Universities of the Third Age (U3A) are a global movement which provides education and life-long learning for retirees. The concept of U3As began in France in 1972 and spread quickly throughout the World, including Australia. Thirty years ago, Ringwood became the home to one of the very first U3As within Victoria, based at Norwood Hall along Warrandyte Road in Ringwood North.
This afternoon I attended a luncheon to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ringwood U3A, where past and current members reflected on the past thirty years and the ongoing interest in U3As. Twenty-five years ago U3As were a new and novel concept and the establishment of Ringwood’s U3A was the result of determination and ongoing support from several founding members. This dedication has delivered results, with the Ringwood U3A flourishing and offering a wide variety of courses to cater to a diverse range of interests.
As part of the proceedings I was invited to speak at the celebrations, where I reiterated the importance of life-long education and congratulated the many people involved in their ongoing support to the Ringwood U3A. I also discussed the future opportunities that may exist through Council’s assessment of community facilities. This assessment will assist in providing information on available community space, assisting community groups in finding locations for their activities.
In addition, Maroondah Council is currently conducting an assessment of Norwood Hall, prompted by the desired relocation of North Ringwood Community House and this will provide an opportunity to explore options to better cater for the needs of the existing groups at Norwood Hall.
Community organisations like the Ringwood U3A provide new opportunities for seniors, as well as reducing social isolation and promoting active participation within our community. I look forward to seeing many years of future success for the Ringwood U3A.