Sheffield u3a members to play active role in Healthy Lifespan Institute Research

The Healthy Lifespan Institute and Sheffield u3a (formerly University of the Third Age) have formed a partnership to ensure research into healthy ageing incorporates the lived experiences of older people.

man using tablet and woman using laptop

u3a is an international movement of retired and semi retired people who come together to continue their educational, social, creative, health and well-being interests in a friendly and informal environment. With nearly 3000 members and 200 interest groups, Sheffield is the largest u3a in the UK.

One of the core principles of the Healthy Lifespan Institute is to incorporate the lived experiences of patients, service users, carers and other service providers into its ageing research. The partnership with Sheffield u3a will give Healthy Lifespan researchers the opportunity to embed the insight and expertise of u3a members into research activity, with a particular focus on those experiencing multimorbidity, the presence of two or more chronic health conditions.

Our institute rejects the notion that academics are the sole experts in ageing and health related research. We must collaborate with people from all sections of society if we are to produce recommendations for healthy ageing practises that work in the real-life contexts of how we live. Our partnership with Sheffield u3a will provide a valuable bridge between our academic researchers and u3a members."

Prof Alan Walker

Co-Director of the Healthy Lifespan Institute, University of Sheffield

The partnership between the Healthy Lifespan Institute and Sheffield u3a has established the following aims:

●  To facilitate a mutual exchange of ideas and information concerning The Healthy Lifespan Institute’s research agenda

●  To empower u3a members to act as experts by experience in advising Healthy Lifespan research projects

●  To contribute to u3a seminars and events with the latest research into healthy ageing as produced by members of the Healthy Lifespan Institute

●  To establish a centre of excellence in the practice of co-production for research on multimorbidity.

To achieve these aims, The Healthy Lifespan Institute and Sheffield u3a have created a Shared Learning and Research Advisory Group. The group will review proposed and active research projects being undertaken by researchers in the Healthy Lifespan Institute and will identify opportunities for knowledge exchange activities between academic researchers and u3a members.

Sheffield u3a members can participate in a huge range of activities and pursue new interests in a mutually supportive and self-organising environment. There are no entry requirements to the u3a other than being in their “third age”, usually retired or semi-retired and having the time and commitment to continue learning through self help. We support inter-generational learning and dialogue. We are keen to participate in research projects which are relevant to our members and are delighted to have established a relationship with HELSI for this purpose."

Philip Long

Member of Sheffield u3a Shared Learning and Research Project Group

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