Jackie Baillie MSP supports learning in later life with U3A
Jackie Baillie MSP supports learning in later life with U3A

Fully and semi-retired people in Scotland have a new way to learn about subjects that interest them thanks to the University of the Third Age (U3A).   More than one per cent of the over 65s are now learning for fun in these locally-led educational groups and research also shows that regularly meeting up with other people brings attendant health and social benefits.

Jackie visited the U3A in Scotland exhibition in the Scottish Parliament this week, and was delighted that a U3A group has been established in Helensburgh. The group will allow retired and semi-retired people in the area to learn about the things that interest them.

Jackie said: “I now have a much clearer understanding of how U3As work.  Older people have a lifetime of knowledge to share at a point when they also have more time to learn.  The range of subjects people want to study informally is purely down to the interests of local members.  It could be art or architecture to opera or origami.  Someone knowledgeable leads the group but really everyone chips in.  I was surprised to find there are already 54 U3As up and down the country, including one in Helensburgh.  It makes sense that going to individual classes and monthly U3A meetings can impact on social isolation.  U3As are a feel-good community resource for those in or facing retirement.  I certainly want to support any new and established U3As in my own constituency, and have expressed my support on social media to say #ISupportU3A

Chair of the U3A in Scotland, Kath Payne said: “We are keen to raise awareness among politicians of the full range of benefits that our voluntary lifetime learning groups can bring in later life.  Our members too have a wealth of experience and expertise which is useful for policy makers to tap into.  We are delighted so many MSPs are pledging to support this lifelong learning phenomenon in Scotland.”


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