Ballymoney U3A, formed in 2015, recently received an Awards for All grant of £6,675 to set up services, activities and events for the retired and semi-retired community in the Ballymoney area .
“We are delighted to have received the Big Lottery Award,” said Paul McCusker, facilitator of the U3A’s golf group. “Having a set of golf clubs allows new members to sample golf and decide whether it is for them. Clubs and accessories are expensive and not everyone can afford to buy, especially if they then discover that the game is not for them.”
The Golf Group meets on Thursdays at The Manor, Kilrea on a weekly basis. The grant is also benefiting the golf, bridge, gardening and art groups by facilitating trips to open gardens, sites of natural beauty and art galleries.
One group member said:
“I joined U3A in September with my sister-in-law. I had lost my husband in June to cancer so I was looking for something different. When I heard that golf was one of the activities offered, I got in touch with the Facilitator. He arranged for my sister-in-law and I to meet him and his wife for practice hitting the ball. The next day we ‘progressed’ to the 9 Hole Course at the Manor Hotel in Kilrea. I was able to borrow a golf bag and trolley that had been acquired with money from the Lottery fund. This is a great bonus for me until I decide if golf is really something that I would like to take up more seriously. I have thoroughly enjoyed the mornings that I have been out golfing especially as everyone has been very friendly and helpful with advice and tips about how to play better golf. Of course having a set of golf clubs to practise with is especially helpful.”
The grant is renewing an old tradition with the creation of the U3A Bridge Group. Initially the group had no venue, no equipment and just a few people interested in playing Bridge. They were able to get access to Ballymoney Community Resource Centre and the Awards for All grant enabled the purchase of 12 bridge tables, cards and other essential items. The group now have the equipment to run sessions for beginners and experienced players. All of them enjoy playing Bridge using their new equipment in a convenient, appropriate facility. The group has grown from about 5 members in June to 25 members in October.
The Ballymoney U3A also provides aerobics, arts & crafts, Bridge, a book club, creative Writing, gardening, IT, family history, local history, golf, play readings, photography, walking, yoga and more.