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U3a group is a great way to meet new people, says Grantham Councillor Graham Jeal

There are many groups that provide a social space for people, writes Grantham Councillor Graham Jeal.

Fathers day always reminds me of a discussion I once had about being a Revolutionary Trade Union baron. Years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea of the International Trade Union of Dads with Daughters for those outnumbered domestically.

Our aims, through collective bargaining, might include pushing back on television remote control monopolisation; more fairness in bathroom access; or to represent those unfairly disciplined in “right thing right bin” disputes.

Coun Graham Jeal
Coun Graham Jeal

Whilst the General Secretary would be elected in a traditional closed shop single member shortlist appointment, our trade union failed to gather the momentum it deserved. This is perhaps because it isn’t a noble pursuit. I see so many great civic groups doing so much across our district – true noble pursuits.

Several years ago as Mayor of Grantham, a great privilege was to meet so many of these community organisations and groups. Last month, on the anniversary of Operation Chastise (the Dambusters raid) I had the pleasure of hosting the U3A History Interest Group for a talk on the role of Grantham in that raid.

Established in the 1960s by a retired academic, the ‘University of the Third Age’ (U3A) now has regional U3A Groups across the UK. In U3A Grantham, there are over 550 members across over 50 different Interest Groups. Activities include history, languages, badminton, bridge, singing, photography and many more subjects.

An A to Z from armchair travel to yoga (A to Y at least). Whilst the membership is generally for individuals who are no longer in full time employment, U3A tries to be as inclusive and outward looking as possible with its membership - there will be a group in your area. www.u3a.org.uk

Many of its members are individuals who have moved to the area and are looking to find like minded people and build friendship groups. After all we are social animals, it is a great way to get to know a larger group of people.

It is critical to keep the mind and body active as children move away or as work slows down. Meeting new people, discussing a subject you might not have thought about, learning a language, playing a new sport , learning Mahjong – all of which serve to keep active, keep social and move you forwards.

Learning and socialising is living. A true noble pursuit – unlike the call to arms ‘Dads of the world unite!’

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