The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) was founded in 1903 and continues today to provide high quality, professional education into the heart of communities. Its original goal was to raise the level of literacy and numeracy among the under-privileged groups mainly in large cities. Classes would be offered without charge to factory and industry workers often in church halls or libraries. The scheme was enormously successful and the WEA grew with the demand and its offer fanned out across the country.

Today, this charitable organisation has thousands of members, teachers and facilitators. Much of the work lies in partnership with Job Centres where unemployed people can attend courses to increase or improve their skill bases in order to gain employment in today’s world. Another very successful branch of the organisation works closely with immigrants into Britain helping them to integrate into communities through language and cultural classes.

However, the WEA also recognise that rural communities have a need as well and there is a firm and long-standing network of small branches in market towns and villages. Suffolk once had 39 branches to boast of. This is now reduced but the branches are no less important in providing inspiration, stimulation and education to their members. These branches tend to concentrate on cultural, historical and intellectual development of their audiences and offer a meeting place for discussion and debate as well as a social forum.

In Stradbroke, there has been a kaleidoscope of opportunity with short courses on Art, Nature, History, Literature, Philosophy and so on. We have also had single lectures on diverse subjects eg Charles Dickens, India, Oliver Cromwell, Hollywood Greats and others. The next course is From Page to Screen – Adapting Literature for the Movies that begins on January 24th at 2.15pm in the community centre.

This year the Stradbroke branch is forming a partnership with the Eye branch so that we can expand our offer to the local community. The short courses will continue to take place in Eye while in Stradbroke we shall be focusing on one day or half day courses on more diverse topics such as Improving Your IT skills, Mindfulness and creative arts. Look out for details regarding these in the coming months.

If you would like to find out more about the WEA do visit their website where you will also find all their courses.

If you wish to find out about any of the Eye and Stradbroke courses please contact me on: or ring me on: 07730011951