WEA in Leicestershire

A site for members and volunteers, by volunteers


Welcome to our Leicestershire blog, for all our members in Leicester and the whole county.

Members enjoying a Forum visit to the Leicester Botanic Gardens

We want to give you the latest news of upcoming  events and the exciting things that our members are doing in Leicestershire. It is very much a work in progress, created as we learn, and we want your feedback.

  • What would be useful to you?
  • Is the site easy to use?
  • Would you visit it regularly?
  • Would you send us news from your class or branch?

Send us your comments, don’t be afraid of being critical, we really want to  this site to be one you want to visit.

New to WEA? You can download our Leicestershire Brochure  and find out more about WEA at regional and national level on the “About WEA” page.


Loughborough team in the Market Place

If you are in Loughborough Market on Saturday 15th August, look out for Loughborough members manning a WEA publicity stall. You should find them at the High Street end of the market, getting the WEA message across to one and all. They will be able to advise both Loughborough residents, and those from elsewhere in the county, about the courses available next term. Of course, for anyone from outside Leicestershire, they’ll be quick to direct them to our regional or national websites. We know they’d love it if you stopped by to say hello.

New Look coming up!

Here I am, thinking about how we might give our site a face-lift. (I need some support from those who know about such things, of course!) Will we have a new layout,  new categories (much needed), extra pages? Watch this space to see what turns up.

There is a new picture, showing some of our members enjoying a Forum visit, in our Welcome post, so that’s a start. There is some content that’s certainly not up to date, so that is another easy step to take. The next step after that is an administrators’ get-together to decide which changes can make our site more useful to you.


Your County Blog needs a makeover!

Life seriously got in the way for your blogger earlier in the year, but now your county blog is back – and due for a few changes. We need to connect with Twitter and Facebook, and create more pages where you can find news from the Leicestershire Branches. We’ll also invite more authors to contribute news from around the county and region. It’s a good job that there is a helpful refresher course soon!

Have you received your brochure for the courses next term? If not, then you can download a copy here. If you live near the county boundaries, don’t forget that there may be courses close to you in one of the other counties in our region, so you could check out their offerings too.

County Forum news will still be an important part of the content – so if you have some great ideas for a future meeting, do pass it on to us, or to one of your branch committee.


Don’t forget the Forum – only two weeks to go

Our next Forum is only two weeks away, so if you haven’t put your name down yet, now’s the time. It’s a great chance to get together with members from across the county, and to enjoy talks from two of our popular lecturers. We love to see new people at the forum – and if you are a “regular”, why not bring a friend along this time.

There is information about our venue and talks in the previous post (Jan 20th) and you can find the schedule for the day if you click on this link to the “Next County Forum” page.

Everyone should have a date on Valentine’s Day – make yours the County Forum

At our next Leicestershire County Forum you can make a date with the stars, and with some of the personalities involved in the events leading up to the signing of Magna Carta.

Join us at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel to hear Dr Ann Bonnell of Leicester Astronomical Society give us an illustrated talk on 2015 in Astronomy and Space. Ann will look at what is getting astronomers excited in the coming year including space probe visits to two dwarf planets Pluto* and Ceres, and answer your questions afterwards. (* You hadn’t heard? Poor old Pluto got demoted a while back!)

In the afternoon Richard Smith is going to introduce us to some characters who were closely involved with events unfolding prior to the momentous signing of Magna Carta in 1215. What do we know about them and their motivation?  For my part, the answer is not a lot, but I hope to be a lot wiser after Richard’s talk, titled Bishops Barons and Rebels – the makers of Magna Carta.

Registration for the Forum will be from 10.30 a.m. and we anticipate that the event will end at about 3.30. If you are not able to come all day, you are welcome to come for just morning or afternoon. For the full programme see the County Forum page on this site. Hope to see you on Feb 14th.

To sign up for the forum please ring 01509 568054 or email mandy.grocott@ntlworld.com

Mandy Grocott

New term, and a Forum on Valentine’s Day

Happy New Year, everyone!

