u3a - News at the Third Age - August 2017

Dear U3A,

I’m delighted to introduce our first national newsletter – News At The Third Age– which will be delivered to you via email every month.

This newsletter will keep you up to date with the latest news from the national office as well as from around the UK. We would like you to share this email with all your members. You will continue to receive the monthly mailing.

It’s been a great pleasure to meet so many of our wonderful volunteers from across the country during the Starting Up New U3As training workshops. There has been positive feedback and pleasingly there is a strong body of U3As who are already on their way to becoming full members. There will be a series of workshops on supporting U3As throughout the year.

The Trust is asking for any retired solicitor who is an expert in charity law who would like to join the constitution working group in 2018. If you are interested in being involved and would like an informal conversation please contact me at the National Office.

The National Office has moved. We have relocated from our current premises in Bromley to 52 Lant Street in Borough, London. We hope this move will make us much more accessible as we are next to Borough Tube station and our nearest National Rail station is London Bridge. Thank you to everyone who helped with the move but especially to Fran Walton whose organisation has made this transition happen very smoothly.

Our website is being given a fresher look and for those of you who use Social Media please visit our Twitter and Facebook accounts which is a way to keep up to date with U3A news as it happens. Twitter: @U3A_UK or Facebook: @u3auk Please feel free to Like and Retweet our posts as this will help spread the word to an even wider audience.

Please keep in touch with us. Elizabeth Drury – the new U3A Communications Officer would love to share your photos, interesting stories, events and significant milestones in your U3As. You can reach her at the National Office.

There’s lots to read so I really hope you enjoy this launch issue!

With very best wishes

Sam Mauger
Chief Executive

Lifelong Learning

The FIRST RESEARCH CONFERENCE in the South East Region took place this summer at the Royal Holloway University aimed at inspiring U3A members to get involved in all types of research. This exciting day-long event on a wide range of topics brought together over 100 U3A members for lectures and workshops on a wide range of topics.

Thank you to key note speakers Dr Matthew Smith, Magna Carta Legacy Project (Royal Holloway) and Dr Zara Bergstrom, Professor of Psychology (University of Kent). Thank you to SE Trustee Hilvary Robinson who organised the successful first event.

MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed between Canterbury & District U3A and Kent University after a productive collaboration.

Well done to the many wonderful Shared Learning Projects which have concluded in the last few months. A special mention to Ilkley & District U3A who are currently working with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust again this year on Bumblebee Watch 2017 following their successful bee survey collaboration last year.


Hundreds of members attended a study day with the National Gallery focusing on French Impressionism and more than 250 U3A members from across the UK attended the Royal Society for a lecture on Healthy Ageing and staying sharp in later life.

Summer Schools have been taking place across the regions including the South East Forum at Chichester University in Sussex and the Northern Ireland Summer School at Greenmount Agricultural College, Antrim.

Nationally there has been a successful week in Harper Adams University in Shrewsbury and this month at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. All the Summer Schools offer a wide range of topics to study, delivered to a very high standard by our U3A members.

Next week we are looking forward to welcoming over 400 members at the U3A National Conference and AGM at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. A full report on the conference will be on our Facebook pages and the next edition of Third Age Matters magazine out next month.

U3A News

John Lewis and Waitrose Space Sharing Programme with U3A. We are delighted to announce an exciting partnership agreement with John Lewis and Waitrose stores around the country who are allowing U3As to use unused space in their local stores. Your regional trustees will be the main point of contact for knowing what local stores are taking part but do not hesitate to contact the national office to let us know how it is going. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will keep you up to date with how this exciting scheme is progressing.

Well done to Dundee U3A who struck a chord last month after winning a national award for their Ukulele Group – Dee Ukes. The group were awarded the Chorus Community Music Award 2017 run by Hands Up for Trad which promotes traditional music from all around Scotland.

It was welcome news for Olton and District U3A in Solihull who were awarded funds which have been taken from criminals to boost the good work it does in the community. The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, handed just over £1,000 from the Active Citizens Fund to further strengthen the U3A’s involvement with the local community. You can see them in the local press here: https://solihullobserver.co.uk/news/olton-group-handed-funds-taken-from-criminals-to-do-good-in-the-community/

Finally Happy Birthday to all our U3As who reached landmark anniversaries in the last few months. A special mention to Sutton U3A who celebrated 30 years and to Hythe and Dibden U3A who became the 50th U3A to open in Hampshire.

NEC News

This is the time of year we say goodbye to our National Trustees who have served their three year term for the U3A. Thank you to Diana Holdsworth (SW), Hilvary Robinson (SE), Ian McCannah (London) Marion Clements (Vice Chairman) Anthony Randall (West Midlands) and Neil Stevens (Yorkshire & the Humber) for their dedication and service to the NEC.

Individuals in Focus

In the coming months we want to focus on an individual member of the U3A, their story and what the U3A Movement means to them. If you have an interesting or unusual story to tell and don’t mind sharing it with us – please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read about Gary’s story here:

Gary Denyer - Ebbw Vale U3A (Wales)

“I had been running my own business since the summer of 2001 but work started to quieten down and eventually my business closed. To be honest, I was rather depressed. A friend from my local church told me that she was intending to start up a U3A in Ebbw Vale and would I be interested in joining and perhaps helping? I went to the planning meeting and it really did changed everything.

“I have met so many people with similar interests to me, learnt new things and made many friends. I have lived in this part of Wales for over 16 years but hadn’t made the connections and friendships that I have since joining U3A. Now I often get stopped in the street for a chat by people who recognise me.

“I have been registered blind all my life and didn’t know what to expect from joining a new organisation. I have found that U3A members have more experience of life and so are often authentic, caring people."

“I’ve learnt an immense amount - not least how to be an effective committee member! But most all I’ve learnt that U3A is a wonderful organisation to be part of and I feel that I have almost gained a massive extended family”