"Yarn bombs" cover North Yorkshire village as residents encouraged to sign up to community group U3A

A village in North Yorkshire has been decked out in “yarn bombs” to encourage residents to consider joining a community group aimed at combatting loneliness in retirement.

Lorna Pope and Viv Simpson, members of Sherburn U3A, took part in the yarn-bombing effort Photo: Alex Svenson

The University of the Third Age (U3A) runs resident-led groups all over the country in interests as diverse as crafts, languages, computers and extreme sports.

And members of the group in Sherburn-in-Elmet are encouraging more members to join to make community connections.

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They held an awareness day in the village yesterday which has led to colourful yarn crafts decorating the streets, as well as a trail to take interested residents to meet current members.

Yesterday was the first national U3A Day with events taking place across the UK to highlight the movement - which has some 450,000 members nationwide.

While many of the groups run by U3A have moved to online over the past year, face-to-face activities are returning where coronavirus restrictions permit.

Fran Walker, who is a member of the Sherburn-in-Elmet U3A, has decked in home in nearby Darrington with flags and bunting in the U3A colours of yellow and blue.

Mrs Walker, 77, said: “I’ve been retired 17 years and I lived a very active life, but when I retired I hit a point where I was feeling a little bit aimless.

“My friend was a member of U3A and ran all sorts of groups herself. When I joined it was just a revelation, there was just so much to do.

“It is for everybody. A lot of people who have had a lifetime of working, suddenly find themselves with nothing to do. I think a lot of mental health is to do with loneliness.

“The U3A is not just for educated people. We’re trying to move away from that - it’s for everybody to learn, laugh, and live.”