Explore is open to all adults.  No previous knowledge or qualifications are needed – just enthusiasm and an interest in learning new things.  Our Newcastle city centre base provides a lively environment where students can exchange views and socialise.
Keep reading below for more information, or if you're ready to join, just download our membership form using the green button and get in touch!

How Explore works

Where do the classes take place?

Mainly at Commercial Union House (opposite the Tyneside Cinema) on Pilgrim Street. We also use Newcastle Arts Centre and the Lit & Phil.

Do I need to book for an Explore class?

No – Explore members drop in for classes except for a few instances in which we have a maximum capacity. These specific classes are clearly indicated in the Season programme with advice on how to reserve a place.

Who are the tutors?

Highly regarded specialists, many of whom teach at Newcastle’s two universities and for the Open University.
Explore lifelong learning 2016 Green Room adult education
The Green Room - Explore's regular venue
Explore lifelong learning 2016 history class adult education
Explore history class with tutor Maria Goulding (right)

Who runs the Explore programme?

The Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company with an elected board of directors. The Explore programme is currently in its fourth year as an independent organisation. The programme now has over two hundred members.

Try before you buy!

Free Week One  - book your free session by downloading your voucher here and emailing the office

Alternatively, if you have missed the free Week One, you are welcome to try a free taster session.  Get in touch with the office via the Contact page to arrange your free taster.

Our members say :

It's a real godsend on a bad day! Lectures encourage me to go places, read books, find out about things, go to museums and exhibitions which are always much more interesting. I could go on!
Like so many of the members, we applaud the wide variety of material on offer and enjoy delving into areas that take us out of our comfort zone.
Excellent.  I can only attend in Autumn and Summer terms and rarely more than 1 day a week, but still well worth the cost. 
It’s an amazing resource; the level of scholarship of the lecturers is exemplary and the friendliness of staff and students alike is a very pleasant aspect of Explore. I have made many friends in my time there. 
 I particularly value the wide range of topics and the impressive teaching skills of the tutors. I would be bereft without it.

Joining Explore

How much does it cost to join?

We offer reduced fees to both new and existing members so more people can enjoy the excellent value of Explore membership!

Annual membership fees:
Early Bird Full Year Membership ………………………… £285
(join before the 1st September 2017) 
New Member Termly Offer* ……………………………… £100 per term
Membership for Full Year ………………………………… £360
Explore lifelong learning 2017 Early Bird adult education
*New members: 
For the first year of membership, new members may join termly instead of the full year and pay the introductory fee of £100 per term. If you would prefer to sign up for the full year however, new members are also eligible for the early bird rate (if joining whilst the offer is available or at the board’s discretion.)

The fee equates to £11 per taught week or less than a 'proper' coffee per day - excellent value!  

Members are asked to pay in advance in order to facilitate administration. 

If you are unable to pay the set fee in advance please contact the directors via and we will endeavour to offer an appropriate payment option.  

Membership form

Click on the button on the right to download a membership form. 

Make your cheque payable to The Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre C.I.C and send it to the following address: 

Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre C.I.C., 
c/o Essell Accountants Ltd, 
29 Howard St, 
North Shields
NE30 1AR

Paying by instalments

Explore has established a link with the NEFirst Credit Union to enable members to pay their fees by instalments.  (Explore is not an agent for NEFirst Credit Union and receives no commission from them.)

You will need to JOIN the union and APPLY for a loan by the closing date of 6th October 2017 in order to take advantage of the special offer early bird rate of £285.  You can download the forms using the buttons on the right.

The representative APR (annual percentage rate) is 19.6%.  The total amount repayable will be approximately £330.  Full details are available from the credit union.

Help with fees

Is there a reduced cost option for potential members with limited means? 
If you would like to join Explore but would be prevented from doing so by financial difficulties, you are encouraged to apply to the S.Y. Killingley Memorial Trust for assistance. 
Click on the button to find out more about the trust. 
S. Y. Killingly Memorial Trust
Explore lifelong learning 2016 Siew-Yue Killingley adult education (copyright Donald Dixon)

  Siew-Yue Killingley © Donald Dixon

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