As part of the public submissions to the Committee of Inquiry into Social Isolation and Loneliness in Queensland, U3A Network President, Gail Bonser, prepared a submission on the asset value of U3A in mitigating the effects of isolation and loneliness in the aged demographic.
The opening statement in that submission said, “The position of U3A Network Queensland is that Universities of the Third Age (U3As) and their programs are excellent antidotes to loneliness and social isolation. U3As are community based, volunteer run associations that provide older retired and semi-retired persons with a new place to belong, new friendship groups and an opportunity to contribute or participate in an area where they feel valued. U3A offers age appropriate, intellectually stimulating programs; improvement and maintenance of physical skills; social activities and friendship.”
As a consequence of that submission, representatives of the Network Management Committee were invited as witnesses to the Inquiry held at Parliament House on 13 September.
President Gail Bonser made an opening statement to the Inquiry highlighting the difference U3As across Queensland, and indeed nationally and internationally, make in promoting inclusion and active ageing in the U3A membership.
“Within the 35 communities where we have a presence, the social connectivity U3As provide, in addition to the quality of our programs and the sense of purpose held by our members, all assist in mitigating social isolation and loneliness in these communities,” Gail Bonser said in the opening statement to Committee Members of the Inquiry.