u3a - Covid-19 News and things to do

Covid-19 News and things to do

 

 

U3A Foyle Awarded Highest Volunteer Accolade in UK

  U3A Foyle Awarded Highest Volunteer Accolade in UK

U3A Foyle in Northern Ireland has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest accolade a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The U3A’s volunteers were praised for their work in “providing a full programme of classes and activities to keep retirees active and involved”.

Chairman David Hill is delighted that the hard work of the U3A’s many volunteers has been recognised by this prestigious award. 

He said: “It is a tribute to all the volunteer members within U3A Foyle. We have a huge volunteer base. Members volunteer in so many ways - on our board, on our many committees, as office volunteers, kitchen volunteers, finance and IT volunteers, as in-house event support volunteers and as group leaders and animators for the groups and activities.

“The large number of volunteer roles we have emphasises that this deserved award is for each and every volunteer within U3A Foyle".

During this coronavirus crisis, many groups in U3A Foyle have moved online via Zoom, Hangouts and Skype; members are connected through emails and Facebook Private Group pages all as a way of keeping members informed and connected.

U3A Foyle member Doreen stated "U3A has helped me feel less isolated since the Corona Virus hit. It has been reassuring while cocooning to be able to continue to do my U3A keep-fit classes which have shifted online. I get a lot of information through the weekly emails and I keep in touch with my friends on WhatsApp and now also on Zoom".

A certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal will be presented to U3A Foyle by Dr Angela Garvey, Lord-Lieutenant for the City of Londonderry, later this summer. In addition, two volunteers may also be invited to attend a Royal garden party next year.

See more on U3A Foyle's Website

Title Photo: U3A Foyle Building

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Mindfulness Sessions - Week 5

 Mindfulness Sessions - Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of our Mindfulness Sessions with U3A Subject Adviser - Nancy Taylor. Please listen to them on our Youtube Channel or by clicking here

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"Impressive" U3A Literary Talent Showcased at STAR Event

Bloomsbury representative Alysoun Owen spoke of the ‘extremely high calibre’ of U3A writing talent at our inaugural awards ceremony for the winners of the U3A Creative Writing Competition.
 
An inspiring 342 members submitted short stories on the theme ‘Time.’ Regional judges created a shortlist of 13, with a winner from each region. The competition standard was so high that there was a tie in the East Midlands, resulting in two winners.
 
Rosemary Burton of Oxford U3A was crowned the overall winner at the STAR (Story Themed Award Results) event for her story ‘The Clock’ whilst Penny Holland and Gillian Griffith came in second and third place.

Alysoun Owen, Editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, was one of the judges and attended the event saying, ‘It was an extremely pleasant time reading on and commenting on these stories. The quality was really impressive.”

Alison May, Learning Manager, said of the event, “Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. The standard was extremely high – any one of the shortlisted entries could have won, and the judges had an extremely difficult job.

The top three stories were read out at the STAR awards to an extremely positive reception. The depth of creative writing talent across the movement is clear”.
 
Read the stories of all regional winning entries on our learning pages
 

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A focus on Beacon Volunteers

A focus on Beacon Volunteers

Following Volunteers Week, we are highlighting our U3A member volunteers in the Beacon Team and the work they do to deliver the Beacon service to U3As.

Beacon is a U3A management system designed by U3A members for U3As. Beacon enables U3A administrators to manage their membership, groups and finance through a simple yet functional interface.

Over 400 U3As now choose Beacon for their administration, and between them they have a quarter of a million members. They are supported by a dedicated team of U3A volunteers, the Beacon Team, based all across the UK.

Beacon Team members have a variety of roles and responsibilities, and all their work supports U3As and their use of Beacon.

Since the lockdown began, we've heard several stories from U3As who've found Beacon to be a vital way of keeping in touch with their members.

Beth, secretary of Up Holland and District U3A, said, 'Beacon proved to be an invaluable tool in organising our forthcoming AGM. In addition to sending out agenda papers and voting forms to over 700 members with one click, Beacon produced the letter for non-email members, and the download to generate a spreadsheet to record the votes as they were returned'.

Many Beacon Team members are also involved in the Beacon Upgrade Project, which will ensure the system is fit for purpose for U3As both now and into the future.

