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Previously funded projects

Find out more about previously funded projects

“Serious study” in later life: what are the implications for quality of life, personal wellbeing, and effective citizenship?

Caroline Holland, John  Miles, Jonathan Hughes, Hilary Farnworth, Ransackers Association

This project builds upon the work of the Ransackers Association, enabling people aged 55 and over, with no previous experience of higher education, to undertake residential courses focusing on study skills & IT. The research project aimed to explore the value, meaning and impact of ‘serious study’ in later life from the older learners’ perspective.  The team found that there were many benefits to later life study, such as helping people to discover new lifecourse directions, but also uncovered several reasons why serious study was not undertaken earlier, including gendered expectations and class constraints.

Ransackers Association - Serious Study for Older People

Enhancing Lifelong Learning for Seniors (ELLFS)

Rebecca Patterson, Suzanne Moffatt, Maureen Smith, Jessica Scott, Judith Bell, Norman Bell and Christopher McLoughlin, Newcastle University and Hartlepool and District U3A

This research project was aimed at improving the social inclusivity of Hartlepool and District University of the Third Age. Using a co-production approach, it explored reasons why the membership of the University of Third Age (H&DU3A) does not reflect the socio-demographic make-up of the local area. The project identified that there were many group opportunities for retirees in Hartlepool, and that individuals were enthusiastic about remaining active in retirement through engaging in learning, exercise, voluntary and social opportunities. There was a positive response to the concept of the U3A and several expressed a desire to become a member. Learning about what the U3A offered made participants well-disposed to joining the organization and dispelled middle-class myths which may have prevented interest previously.

Older people’s views on and experiences of getting help and support from neighbours

Janet Grime, Elizabeth Porter and Pamela Stephens, Tynedale U3A

The aim of this research project was to increase understanding of the role and potential of neighbours in providing help and support to older people living in the community, through an exploration of older people’s perceptions and experiences of seeking and receiving help from neighbours. The team discovered that building neighbourly relationships could be challenging, and is impeded by lack of communal spaces, a floating population, and people being at work and away from the neighbourhood during the day. This means that those who have difficulty walking find it difficult to build social networks. The potential of neighbours to provide help and support is dependent on fostering ways to build ordinary neighbourly relationships, not on trying to build extraordinary ones solely for the purpose of providing help and support.

Dementia: Impact on relationships

Lynda Hogg

"As a person with a diagnosis of dementia, I understand what it is like to live with the illness and the impact it can have on relationships”. (Lynda)

Dementia, Impact on Relationships explored the effect a diagnosis of dementia had on couples’ relationships, from both of their perspectives. Lynda’s work identified a huge shift in partnership dynamics when one partner receives the diagnosis of dementia, whereby the couple relationship still exists, but is secondary to the carer or person with the diagnosis.