Don’t let later years be devoid of learning and discovery; pick up new skills and maybe discover a fresh talent with these senior-friendly classes around Wigan.
Getting older doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Keep curiosity alive and the mind active by getting involved in skill or art-based classes that can introduce seniors to whole new hobbies, passions, and help make new friends.
From getting to grips with modern technology to learning a new hobby or skill, there’s plenty out there in the world of adult learning classes that is great for more elderly learners and those of all ages, so get out there with your loved ones and discover something new!
North of the river and just to the west of the town centre off Parson’s Way is Wigan & Leigh College, which offers a huge range of adult learning courses in everything from floristry to photography to scientific diplomas (because you’re never too old to start wearing a lab coat)!
There are plenty of part time and evening classes on offer here, as well as distance learning options for seniors who may live a little further away, with in-person classes taking place at various local centres associated with the campus. Fees vary but there is often help available for the pricier courses, and there are also regular “taster days” and evenings where visitors can sit in on a class or two that they’re interested in to see if it’s the sort of thing they’d be willing to pay for.
While it won’t be right for every elderly person to revisit their GCSEs or pursue a diploma in something, those who are craving a mental challenge and are keen to return to a classroom environment to keep their grey matter working are bound to find something here that they’ll enjoy. The college also has some outstanding facilities, most open to all visitors rather than just students, from the outstanding Wheel Restaurant run by Catering & Hospitality students, to the lovely Flower Shop run by floristry students and their tutors. If you’ve got a knowledge-hungry senior citizen in your life, take them for a swing by the college, or check out Wigan Council’s wide-ranging set of adult learning courses around the area for even more options.
Close to Wigan Wallgate train station in the centre of town, in the Old Courts off Crawford Street, you’ll find Wigan STEAM, a fantastic community arts organisation that offers tons of accessible artistic activities and classes for all ages. Amongst their many offerings are their weekly TERM-associated art classes, where experienced and highly qualified tutors guide students online through amazing topics around themed life drawing and practical art history. Classes are streamed online through Zoom so super accessible for elderly participants at home, and tickets are “pay as you feel” from just £8 to help support the group’s artists. All you need is a web connection and something to create with, even if that’s just some paper and pencils!
Another offering from the fine folks at Wigan STEAM, this time taking place in person at The Old Courts building itself, Pottery Nights take place every Monday evening from half past six to half past eight. Classes are in the Community Room of the Old Courts which is fully wheelchair accessible and have accessible toilet facilities, and the building is just five minutes from the nearest bus station, plus Blue Badge holders can park on the single yellow line on Crawford Street for up to three hours without charge which more than covers the class time.
Tickets are just £15 and include all materials and tools required – including access to the kiln for firing – so seniors can attend this great sit-down class with an expert ceramicist who guides the class through the entire hand built pottery process. from clay preparation to designing, shaping, painting and finalising each piece. Do be aware that to complete a whole piece you’ll need to book at least two sessions though – pots need time to dry!
Just off Spencer Road, north of the main city centre and inside Whitley Methodist Church, you can find the meeting spot for the Wigan Photographic Society, a keen and enthusiastic group who meet each Tuesday evening between half past seven and ten PM. The group has been established since 1937 and are always welcoming of new members – it costs just £40 a year to join with a £2 per meeting fee to help cover expenses. As well as hosting monthly competitions and showcase/critique sessions, the club also does plenty of tutorials, presentations and mentor evenings to help members improve their skills. Everyone is welcomed, from seasoned photographers to brand new hobbyists looking to get off on the right foot – and no, you don’t need a hugely expensive camera just to get started, so for seniors turning into a later life shutterbug could be the perfect new skill to learn!
Just outside central Wigan in the town of Standish, you’ll fine Angel & Acorn at number 42 on the High Street. The lovely Lisa and Sheena run their charmingly-named Knit & Natter groups on both Wednesday evenings (7-9pm) and Saturday afternoons (1-3pm) as well as a range of great workshops and courses for everyone from first-time knitters to seasoned needle pros who want to delve into crochet, amigurumi and other wonderful woollen creations. Workshops start at just £10, although you will need to pay at least a deposit to secure your place in advance, and are held upstairs at the shop with refreshments and discounted material bundles typically provided too.
A hidden gem of a crafts and hobbies tutoring group, found southwest of the main town centre on Meyrick Street, the Wigan Workshop CIC is a hub of handy hobby activity and projects. As well as shop their handmade homewares or rent their craft space, visitors can join in their range of workshops led by a variety of experts. Past workshops have covered everything from sewing and embroidery to basic home carpentry, with popular classes including DIY for women and craft coffee mornings. Drop a note to the group on Facebook or join their mailing list to stay up to date with the latest activities on offer – seniors with a hankering for handiwork will be bound to find something in the Workshop’s portfolio that tickles their fancy!
Hosted at a selection of easy-to-reach spots around central Wigan, reuse and recycling experts ReMade Wigan offer a range of great workshops and classes at bargain basement prices (including some free!) for all skill levels and ages. From delicate decoupage to canvas art, furniture painting and even Christmas Eve box building, there’s something for everyone who wants to learn a new skill and keep their hands busy while making something beautiful. Older ladies in particular may be interested in the highly popular women’s-only classes, although there’s no shortage of camaraderie at any of these meet-ups, with tea and biscuits a firm fixture on the schedule of every class that takes place.
Whether you’re keen to upskill with new tech, grab a new qualification for the sense of achievement, or just fancy learning the ropes of a new and fun passtime, there’s a senior-friendly adult learning class somewhere in the Wigan area that is bound to suit everyone.
Learn more about supported living or companionship for keeping the mind sharp in old age, and find out whether home care in Wigan could be the right choice for your elderly loved ones, by getting in touch with our local team today.