Everything Else

Overcoming barriers to enjoy later life

David, a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, shares some advice on how all members can fully participate in u3a activities and new experiences.

Want to try paddling? It doesn’t matter if you can’t see.

No, I’m not talking about rolling up your trousers on the beach, but about canoeing!

As a teenager I had enjoyed canoeing with my scout troop. Then for too many decades I had stayed on dry land. Two and a half years ago I joined the paddling group run by East Antrim u3a. The fact that I was blind proved no barrier. The organiser of the group sent me written descriptions of the various strokes which the other members would have learned through diagrams or visual demonstration. People were always on hand to help with getting in or out of the boats and staggering up the bank to the picnic site. We have been on many different rivers in Northern Ireland, on peaceful waters amongst birdsong and, often, in the sunshine. Equally importantly, we have all had good craic, as we say in Ireland!

If you think you would enjoy this activity, whether or not you can see, don’t be apprehensive, at least dip your toe in the water!

Nick is the u3a subject adviser for “boating”, which appears to include canoeing. Nick can be contacted via the Boating Subject Advice page. 

Can you hear me?

Have you ever been irritated by a speaker who announces “I don’t need a mic, I can speak loudly enough!” and then mumbles their way through the presentation so that people at the back can’t quite catch half what they are saying?

Are you frustrated when you can’t hear a question from the floor and so don’t understand the speaker’s answer?

It’s not unusual to have some degree of hearing loss. Meetings can be so much more inclusive if speakers are thoughtful and inclusive in the way they perform their role.

Why not issue your guests with our guidance Notes for speakers, which give practical tips on inclusive meetings. The D&I Committee will be happy to try to answer any questions that arise from this.


Read more from the Diversity and Inclusion committee on the u3a website.