Sharing opportunities

Myrtleford moves to establish U3A branch for older people

OPPORTUNITY: U3A Network development and support officer Anne Grigg, from Melbourne, with Pauline Tanasković and Wendy Damaschi at last week’s second meeting to explore the development of a Myrtleford U3A branch. PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg

MYRTLEFORD is to pursue the development of a U3A branch to enable the community’s older people to build and share education and social opportunities.

Bright and Mount Beauty, relative to the populations of those communities, already have two of the largest branches of what is formally known as University of the Third Age in Victoria’s 107-strong U3A branch network.

The organisation developed in France in 1973 to offer scope for older people in cities, towns and other communities to participate in courses at local universities.

The model was subsequently adapted in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia to encourage ‘peer learning’ – an informal way in which people share lifetime experience, knowledge and skills with others in community-based courses.

Jan Mock, who has been engaged by Alpine Shire Council to shape some community projects – including ways to encourage more activities in Myrtleford Senior Citizens’ Centre – said interested people in Myrtleford had now met twice to explore prospects for a U3A branch.

At the second meeting, last week, 13 people attending had agreed to form a steering group to guide the next steps towards branch establishment.

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