Join Corby area University of the Third Age for fun, friendship and to learn a new thing or two
The activities range from photography to music-making, painting to badminton
A Corby-based group that offers friendship and fun through learning new skills and education has invited new members to come along and join the University of the Third Age - the 3a.
Great Oakley and District U3A offers an annual subscription of just £15 to access groups for brain-boosting sessions, taking on new challenges and sharing knowledge.
On u3a day, Wednesday, June 2, the group will be hosting an open day at Corby Heritage Centre in the Old Village from 12noon to 4pm.
Subjects for u3a groups are member-led with people taking part just willing to give something a go - there is no age limit and there are no entry qualifications, exams or prizes.
Phil Watts, secretary of Great Oakley and District u3a, said: "In 2013 a group of like-minded people came together to form a new group, known as the University of the Third Age which had grown to over 200 members at the start of the Covid pandemic.
"It is a voluntary group for people who are no longer working full-time or finished raising their family, there is no lower age limit. Age is no barrier to learning or helping others to learning.
"We welcome contributions from all of our members and if you have a skill or knowledge you would like to share, don’t keep it to yourself, come and join in the fun, or better still start a group of your own.
"All activities are supported by group leaders, co-ordinators and advisors. There are no entry qualifications, exams or prizes.
"Activities include crafts, history, photography, creative writing, ukulele playing or art to keep our brains active, whilst more active groups include walking or badminton."
The very first national u3a day – celebrating the learning, activity and fun that happens every day in u3as across the country is part of Volunteer Week and an opportunity to celebrate activities, contributions to the local community and the innovative ways members have responded to the restrictions under lockdown.
Cath, a u3a group leader, said: "Leading a group as part of the u3a has given me a fresh sense of purpose. I have made many new friends and we all learn so much from each other. There is also lots of fun and laughter whenever we meet up."
Prior to lockdown, groups ranged from small - meeting in people’s homes - to large - meeting in community halls or other venues.
During the pandemic, some members have been using Zoom to keep groups going and to maintain contact.
The most recent group being a monthly quiz group meeting on the first Monday of each month for a 'pub quiz' and a natter - beer is optional.
Mr Watts said: "You are never too old to beat loneliness. We all experience bouts of loneliness now and again. For older people, this can be compounded by bereavement, the loss of social contact with colleagues, or health problems.
The u3a is uniquely-geared to providing opportunities for older people to meet, learn and make new friends.
Member Jenny added: “When we moved to Corby five years ago we looked for a local u3a as a way of meeting new people and having fun enjoying activities like history, walking, board games, lunch and craft groups, learning from each other, meeting and building up a broad range of like-minded, new friends.”
Sue Stokes, u3a day co-ordinator said: “We are so excited that from now on, every year, there will be a day dedicated to learning, staying active and having fun in your third age - that’s people who are retired, semi-retired or no longer bringing up a family.
“We hope this day will help to challenge negative perceptions of older adults and will bring together all Third Agers in the community to learn about the contribution u3a makes to the quality of life for retired people. Even during the pandemic, u3as have kept in touch with members on various platforms and enabled them to safely continue to learn, be active and have fun."
Great Oakley u3a information day is at Corby Heritage Centre in High Street, in Corby Old Village from 12noon to 4pm on Wednesday, June 2.
For more information 07743 791180 or visit www.u3asites.org.uk/great-oakley/home.