The Study Circle was started in Leek Staffs as a pilot in September 2005 by Derek Tatton, a former principal of the Wedgewood Memorial College. The aim was to attempt to address, through weekly debate and discussion, 'the great problems which face us all' in the 21st century. The pilot was modest and experimental, beginning without a budget and so with no advertising - informal contact was made through WEA, U3A, and other organisations to establish a network of participants who were invited to attend weekly meetings in The Blue Mugge pub.
Regular meetings have been held weekly (with just a few breaks) from September 2005 to the present (2008), supported by U3A and WEA tutors and students.
Participants and those expressing positive interest have reached 28 or so, with an average of 9 attending the meetings, none of which was cancelled owing to low numbers. (We agreed that 8 - 12 makes an ideal number for this kind of seminar discussion group). Participants have been mainly older (retired) WEA/U3A activists but we also have several younger members (40 plus…). There has been a reasonable gender balance at most meetings. We've still not succeeded in gaining younger participants (18 - 40)
Another Discussion Circle started at the Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, near Leek in April 2009. This circle meets fortnightly with breaks for the major holidays.
In April 2010 two more Discussion Circles have started at the Wayfarer Inn, Stone, Staffs and the Arden Arms, Stockport, Greater Manchester. These are to meet monthly.
A more detailed history can be found on this blog