Beacon is a great example of the U3A ethos in action, with members helping members, learning being shared and expertise being pooled.

If you’d like to find out more about Beacon visit the Beacon website at https://beacon.u3a.org.uk or get in touch with the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read the full version of this article at Sources Online

 

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A New Date for Robotic NatWest Lecture

A New Date for Robotic NatWest Lecture

Due to unexpected ill health, a new date is being set for the Robotics Lecture which will no longer be taking place this afternoon.

This new series especially designed for us by NatWest of live streamed lectures will launch next week with Investment Shams.

We are hoping the Robotic lectures will take place in a couple of week.  The lectures will take place every Thursday at 2:30pm - and each sessions will be delivered by NatWest staff with expertise in the topic. Any U3A member is welcome to join the lecture which will be live streamed on our Facebook channel or on NatWest's Youtube - links on how to join Youtube will be published nearer the time.

You can watch the live stream Facebook even if you dont have a Facebook profile (or without logging in). Follow us here

And dont worry if you miss the live stream on next Thursday - we will host the lectures on our Youtube channel after the event. More details to come.

Hope to see you there at the first lecture next week on Investment Shams - 21st May at 2:30pm.

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Advice for U3As during Covid-19

Advice for U3As during Covid-19

U3A is always working hard to keep you up to date with all the latest advice and guidance during this time. To this end, we have created a new category in the advice area called Running your U3A during Covid-19.

This new area pulls together the advice which is specific to U3As during the pandemic including advice on AGMS, insurance and risk assessments for outside and remote activities. 

You will need to use your member login as you would normally do for any information in your U3A dedicated advice area.

Advice and Volunteer Manager Jane Bailey said, "We’ve been gathering more advice and information for U3As to keep running during Covid19. 

"As part of this we have created a Guidance Document which all U3As should consider before starting up any outdoor activities.  This document includes the measures you should take to ensure the safety of all members.

"For Group leaders and individual participants, we have created a Risk Assessment/Checklist for running outdoor activities to be completed when deciding to take part.

"The situation is complex with different regulations in place in the different devolved countries and different guidance for individuals dependent on your age, health and household situations.

"It is for this reason the ultimate decision to take part in an activity that is being resumed with additional safety measures in place, will lie with the individual considering this question for themselves.

"The question many of you have asked us is around our insurance cover.  Please follow the detailed guidelines we have prepared in this new advice section and if you conclude from this that it is sufficiently safe to take part in the activity, then you would be covered by our Public and Products Liability Insurance".

You can also find useful links to general Covid-19 advice under Keep Well.  If members have any questions - please dont hesitate to contact us by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning 020 8466 6139

 

 

 

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Another Interactive Creative Writing Session

Another Interactive Creative Writing Session

Due to popular demand, we are excited to offer a second interactive session on Zoom with publishing expert, Alysoun Owen, who will be talking about how to get your work published. 

The last talk, held on 23 July, was so successful that we have arranged for a second date for those who were unable to attend the first. This talk will be held on 14 August. This is a repeat event so please do not attend both events.

Alysoun Owen is the Editor of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. Her talk will discuss the main routes to publication and concentrate on how to prepare your manuscript for submission to literary agents. 

This online event is suitable for those writing fiction and non-fiction for all ages and across all genres. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about the publishing industry.

View responses from the first interactive session and more on our learing pages here

Book your place here

Have you written a book? Why not join the U3A In My Own Write facebook page where we share the books written by U3A members

We are also very pleased to offer U3A members a site wide discount on Bloomsbury books of 30%. U3A members should use code U3A30 at the checkout to obtain this discount

 

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Bird Watch - an update 2

Bird Watch - an update 2

Thank you so much to all members who have sent us these amazing bird photos over the last few weeks.

These images and descriptions have really opened our eyes to the wildlife in our gardens and have highlighted how much bord life there is around us.

This initiative is part of the BirdWatch scheme we are taking part in. Garden BirdWatch is provided by the British Trust of Ornithology to help them understand how and why populations of garden birds and other wildlife are changing, and how they can assist them.

We want to see as many of these lovely pictures as possible to really capture this increased activity at the moment. Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form.

