SHARED LEARNING PROJECTS -- IDEAS AND EXAMPLES
IDEA: A WALKS LEAFLET
- work with a local organisation such as Age UK or your local carers support group etc. on walks with wheelchair users, walks with grandchildren, one-mile walks with no hills or stiles.
- work with local churches, parks and county wildlife organisations on what to see in local green spaces at different times of year
- think about pleasant walks linking green spaces in urban areas
- history/heritage walks can describe what was there before, using local people’s memories of shops and buildings they remember from when they were young. History of your High Street.
- involve as many U3A groups as possible, not only walking groups, but local history, creative writing, photography, art, natural history.
Many U3As have produced a walks booklet or a leaflet of some kind. This is a good way of involving a group of U3As from one area. “As Thame Goes By” was produced by Chinnor, Hadenham, Ridgeway, Greater Thame and Thame and District U3As within the Thames Valley Network and details 15 walks along and around the River Thame.
“Old Man River” in Sources Archive issue 60 January 2017
The full article can be seen by looking under Resources on the U3A National website and then going to Publications for the Sources Archive. A leaflet was produced for a Kings Lynn U3A SLP called “Merchant’s Houses in the 18th and 19th centuries” as part of a project to celebrate the Hanse Festival. Further details posted 28th January 2018 in Sources Online on the National U3A website and in the U3A Newsletter of October 2018.
PHILATELIC SHARED LEARNING PROJECT IN LONDON
“Until I did this project I did not realise that there was so much involved in “stamp collecting” and what an interesting history The Royal Philatelic Society London has. The opportunity to research and handle the Society’s precious objects has been a unique experience.” U3A SLP volunteer, Carole Haskel posted on 12th August 2018 on Sources Online on the National U3A website
SLP WITH THORPE PERROW ARBORETUM IN YORKSHIRE
A group of volunteers from Bedale and District U3A took part in a Shared Learning Project with a local landmark – the Thorp Perrow Arboretum in North Yorkshire – recording the details of around 140 trees in their ancient tree collection.
Faith Douglas the Curator at Thorpe Perrow said: “The work and time that Beryl and her team have put in has been amazing and is valued by us all at Thorp Perrow. I would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work and time put in to help out on such an important project for the future. I hope that in doing so the team have not only had the chance to get outdoors and enjoy the wonder of trees and the Arboretum in general, but also that they have learnt something from this project and found it interesting. Posted on Sources Online 27th June 2018 on the U3A Natiuonal website.
A STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR A CHURCH IN UPHOLLAND, LANCASHIRE
Statements of Significance are documents produced for public buildings and are often used in connection with planning applications. However, they have a wider use. They describe the history and function of the building and its importance and relevance to the community that it serves. Every public building, including places of worship, should have a Statement of Significance. This one was produced through a Shared Learning Project between the church and Upholland and District U3A.
See Sources Archive under Resources and then look at Publications on National U3A website and look at Sources January 2013 number 48 for full details of this SLP.
THE MEMORY BOXES SLP
Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon, Hertford shire, was considering a project to develop a collection of Reminiscence Boxes to loan out to groups working with people suffering from alzheimers, dementia, visual impairment, learning difficulties, or speech and language problems. Reminiscence therapy is a way of tapping into the longterm memory of people with short-term memory problems, through the presentation of objects, pictures, sounds, smells and textures. At the same time, the Lea Valley U3A committee approached Lowewood Museum with a view to setting up a Shared Learning Project.
The aim of the project was to provide objects which could be handled and which would stimulate memories and enjoyment for those involved.
Members collected objects from charity shops, car boot sales, family and freinds with additional special items from the museum. Themes emerged, which were likely to cover broad areas of interest and experience from the 1940s to the present day. The boxes have been borrowed many times and are proving very successful. The project demonstrates what a valuable contribution U3A can make to their local community. The full article can be seen by looking under Resources on the U3A National website and then going to Publications for the Sources Archive. Sources February 2016 No 57
LONDON’S LOST HISTORIES: EXAMINING HEARTH TAX RECORDS SLP IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ROEHAMPTON UNIVERSITY.
The team investigated the people who were listed in the Hearth Tax Records of the 1660s. One of the listed names was Thomas Morris at The Water House. This illustration was found on the internet. It depicts a demonstration of a water pump designed by the Morris family, pumping a jet of water strong enough to shoot over the parish church. This background research fleshed out the bare entry in the records and brought history to life.
See Sources Archive for July 2018 on the Sources Online webpage of the National U3A website
FOR FURTHER FURTHER EXAMPLES OF SHARED LEARNING PROJECTS PLEASE BROWSE THE U3A RESEARCH DATABASE:
If you would like further information about any type of enquiry led learning in U3A you can contact Ann Higgins for the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and Jennifer Simpson for the southern part of the region including Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. If you look at the U3A National website and go to Resources and scroll down you will find lots of information about the U3A Research Network and if you click on this link it will take you to the U3A Research Database where you will find all the projects we know about all over the UK including those specific to this region.
We are always happy to give a presentation about SLPs/Research in U3A to any group and to help you with any project you have in mind.
SLP Contact, Eastern Region