Yarn bombs decorate village to celebrate U3A

Sherburn-in-Elmet has been decked out in “yarn bombs” to encourage residents to consider joining a community group aimed at combatting loneliness in retirement.

The University of the Third Age (U3A) runs resident-led groups all over the country in interests as diverse as crafts, languages, computers and extreme sports.

And members of the group in Sherburn are encouraging more members to join to make community connections.

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They held an awareness day in the village last week which has led to colourful yarn crafts decorating the streets, as well as a trail to take interested residents to meet current members.

Last Wednesday was the first national U3A Day with events taking place across the UK to highlight the movement - which has some 450,000 members nationwide.

While many of the groups run by U3A have moved to online over the past year, face-to-face activities are returning where coronavirus restrictions permit.

Fran Walker, who is a member of the Sherburn-in-Elmet U3A, has decked her home in nearby Darrington with flags and bunting in the U3A colours of yellow and blue.

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Mrs Walker, 77, said: “I’ve been retired 17 years and I lived a very active life, but when I retired I hit a point where I was feeling a little bit aimless.

“My friend was a member of U3A and ran all sorts of groups herself. When I joined it was just a revelation, there was just so much to do.

“It is for everybody.

“A lot of people who have had a lifetime of working, suddenly find themselves with nothing to do.

“I think a lot of mental health is to do with loneliness.

“The U3A is not just for educated people. We’re trying to move away from that - it’s for everybody to learn, laugh, and live.”

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