With new classes to look forward to, we can wake up our brains again after the holiday excesses. Don’t forget that it may not be too late to book another course – two’s better than one, after all.

Valentine’s Day may not figure so large in your thoughts as it did in teenage years, but this year February 14th is worth noting as it is the date of our next County Forum. It will be at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel in Leicester, which many of you will know already is very central and easy to reach, however you are travelling. Look out for more details very shortly.

Opportunity for Austen lovers

‘It is such a happiness when good people get together – and they always do’

In October 2014 Joan Ting from WEA Adelaide joined Judith Hedley’s Nottingham  course ‘Emma’. Joan was over visiting family and enjoyed sitting in on Judith’s class so much she actually attended 3 times during her stay. Joan spoke enthusiastically to the group of her involvement with Adelaide’s Jane Austen society – which is based at WEA Adelaide;  and since then we’ve discussed the possibility of setting up our own Jane Austen group.

Ideas being floated for the group are:

* A visit to Sheffield Crucible Theatre to see Tamara Harvey’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice ( 14th May – 6th June)

* Talks about Jane Austen in locations across the East Midlands region – Derbyshire/Leicestershire/Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire/Northamptonshire

* Visits to places associated with either Jane or her novels

* A website where we can share all things Austen

* Austen themed food or fashion events

* anything else …

We are currently at the ‘this would be a good idea’ stage and so are inviting anyone who would be interested in such a venture to get in touch – we can then get the ball rolling. Everyone is welcome whether new to Austen or with some knowledge.

If you’d like to be involved or simply kept informed of our progress email Nikki Cleaver at ncleaver@wea.org.uk

Brochures are coming very soon

One of the tasks keeping the office teams busy this term has been the preparation of the new brochure, which is expected to be available during the coming week, and you can expect to receive yours soon after that. Many of you have opted for the environment-friendly email version, so look out for that in your inbox.

Don’t forget, in the rush to get ready for the holidays, to enrol for your classes as soon as you can. It will really help your branch committee or the office staff, and most importantly, the tutor, to know for certain that a course has enough students to run. If you leave it too late you may find that the course has been cancelled, and your enrolment might have been the one that could have made the difference. You can enrol on line for many courses, and this saves form-filling at the start of term. (Just one point to remember here, if you do more than one course; at present the national website can’t deliver you the 10% discount on the cheaper course, so avoid enroling on line if you want to benefit from the discount.)

Loughborough artists stage great exhibition

Students from several of Erica Middleton’s art classes at Loughborough Branch mounted a very well attended exhibition of their work on Friday 6th June. During the course of the evening over eighty visitors came through the doors at Quest House, and greatly enjoyed the wide range of works displayed. There were colourful abstracts, landscapes, portraits and drawings from life in a variety of media, large and small. Some were displayed on easels, and others were around the walls on versatile display shelves erected by tutor organiser Mike Wilson.

Erica and the artists were delighted with the response from their audience, which made the hard work needed to coordinate the exhibition beforehand and put everything in place on the night well worth while. They also provided drinks and nibbles for the visitors, and had a team of stalwart dishwashers in constant motion, as the total number of visitors had exceeded the supply of 65 glasses!

I mentioned to one of the artists that I had just started art classes at WEA, and could not imagine ever being as good as the exhibitors were. She responded “WEA has taught me everything I know about art. I started as a complete beginner, and now I even feel confident enough to show my work in exhibitions.” There’s hope for us beginners yet!


Two larger works displayed on easels. The artists love to have these available;four were obtained with help from the Regional Development Fund

Two larger works displayed on easels. The artists love having these available; four were obtained through the Regional Development Fund


Erica was a blur of motion, chatting , supervising and ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Erica was a blur of motion, chatting, supervising and ensuring everything ran smoothly.


Visitors studying some of the wide range of art works on display

Visitors studying some of the wide range of works

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