The u3a (the university of the third age) is a UK-wide co-operative of more than 1,000 locally-run organisations that provide opportunities for those no longer in full-time work to come together and learn for fun.
The Isle of Arran u3a began just over 2 years ago and a number of interest groups were set up to bring likeminded members together to explore new ideas, skills and interests together. Covid intervened but several groups were able to continue by using Zoom. This proved to be a valuable source of social contact for many throughout the lockdowns as well as keeping alive interest in meeting and continuing to learn.
Now that we are returning to more normal times, groups are taking the opportunity to meet face-to-face, plan visits and take part in outdoor activities such as Gardening and Walking. Groups are very informal with members agreeing the agenda and experience has shown that they are keen to share knowledge and skills, do research and contribute ideas… and there is always time for a social chat.
There is a full list of functioning Groups on the Isle of Arran u3a website. They include languages (French and Italian), badminton, local history, learning to play the ukulele or the fiddle and creative writing. A computing skills group is also to start soon and others will follow.
The Isle of Arran u3a also held its first face-to-face social meeting of 2022 for all members on 24th February at Brodick Golf Club. Social meetings will take place from 2-4 pm on the last Thursday of the month until June and then from September to December, with a speaker and plenty of time for refreshments and a chat.
The next meeting will be on April 28th when William Cowell, former Custodian of Brodick Castle, will give a talk on the Castle’s history, at Brodick Golf Club.
If you are interested in the u3a and would like to learn more, the monthly meetings are a good opportunity to meet members and group organisers and find out more about what the Isle of Arran u3a has to offer. Alternatively, you can contact committee members through the website.
Members of all local u3as also have access to national u3a on-line resources, including talks, workshops and forums on the Online Across Scotland platform.
We plan to follow this article in future editions of the Voice with reports from members of the various groups.
With many thanks to members of the Isle of Arran u3a committee for contributing this article, and we look forward to hearing more from the u3a groups in the future!
Featured image shows the IoA u3a Ukulele players. Photo credit: IoA u3a