Here are some of the most recent observations from members.

Richard, Sudbury U3A, saw a bird on a wire, a Whitethroat near Cornard Mere.

 Brian from Hockley and Hawkwell U3A spotted this starling feeding on his lawn.

This fantastic collection of photos is from Gudrun Berry, Shipston-on-Stour U3A. It's the time of year for the fledgling birds to come out - in Gudrun’s case plenty of noisy starling families, all gathering in large flocks all around the house. They are attracted by the fields with the grazing sheep and also the orchard with almost 200 trees.

Tony Pelham, Warrington U3A, has seen a few herons along Sankey Valley Canal linear park in Warrington which are usually quite wary of people but since lockdown this one has become much braver and tends to stand its ground. The wood pigeon, on the right, in Tony’s garden regularly loses its balance whilst reaching for the food which is tantalisingly just within reach or not.

Colin Fletcher, Eastwood U3A, sent this spectacular snap of a regular visitor to his back garden.

Tony, Peterborough U3A, told us that since filling their feeders with Sunflower hearts and Niger seeds, Goldfinches and Greenfinches are regular visitors to their garden. They descend in droves on some days and squabbles frequently break out, as happened on the day Tony took this picture. They can empty the Sunflower heart feeder daily. Tony also has a visiting Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Magpies, Collared Doves, Starlings, two pairs of Blackbirds, Dunnocks, and of course the obligatory Robin.

David, Teignmouth & District U3A, saw this blackbird fledgling in his garden.

David, Teignmouth & District U3A, saw this blackbird fledgling in his garden.

Shirley, St Ives U3A, Cattle trying to escape? I walk this way every morning and have never seen this little herd so near the road - and so adventurous re clambering.

Frances, Palmers Green and Southgate U3A, saw this swan with 8 cygnets on the River Lee Navigation at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

 

Audrey, Hastings and Rother U3A, saw this robin nesting in the bushes between her garden and the next. It regularly eats from the feeder and bathes in the my waterfall.

 

Roundup of other bird sightings

Pat from Maidstone Invicta U3A has seen Starlings, a Blackbird, a House sparrow, a Robin, a Bluetit, a Collared dove, a Crow, a Magpie and a Pigeon.

We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

 

 

 

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Bird Watch - an update 3

Bird Watch - an update 3

Thank you for all your bird photos and descriptions - especially now that summer has officially started and the days are longer, the garden birds are becoming more daring.

Our photos sent over the last few weeks have been truely amazing so please keep sending them in and do encourage your friends to send pictures and descriptions in as well as they are lovely to share.

This initiative is part of the BirdWatch scheme we are taking part in. Garden BirdWatch is provided by the British Trust of Ornithology to help them understand how and why populations of garden birds and other wildlife are changing, and how they can assist them.

We want to see as many of these lovely pictures as possible to really capture this increased activity at the moment.

Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form.

Here are some of the most recent observations from members.

Bruce, Sudbury U3A, had a pair of long tailed tits with a nest in his hedge busy feeding their young. As he hadn’t seen them for a couple of days he assumes that the young birds have fledged. Location is Daisy Green, Groton, Suffolk.

John Bicester U3A has birds queuing for his pond who now keeping to social distancing rules.

This fantastic picture of a female kingfisher was taken at long range by Richard, Sudbury U3A. Richard also snapped this one day old cygnet on its father’s back at Great Cornard.

Macolm, Launceston and District U3A, snapped this male chaffinch feeding on spilled sunflower hearts.

Our most common garden friend - the pigeon

We all know the common garden pigeon well but what surprised us is just how many variations there are. When it comes to pigeons visiting your garden the chances are that you’ll have Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, or both! Here is a classic shot of a common pigeon that our Learning Manager, Alison May, has taken:

We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

 

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Bird Watch - an Update 4

Bird Watch - an Update 4

Thank you for your fantastic garden bird sightings

Our feathered friends are still visiting members’ gardens and we’re really delighted that so many members are sharing these with us.

This initiative is part of the BirdWatch scheme we are taking part in. Garden BirdWatch is provided by the British Trust of Ornithology to help them understand how and why populations of garden birds and other wildlife are changing, and how they can assist them.

Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form

We hope that these photos and observations from members inspire you to get your cameras out.

Valerie, Bourton and District U3A, was lucky to find three finches, a Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch happily feeding together with no squabbling on her garden bird feeder. Valerie also spotted this Egret on her daily walk along the River Leach in Northleach, Gloucestershire on a glorious sunny day in May.

Robert from Arun West U3A gets the odd Sparrowhawk hunting in the garden.

Ian, Oldham and District U3A, took these wonderful photos birds in his garden. What fantastic colours and detail!

Gill, Eastbourne U3A, saw a Hobby in her son’s garden at Hampden Park Eastbourne . It stayed long enough for her to get a photo. Hobbys are part of the Peregrine Falcon family.

 

Kath, Cheltenham, has bullfinches regularly visiting her suburban garden in Cheltenham, often monopolising the sunflower-seed feeder for several minutes at a time. There is almost certainly more than one pair: last year they several times saw 5 at once, 3 males and 2 females. The odd thing is that before they moved there 5 years ago they lived for 31 years in a house 300 yards away where they never saw them at all.

Brian, Belfast U3A, took this picture of a Robin which received a commendation in a competition for the way the robin was framed in the tree.

Peter, Barnsley U3A, tells us that most of his sightings and pictures are through his kitchen window at the moment understandably. Mostly Wood-pigeons, Blackbirds, Sparrows, & strangest of all a Moorhen.

Hilary, South Leicestershire U3A, has a blackbird dynasty who owns their garden and this cheeky one has inherited the characteristic known here as “get out of my way so that I can find that worm”.

We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

 

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Bird Watch - an Update 5

Bird Watch - an Update 5

What’s causing the louder birdsong?

Have you noticed the daily chorus of birdsong, particularly louder now in urban areas? Apparently the lower noise level created by lockdown might be helping singing birds to be heard by potential mates and rivals, therefore increasing their breeding success.

Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form. We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

The British Trust for Ornithology has offered free membership of its Garden BirdWatch scheme, so that people can stay connected to nature, learn about garden wildlife and contribute to important scientific research without leaving home. 

These two Gold Finches were snapped by William, Great Malvern U3A, while they were feeding in his garden during lock-down.

Christine, Pontarddulais U3A, has also been enjoying seeing lots of goldfinches on her feeders in the garden.



This blackbird chick enjoying a rest on Gillian’s, Wrexham U3A, plastic cover on her patio table. It allowed Gillian to get within 4 feet without stirring. The blackbirds that visit Gillian’s garden all year round are particularly fond of apple cores, and the male blackbird in the picture on the right was not sure whether to feed the apple to its chick or hide it so it could eat it himself.

Turtle doves are daily visitors to Joy’s, St Ives (Cambs) U3A, garden at the moment. Joy believes they come from the Ouse Fen Bird Reserve just beyond the garden. They are rarely seen these days so Joy feels very privileged. On one occasion she saw two together but usually it's just one each time and mostly first thing in the morning and then in the evening.


Patricia, Burton Joyce Nottingham U3A, saw a Sparrow Hawk sitting on a tree stump in her garden. Unfortunately she didn’t have her camera to hand when it was at the bird bath and had to take this through the bedroom window as she was afraid it would fly away if she opened a window for a clearer shot.

Catherine, Pontesbury & Rea Valley District U3A, has taken a selection of amazing photos of birds in her garden:
Two young jackdaws, waiting for breakfast... first in the queue.



Over a few years Catherine has had several jackdaws with white markings. She has one this year who is almost pied. She always has first choice of the food, she's not bullied by the other birds, and they wait until she's got a beak full before tucking in themselves.

The lovely female blackbird who follows Catherine around the garden.



One of the female blackbirds watching Catherine put the food out.



Julian, Shottery U3A, had a Bunting on his feeder:



Margaret, Upholland U3A, noticed two little blue tits investigating the bird box (built by her husband) attached to her garage wall. From about the beginning of lockdown to about the 4 June when the birds fledged, the two blue tits built, laid eggs and fed, 4 chicks. Margaret was so pleased to see the chicks fledge as the adults had worked so hard keeping them fed and she were rewarded by being able to see the chicks in the garden and watch the adults feed them. Better still she has been able to capture them on camera, so still has the memories of enjoying wild life in the garden.



