The wider benefits of learning are well researched, and frequently referred to when discussions are taking place about health and well being: "Learn something new" is included in a five point list on promoting well being.
Anyone who works within the Lifelong Learning sector will undoubtedly agree that learning something new contributes to purposeful activity and stimulates the brain; it can enhance self esteem and provide opportunities for socialisation, languages etc. etc. - is a matter of individual choice. It is also a matter of availability, accessibility, and cost. In the "good old days" when University Extra Mural/Continuing Education Departments were funded to provide a wide range of courses to students of all ages, at relatively low cost, students came in their droves. With the axing of funding, availability is severely constrained and cost is often a deterrent.
<span style="\\"color:" black;="" font-family:="" calibri,="" sans-serif;\\"="">Let us look to the future - and hopefully the near future given the potential for political change - and argue for a return to real Lifelong Learning opportunities, which will contribute to the health and well being of our population.