Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you don't find what you are looking for please don't hesitate to contact us directly. We're always happy to help.

Can anyone join the Oddfellows?
Yes. The Oddfellows is for everyone from all walks of life and all ages. If you are under 18, we have the Young Oddfellows. If you are over 18, we have National membership.

Some benefits have age or location of residence restrictions, so please check the individual benefit’s T&Cs.

How do you join the Oddfellows?
Take a look at our section on becoming a member, as well as our breakdown of membership entitlements.

I live outside the UK, can I become a member of the Oddfellows?
You need to be a resident of the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to be a member of our Society. This excludes online Archive membership which is available to you wherever you live across the world.

If you live overseas, the IOOF website is a useful starting point to see if there is an Oddfellows membership organisation near to you.

Is the Oddfellows a ‘Secret Society’?
No. This reference is a hangover from the past. In the late 18th century, societies such as ours were deemed illegal. Government informers were paid to infiltrate our Branches (Lodges), so signs and passwords were used to secure the safety and security of members. Many are still used as part of our Order’s business, to honour our heritage.

Is the Oddfellows a religious or political organisation?
No. We have no religious or political affiliations.

What type of events do you run?
Many different types. The best thing is to use our Event Finder and see what’s coming up near you soon.

Can you come on your own to events?
Of course. Many members come on their own and some come with friends, family or partners. We're a really social bunch, so you'll never be short of someone to talk to.

Do you have to be a member to come along to an event?
No. You can come along and give us a try any time you like (as long as it's not a member-only event). We're a Society run by members, for our members, so if you like what you see and start attending our events regularly, we'd love you to join.

Where's my nearest Branch?
You can find your nearest Oddfellows Branch by using our Branch Finder.

Why are you called the Oddfellows?
It's a little complicated and references stretch back to as early as 587 BC. However, a more contemporary reference is from the early 18th century when Old English Trade Guilds were in decline and many fraternal societies took their place. These societies became firmly established to support workers with benevolence should they fall on hard times. This included the Odd Fellows – a society representing fellow craftsmen from an assortment of trades. You can find out more on our History page.

Is the Oddfellows a charity?
No. We are a not-for-profit friendly society and operate as a mutual organisation.

Why are there so many pubs called the Oddfellows?
Public houses were often used as the base for regular Society business. When members met, they often ‘took something for the good of the house’. To secure such lucrative trade, landlords were willing to name their pubs after us. Oddfellows Arms remains a popular pub name to this day.

How do I make a Subject Access Request?
You have a right to access the personal data that is held about you. For information on how to access the personal data we hold on you, please take a look at our information about Subject Access Requests. For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 the data controller is The Oddfellows, Oddfellows House, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB.