The idea for holding an event entitled, ‘Love Learning in Wetherby’, came from similar events held annually in every village in France at the start of the September term.
Wetherby High School provided the venue free of charge with support from their personnel.
The Education Trust for Wetherby, built on the idea Cindy Bentley had brought from Privas, our Twin Town in France, and together with the help of representatives from U3A, Churches Together in Wetherby and Rotary International, organised a wonderful day of information exchange during an event which aimed to provide everyone with a platform to advertise their organisations.
The aim of the day was to encourage the local community to visit and see for themselves exactly what Wetherby has to offer.
Wetherby & District U3A (University of the Third Age) were asked to take part along with around 20 other local organisations, and we were all welcomed by the Deputy Mayor Harry Chapman.
Before the official opening there was a buzz of conversation between members of the various organisations discovering for themselves what is operating in the locality. From major employers, Leeds City Council, in the form of the Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre, the British Library, with its world-class resource on our doorstep at Boston Spa and the University of York, to representatives from the local voluntary groups.
For the young people, the adventurous Wetherby & District Scouting Movement, which has 14 Groups covering all the surrounding villages, is always looking for Leaders to ensure that every young person between 6 and 25, who wants to join Scouts, can.
For those adults who have spare time on their hands, the local Rotary Group offers people ‘the opportunity to do something for their community and the wider world’.
Music has a high profile in Wetherby with its own Championship Silver Band, no experience needed as teaching is a big part of their role within the community.
Friends of Wetherby St James Parish Church, supports the Music Group, the Choir and the Bell Ringers. There is no need to be a Churchgoer if you’re keen to join any of the music groups they support.
Spirit of Harmony, the local male barbershop chorus, offered singing of a different genre, and there was no mistaking Wetherby Musical Theatre Group which offers acting as well singing through its annual pantomime, no auditions needed, just go along.
The local sports groups were well represented - Junior Golf at Wetherby Golf Club, Bowls at Wetherby Bowling Club at Grange Park, and the Wetherby Angling Club.
The latter told me they not only fish the stretch of the River Wharfe from Linton Bridge to Flint Mill but they are also collectively responsible as Trustees for keeping the river in good health, and repairing the river banks, also acting as bailiffs of the River.
They not only offer sporting opportunities for all age groups but also welcome people with practical skills.
For those with an artistic ‘bent’, the Wetherby Poetry Group, Wetherby Art Group and Wetherby Flower Club have flourishing memberships.
Wetherby & District Camera Club gave me the best quote of the day when I asked about cameras; one of their members told me ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’.
So many of the representatives of the exhibiting groups, including the U3A, spoke eloquently of the feeling of ‘being part of a family’ within their particular group, and the support they give and get from within their membership.
I managed to ‘capture’ a few visitors during the day and chat about why they were visiting and what they hoped to find.
Among those I spoke to were newcomers to the area who were delighted to find ‘all this going on’ in the town.
It made them feel welcome and included with the possibility of learning new skills, accepting new challenges, opportunities to offer their own skills to their local community and making friends.
We very much hope this will become an annual event.
To find out about any of the groups mentioned and many others in the Wetherby area try these websites - Welcome to Wetherby, We are Wetherby, Wetherby Street Life, visit the Wetherby Library and twitter and Facebook pages for any of the groups, including the Wetherby & District U3A.
* Send news of your community groups to: firstname.lastname@example.org