The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a community based organisation that provides educational opportunities to retirees and seniors. Maroondah has two local U3A organisations, with one in Ringwood and in Croydon, these two groups are part of the U3A Network Victoria, which includes other U3As across the State.
This morning I was invited to to be the guest speaker at U3A Croydon Annual General Meeting. U3A Croydon has over 600 members and provides a range of courses, including languages, literature, history, computer studies and handicrafts. The organisation is embarking on developing a business plan to provide a cohesive direction for the future and this demonstrates the professionalism and foresight of its committee and members.
Given that U3A Croydon is a growing organisation, one of their concerns is the ongoing need for community space. As the guest speaker I discussed Council’s current work on assessing community needs, which will assist in identifying potential venues and meeting places for community organisations. This project is expected to be completed towards the end of this year and will provide a centralised resource to locate community venues, making it easier for groups to plan ahead.
Like many other people in our community, the members of U3A Croydon are also concerned about the condition of Ringwood Station and several members raised questions in regard to the lack of easy access in using the Station. While the majority of its members are located in Croydon, it is clear that an issue like Ringwood Station affects the entire municipality, reinforcing the need for further funding to create a safe, integrated and accessible transport interchange.
While the core focus of U3A is education, it is important to recognise how the group assists in providing a social outlet for its members and peer support. The U3A model encourages collaboration between teachers and students to create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment and it is clear from the attendees at the AGM, that U3A Croydon is achieving this objective.
For further details on U3A Croydon please visit home.vicnet.net.au/~unita/index.htm