Measures welcomed to safeguard town’s elderly
As tighter coronavirus restrictions took hold this week, Alsager’s U3A announced it was suspending all indoor activities for four weeks with immediate effect.
Local leaders have welcomed the precautionary measure, calling it the “safest thing to do”.
The announcement came just days after a councillor expressed concern for the wellbeing of the local elderly after the borough was placed in the “high risk” tier two category meaning less interaction between households.
Cheshire East Council’s portfolio for children and families Coun Kathryn Flavell told the Chronicle: “I’m having concerns for people ending up in social isolation again.
“With winter and dark days approaching, it is going to be even more difficult for some people.”
The U3A (University of the third age) has thousands of members across the country who are in their “third age” or retirement. The organisation offers many different clubs and activities for people to learn a new skill and socialise.
Liberal Democrat Coun Phil Williams who represents the town at borough level said: “Organisations like the U3A are entitled to set their own bar within the Government guidelines and I think it is probably right to err on the side of caution given the age range of its members.
“Alsager in general has got off fairly luckily so far, but there seems to be an increasing number of incidents in place, like the school. On the whole, the community has rallied to do its best in the face of the virus and the volunteer sector has been outstanding. We can’t be too careful.”
The chair of Alsager Town Council, Rod Fletcher said: “It’s the safest thing to do because a lot of its members are over 60, and it would be difficult to hold meetings outdoors in winter temperatures, and when you are only allowed to meet in groups of more than six.”
In Alsager, the U3A’s classes include Ancient Greek language; bowls; Brush up Your French, creative writing; cycling; discussion; family history; French self help; keep active to music; knitting and crochet; photo editing; short story study; table tennis; talk times; ukulele and walking.
All of the above classes that are run indoors, usually at The Civic, have now been suspended.
In a statement on its website, the Alsager branch of the U3A posted: “In light of the increasing spread of coronavirus in the North West and taking into account the vulnerability of the U3A age group, the Alsager U3A committee has taken the decision to suspend all indoor activities for a period of four weeks with immediate effect. This will be reviewed at the next committee meeting on Wednesday, 11th November.
“We recognised that social interaction in small groups in very important for our members' personal wellbeing. However, our primary focus is our members' physical safety.”
Roger Poole, chair of Alsager and District U3A, said: “These are exceptional times but we will do everything possible to ensure all our members stay connected and stay safe.”
The group has posted detailed information online for its members on how to Facetime and Zoom so that they can stay in touch with their family and friends online.