Sign up – and embrace life!

First published in What's On

No matter what our circumstances, our passage through life is marked by membership of varying clubs, groups and establishments.

It's human nature to want to be with like-minded people and to share a particular phase of our lives. Here's just a sample of some of the many groups and organisations available locally.

Sports Joining a club is often a necessity when you need a partner or a team to play with. Cricket enthusiasts have local clubs based in Netherton, Stourbridge and Halesowen who are always keen to welcome new players and supporters.

Play golf you also get to enjoy the scenery during your game - notably at clubs like The Leasowes in Halesowen and at Turners Hill in Rowley Regis where views extend as far as the Wrekin.

As well as the facilities at borough leisure centres there are martial arts clubs, cycling, tennis and running clubs, aerobics classes - even belly dancing and of course you're never too old to learn those Strictly Come Dancing routines!

Interests You might not be able to earn your living as a photographer, conservationist or racing car driver but you can still enjoy them during your leisure time by joining groups like: l Dudley Camera Club (01384 822 632 www.dudleycameraclub.com) or Stourbridge Photographic Society (www.stourbridgeps.co.uk) l The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers has local groups involved in a variety of different projects, including Halesowen Wildlife Group (0121 501 1105). For more information see www2.btcv.org.uk or call 01302 388 883.

l Dudley Radio Car Club. Visit The Coseley School on a Friday evening and you'll find members indulging in their love of fast cars - see www.dudleyradiocarclub.co.uk When you're stuck in an office all week, it's wonderful to get outside and enjoy the countryside.

If you're not sure where to begin, join a group like the Ramblers or the Black Country Walking Group (for those in their 20s and 30s).

They're a great way to make new friends, get some exercise and to enjoy places that you just can't see when travelling by car.

Both can be contacted on 0207 339 8500 or via website ww.ramblers.org.uk Learning For those who prefer indoor pursuits and wish to acquire new skills, why not consider going back to college?

Stourbridge, Dudley and Halesowen colleges offer courses suitable for the young and not so young.

Over 50s are well catered for at the Halesowen and Dudley sites with clubs providing plenty of talks and outings.

Hobbies It's not just children who enjoy a rich variety of activities. Art, woodwork, pottery and creative crafts are popular for adult enthusiasts.

There's a handicraft group get-together every Monday evening at The Haven within the Zion Christian Centre in Halesowen.

Whether you fancy yourself as an artist or local historian there's plenty of others with the same interests.

If you've been watching Who Do You Think You Are and want to trace your own family tree or learn more about the history of the Black Country, visit Dudley Archives in Coseley (01384 812770).

So whatever stage of life you're at, joining a club can give you a whole new outlook.

Keeping active and seeking out new and different challenges is vital for staying fit, feeling younger and living a longer and more fulfilling life.

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