Plenty of ways to stimulate my grey matter

I started the year with a resolution to get fitter and thankfully that’s in hand as you can see from my recent blog ‘Taking the plunge’.

So, buoyed by progress made on the physical front, my thoughts turned to what I could do for a mental workout. Fortunately I haven’t had to look far to find plenty of ways to stimulate the grey matter.

The difficulty now will be what to choose.

There’s a whole host of activities provided in our excellent libraries which, as we should all know by now, offer far, far more than just lending books, as important as this service remains.

If you enjoy a good book why not try your hand at writing one, or maybe a short story? If you’re not sure how to start why not try a creative writing class? We have one in North Kensington Library.

My trawl through what’s on offer uncovered the excellent Adult Learners’ Week which runs from Saturday 13 to Friday 19 June. This is the UK’s largest annual festival of learning, inspiring thousands of people to discover how learning can change their lives. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits learning can bring, and to inspire adults of all ages to try something new. Clearly these benefits are considerable.

A report by the University of Exeter refers to research on adult learners that found 71 per cent felt their quality of life had improved and 82 per cent were more confident in their abilities. That’s a very encouraging set of numbers and chimes with our own experiences.

During 2014 nearly 4,000 people (3,921 to be precise) participated in learning through our Adult and Family Learning Service, choosing from a range of 650 courses.

Of these we know that 1,630 learners took their course to the next stage, a further 137 got jobs, 54 took up volunteering and 47 went on to study a course outside the adult learners’ programme.

Proof if you need it that adult learner programmes open up possibilities to people.

This year there are a similar number of courses running at 25 local centres and open to anyone aged from 19 upwards. The great thing about adult learning is that there is no upper age limit on who can register to attend – all it requires is a willingness to have a go.

Subjects on offer range from art and design to digital photography, various language courses – French, Spanish and Japanese to name a few – as well as courses on lip-reading and first aid for children. You can get the full list by emailing

So my search continues – creative writing could give my speeches the killer edge, beginner’s Spanish could help out at holiday time and some IT courses might save me a lot of frustration.