University of the Third Age (u3a) in Craven has been going for 40 years. Open to anyone no longer in full-time work, its aim is to encourage people to make more of their increased leisure time, to explore new ideas, learn new skills and enrich their lives.

u3a programme secretary, Jacqui Eames explains more.

IN existence for 40 years, Craven u3a’s mission has remained a constant: to enrich members lives.

We urge new residents and those who have lived in the area all their life to make the most of their greater leisure. Explore new ideas; learn new skills; share interests and be creative, from walking, gardening, learning a foreign language, art history, trains and metal detecting.

We all want to stay mentally and physically active and joining us for a mere £33 annually, avoids expensive gym membership and trips to the cinema for example. Very welcome in these tough days of rising prices.

Based in Skipton, but with members from across the area and a large number of different venues, Craven u3a’s new programme starts in September. Many courses run all year.

Potential new members can come to our open event on Tuesday, August 9 from 2pm to 4 p.m. at Skipton Town Hall and discover a wealth of possibilities and meet our friendly group leaders.

Enrolment opens then so to get your first choices it’s useful to come along to the event. Help desks will be available for anyone wanting to join as a member or enrol for courses.

Help desks are also available on Monday August 1 and August 8 from 10am to 12 midday at St Stephen’s Church, Skipton.

Our new committee wanted to offer a really good range of opportunities and asked our voluntary group leaders to develop even more activities-in fact they have created a stunning 68.

We hope people will feel spoilt for choice but if you want something to go to every day of the week, that is perfectly possible .To make members’ choices more straightforward, we have organised activities into six areas, all represented at the open event.

Creative arts and crafts has the widest range of opportunities including: five art classes; five ways to make music, and courses in a variety of crafts including quilting, woodturning and flower arrangement.

Why not try your hand at calligraphy or creative writing or enjoy other people’s talents by exploring poetry or drama or listening to popular music from the 1920s-70’s. Or join our newsletter team who will, among other things, be furnishing the Craven Herald with regular updates on our activities and events.

Indoor fun, games and fitness includes a range of sports such as table tennis, croquet and bowls; three exercise groups at different intensity levels, two Bridge groups and Maj Jong.

‘Out and about’ provides outdoor activities. A range of walking groups runs the gamut from relatively long hikes to short ambles or ‘walks to lunch’. Or choose motorcycling! There’s a popular birdwatching group, a more niche metal detecting one and opportunities to grow your own at gardening or allotments.

Many members, want to travel so learning a European language is invaluable. ‘World languages and cinema’ offers French, German, Spanish and Italian at different levels. To combine listening practice with enjoying quality world films, visit our thrice weekly world film showings at Champions Church, Skipton. One afternoon focuses on French Cinema, the other two on different world cinema such as Japanese and Scandinavian movies.

‘People and places in time and spaces’ provides social, local and world history, a geography forum and geology walks not to mention politics discussion and exploring mythology.

The wonders of science and technology are explored in a range of courses including astronomy, coastal navigation, the ever popular railways meetings and stories of scientists. There’s also a science and technology discussion group and that vital life skill these days, safety on the web.

If you simply want to meet new friends and relax, we have our weekly coffee and chat and monthly meetings on the first Saturday morning of the month. Enjoy coffee, delicious home-made cakes and an interesting talk.

I joined the committee and lead the ‘world of art’ group because I wanted to give something back. Since I retired to the Dales, the u3a has been an absolute life line. I have made friends, kept mentally and physically active and learnt a lot.

Starting with birdwatching and advanced French, I added history of art and French cinema. I run the monthly meetings and urge readers to come along and enjoy a sociable Saturday morning – or, indeed offer a talk.

Jacqui can be contacted by email:

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Current Members can renew using this Beacon link