Residents Vote To Establish University Of The Third Age

Attendees voting to establish a U3A at the Methodist Hall

Around forty islanders have voted unanimously to form a local branch of the social and learning organisation, the University of the Third Age or U3A.

The movement is for retired people and part-time workers and was established in France in the 1970s. It came to Britain a decade later.

Volunteer tutors will offer a range of regular courses in informal surroundings including private homes.

On Saturday afternoon, potential members met at the Methodist Church Hall, where they expressed an interest in conversational French, poetry, sailing and family history classes.

Lesley Hopkins used to manage the Council’s Lifelong Learning programme. She says funding, especially for recreational courses, is likely to be cut by the present Government.

However, U3A, which is staffed by volunteer tutors and managed by people on the islands, so should be immune to this. It’s not the Government, she says, but islanders looking after their own educational needs.

And Lesley says there are already people with key skills who have offered to help with courses.

Maureen Stuttaford says she likes the idea of being able to pick up new skills in an informal setting. She added that the computer courses put on by life Lifelong Learning have spurred people on to learn more, but she says there’s also a desire to learn in a social context, meeting with other people.

It’s hoped that off-islanders will be able to participate too. Lesley Hopkins suggested connecting through the Skype webcam.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 8th of December at 10.30am to make it easier for off-island residents to attend.