Helping hand to prevent retired villagers becoming isolated

HELPING ANNESLEY AND NEWSTEAD -- Debbie Widdowson (left), of Gedling Borough Council, and Karen Taylor, of U3A.
HELPING ANNESLEY AND NEWSTEAD -- Debbie Widdowson (left), of Gedling Borough Council, and Karen Taylor, of U3A.

Retired and semi-retired villagers of Annesley and Newstead are to be given a helping hand through the next phase of their lives.

It is feared that many elderly people become isolated when no longer in full-time work, especially in small villages. However, Gedling Borough Council has joined forces with the University of the Third Age (U3A) group to help create fresh opportunities and make new friends.

An informal meeting is being held at Newstead Community Centre on Wednesday 27th May (2 pm) when members of U3A will be on hand to meet Newstead people looking to develop new leisure interests. Speakers will also describe how U3A is organised nationally, and it is hoped that a local U3A can be formed in Annesley and Newstead.

“The council is delighted to support this initiative,” said Debbie Widdowson, who is Gedling’s locality co-ordinator for community development in Newstead. “We have done a lot of work with children, families and young people of the villages, so it will be good to see opportunities for older residents too.”

The U3A movement gives retired and semi-retired people the chance to improve the quality of their lives by coming together, sharing their skills and life-experiences and pursuing their interests.

At the heart of each local U3A, leisure groups are set up, focusing on all kinds of topics such as antiques, dining, holidays, theatre visits, bowls, wine appreciation, art, amateur dramatics -- in fact anything members might be keen on.

Hundreds of local U3As have been formed up and down the country. All are independent, self-managed and self-funded.