Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


Expanding and diversifying u3a membership. Some suggestions:

Attracting a diverse membership

  • Seek out diverse speakers for membership meetings/open meetings. Publicise your meetings widely.
  • Highlight the diversity of topics especially one-off talks/presentations that might grab interest. Maybe make these available to non-members at least on a couple of occasions such as u3a Day.
  • Promote groups and activities that appeal to a wide range of people e.g., wellbeing activities/doing things together/environment events.
  • Offer some short activity groups/ course(s) to attract diverse members to try out interest groups.
  • Consider giving a free trial month to visitors to your Open Day (temporary full membership, or a ticket to attend a few meetings of choice during the month, or enrollment as a temporary member on a short course).
  • Make sure visitors to your website can easily access membership information and information on how to join groups.
  • Make sure it is easy for potential members to contact the people they need to through your website.
  • Have a clear link on your website to relevant policies, such as your Diversity and Inclusion policy.
  • Research websites of other u3a’s and Subject Advisers’ ideas for new attractive courses.
  • Run an open event/introductory session in small local venues – e.g. on housing estates, care home.
  • Remember that some potential members may be unable/ reluctant to enter a private home as their first experience of u3a and be prepared to adapt to the needs of potential new members who make enquiries about joining a group/activity.
  • Remember that some potential members may find a specific set membership fee too much to manage. Can they pay in instalments, is there someone nominated in your group they can talk to in confidence to discuss alternatives? Is this information clearly visible?



  • Make sure the images used in leaflets/press releases/adverts portray a diverse membership.
  • Use council noticeboards (including electronic noticeboards), local press, Next Door and other local internet groups to advertise events.
  • Diversify your choice of outlets for your publicity posters – supermarket notice boards/community notice boards, local libraries and CAB, venues where activities for older people are provided, doctors’ surgeries.
  • Publicise events and post items about your activities on social media.
  • ‘Follow’ other organisations on social media to encourage them and their members to follow you.
  • Develop a range of leaflets to suit specific audiences/circumstances.
  • Hand out leaflets at busy local hubs: markets, bus stations, shopping centres.
  • Set up a publicity table at local events.
  • Ask members to share information on other organisations they belong to in order to reach out to as wide a range as possible.
  • Hand out to your members a few copies of an attractive leaflet for them to distribute within other organisations to which they belong or to deliver locally around the area in which they live.
  • With the agreement of willing volunteers, add information to your leaflets on ways to contact your u3a from within a specified local area (e.g. identify a contact person for a specific postcode/estate/village).
  • Hold a public event on national u3a day and use the publicity materials produced by u3a centrally.
  • Stop using the full name of the movement and only use ‘u3a’ - the terms ‘university’ and ‘third age’ can be misleading and off-putting.


Outreach into the wider community

  • Meet with diversity officer/access officer of local/county council to tell them about your u3a and to find out how and where to contact target groups.
  • Visit local GP surgeries/practice managers/health services to create pathways for people to join your u3a via ‘social prescribing’.
  • Arrange meetings with the organisers/leaders of local groups catering for needs of older people – Age UK, local projects and community centres, venues where activities for older people are put on/care homes/sheltered housing.
  • Attend open events which attract our target groups e.g. attend Black History Month/ Pride events to experience how others might feel about joining u3a and to make contacts.
  • Research online events targeting loneliness particularly in areas with high levels of poverty/disadvantage and ask to talk for 5 minutes at these.
  • Research online events aimed at diverse communities including disability groups and carers’ groups to talk as above.
  • Identify support groups such as Asian Elders groups based in Mosques, Temples and other religious elders’ groups and ask to give a short presentation ideally with someone from the same or similar communities.
  • Ask to be included in local online listings such as this list of tips.
  • Contact national support organisations such as RNIB, Age Concern, etc. and ask for opportunities to share material to encourage membership.
  • Contact local branches of the above to ask to share material locally and ideally attend their events, focusing specifically on areas with significant diverse communities and/or disadvantage.
  • Ask community groups to suggest things they might like to share with u3a members from their perspective, be it history, geography, art and culture, cooking or craft, and then enable them to set up a short-term group to ‘test’ interest. Word of mouth will follow!
  • Encourage the editor of your u3a magazine to feature articles of general or specific interest by or about members of local diverse communities as above who are also members of your u3a, an example of the concept of learning from each other, the central theme of u3a.
  • For consideration when contacts have been established: social events/research projects with other u3as and local organisations, a joint course with a community college.
Your cookie settings
We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. These cookies allow the website to function, collect useful anonymised information about visitors and help to make your user experience better. You can choose which cookies to accept. Declining the use of cookies, may affect your experience of our website.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Google Analytics uses performance cookies to track user activity on our website. This information is anonymous and helps us to improve the website.
Google Analytics
Google YouTube
To view YouTube videos