In partnership with Comic Relief

Active Voices is a Comic Relief funded project devised by the WEA in conjunction with Newcastle University and the Elders’ Council of Newcastle which aims to develop the skills and knowledge of  people aged 50 and over who wish to play a more active part in their communities, and to give them space to:

  • talk about what gives their lives meaning
  • change things
  • do something creative
  • look after their communities and themselves
  • develop new skills
  • explore a range of interesting and topical issues
  • carry out practical projects
  • try new experience
  • develop a campaign 
  • have some fun
  • make new friends 

Running until the end of July 2020, the project provides free taster sessions and courses, enabling groups to work together to develop the self-knowledge and skills to look after their communities and themselves, how to make the most of their time outside of work, and how they can positively approach major life changes such as retirement or reduction in working hours. Each Active Voices course runs for 6 or 7 sessions of 3 hours each with lunch/refreshments as part of the social aspect.  

Activities (chosen according to the group’s identified needs) include:

  • Personal development, making your voice heard in your community, identifying issues to tackle or positive things to promote
  • Brain gym and Conversation Cards exercises, quizzes* and discussion
  • Staying active and healthy (on a variety of levels)
  • Assertiveness and negotiation skills

Creative and skills based activities can include:

  • Banner-making
  • Arts and crafts / collages
  • Singing/songwriting
  • Creative writing
  • Drama/video/performance
  • Web/social media skills

Topics and campaigns to date have included:

  • Public transport and accessibility (inviting Nexus to hear these issues)
  • Highlighting that older people are interested in ecology
  • Stories of migration
  • Good and practice in handling the particular issues of carers
  • Myths and legends – challenging myths about ageing.
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