and life. It also demonstrates to a potential employer that you are wanting to be productive and a valuable member of society.
There are plenty of groups and organisations mentioned here on Visit Fylde Coast. But you could also have a look at the FYI Directory. It’s a health, social care, childcare and community directory.
Tuesday: Try the Library
Your local library is a hot-spot for what’s happening locally, and many different activities.
Libraries today aren’t dusty quiet places like they used to be. They’re vibrant and welcoming places, where you can enjoy all kinds of events and activities. Regular sessions do include reading groups, but also craft sessions, visiting authors and much more besides.
The staff always have their ear to the ground and know what’s happening locally. If you haven’t been in a library for some time it’s well worth a look. There’s a library section on each of the Visit Fylde Coast websites, with events for you to try.
Wednesday: Pursue your own Hobby
Most people have an interest in something, whether it’s arts and crafts, gardening or the environment. Maybe you like acting, astronomy, photography, or cookery and baking!
Here on the Fylde Coast there are more ‘interest’ groups than you can shake a stick at. There’s a group for just about every subject that you could care to name! Most groups are on the look-out for new members so you can usually turn up to see what you think without making a commitment.
Joining a group is a good way to make friends and find something to hold your interest. If you’re retired and bored to death, or whatever the reason, why don’t you join in and give it a go.
It can also be a route back into work. Being part of something is great experience and shows that you can be reliable and a good team member.
Thursday: Learn Something New
Have you got a bigger challenge in mind? Would you like to stretch your little grey cells?
There are many adult learning opportunities across the Fylde Coast where you can learn something new and get a qualification at the end of it.
Do you basic skills need improving? Could you do with some help with maths and english to help you to get along better with everyday life? Would you like to gain a qualification to help you with work or even your volunteering?
You might not be able to stop learning once you start! And it’s also a good way to meet different people and make new friends.
Take a look at Blackpool and the Fylde College – they offer lots of adult learning programmes.
Friday: Get Fit
Feeling a bit flabby or unfit? Why don’t you take up some form of exercise to get yourself going again!
What you do will probably depend on just how unfit you are. But there’s nothing to stop you from starting off with a bit of gentle walking, then progress to a class at a community centre. In no time you might be on your way to the local sports centre – apparently Zumba is very good!
It’s surprising how many people you can get talking to while you’re out and about, especially dog walkers who are always up for a chat. Have you got a neighbour with a dog that you could take for a walk? I bet the neighbour would appreciate the help – and the dog certainly would!
Saturday: Look for New Contacts
This is a bit more of an old-school suggestion. If you’re looking to make friends you could check out the small ads in magazines and the local press. They often carry columns where people are looking for pen friends, someone to spend time with or maybe a romantic liaison!
Not forgetting of course the modern version, good old Facebook. Used as it was intended, the social media platform is a great way to keep up with what’s happening where you live. You’ll get to know people and even make new friends through chatting in local groups.
Going back to those interests we talked about earlier, you’ll almost certainly find Facebook groups about those too. For example, the Rossall Beach Group in Cleveleys has made Facebook friends with beach cleaning groups all around the country. It enables them to share ideas, problems and achievements. There are groups on Facebook for everything from art to zoology!
If you don’t know how to use Facebook, why don’t you get someone to show you? Ask in your local library, volunteers there will show you what to do.
Sunday: Join (or even start) Start a Friendship Group
Are you more interested in making friends and having a chat than ‘doing’ something?
There are friendship groups in most places if you want to make social friends to share a coffee or a shopping trip. There’s small groups who meet for coffee, to larger, more organised groups of friends with a packed annual calendar.
You could even try starting your own little group. Put a card in a local shop window and spread the word where you live. You could push some notes through the letter boxes of neighbours who you think might be interested. Start by meeting in a public place (a cafe?) until you get a measure of your new acquaintances, then take it from there.
Are you Inspired?
Through Visit Fylde Coast we try to provide as much information as possible about what’s happening locally and things that you can get involved with. Why don’t you make this week the week that you volunteer, make new friends and be part of something?
There’s a ‘Community’ Section on each site and of course the Events Calendar where you’ll find dates and what’s on. Good luck!
While you’re here…
Have a look at the Visit Fylde Coast website homepage for more of the latest updates.
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