Wayne, Skegness U3A, has taken pictures of a selection of Birds visiting our garden. His sightings have been recorded as part of our contribution to the BTO Garden BirdWatch.


Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

 

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Bird Watch - an update 6

Bird Watch - an update 6

We were interested to read recently that Artificial Intelligence models have been developed to identify individual birds without tagging which will help to identify the many different species of birds. U3A members have, however, been doing a fantastic job using their own knowledge in recognising the birds around them during this time period.

Peter, Petersfield U3A, spotted this grey wagtail which had just fledged from the nest.

 

Liz from Hertford U3A has seen this nuthatch in her garden a few times and was delighted to be honoured with its presence.

This goldfinch paid a visit to Helen from Turriff and District U3A’s garden:


May, Hamilton and District U3A saw a mother woodpecker feeding her young. May has had regular visits from adult woodpeckers for some time but this is the first time they have had the young birds. They visit about 3 times a day.

Bruce Evans, Stone (Staffs) & District U3A was sitting in his armchair by the 'french windows' one day early in the lockdown period and realised that there were a great many birds using their fairly small garden.

Growing up in London, Robert, Arun U3A, has never been a big fan of the pigeon but this one sitting out in the rain on Saturday looked so soggy that he felt sorry for it!

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BirdWatch - an update

BirdWatch - an update

As we move further into Spring and the days are getting warmer and longer, U3A members have been sending more and more wonderful bird photos and descriptions of their sightings as part of the BirdWatch scheme. Garden BirdWatch is provided by the British Trust of Ornithology and is a project in which participants take note of the species of birds they see in order to help BTO analyse migration movements and distributions of birds across Britain and Ireland. 

We want to see as many of these lovely pictures as possible to really capture this increased activity at the moment. Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form.

Brenda, Shrewsbury U3A, was very lucky to take this photo on her iPad of a pair of robins. It’s not often that you see a pair together, but they are very familiar with Brenda.

 

Ray from Abingdon U3A took this fantastic picture of a Red Kite from his back garden on 6 May.

This was taken by David from Wilmslow U3A in his garden in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

When the garden was being prepared for his new turf, Peter, Orpington U3A, snapped this robin who had stopped by to watch!

Peter also spotted these two, deep in conversation "shall we make this our home this year? I was born here in 2019!" and the blue tits below on the right:

Moorhens are permanent residents on David’s pond (Harleston U3A). There are at least four chicks in this brood, the second this year.

Janet, St Neots U3A, was joined by Mr and Mrs Blackbird on VE Day. Thankfully they observed the 2m social distancing rule.

This bird, and there is current great debate about what it is, was just sitting on Hazel, Burton upon Trent U3A’s garden fence on 28 April. Any suggestions? Its markings are not very clear in the photograph but it had horizontal dark markings on its front. What a joy to see such a lovely wild bird.

Julie, Southport U3A, would like to introduce Becks, a female Blackbird with a taste for mealworms.  Only as a treat so as not to become dependent on them as a source of food. During the summer months when she had young she would appear as soon as Julie went into the garden. In order to photograph her, Julie placed a small container of mealworm on the lawn from which she gathered several up then would walk across the lawn before flying off, returning a few minutes later for more.

Mike from Aughton and Ormskirk U3A photographed a squirrel that invaded his bird feeder and got a bit unstuck.

 

Roundup of other bird sightings

Judith, Stafford U3A, has seen 2 jays, 20 starlings, 6 magpies, 4 blue tits, 2 coal tits, 2 great tits, 2 blackbirds, 1 robin, 2 dunnocks, 6 pigeons, 1 goldfinch and 1 chaffinch.

We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

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BirdWatch - Members' Pictures and Stories

BirdWatch - Members' Pictures and Stories

U3A members have been submitting some amazing photos and descriptions of birds they’ve spotted in their gardens as part of the U3A BirdWatch scheme. BirdTrack - from the British Trust of Ornithology - is a project to note the species of birds they see in order to track migration movements and distributions of birds across Britain and Ireland.

A common thread amongst all entries is that lockdown has encouraged birds to be more active and forward in visiting residential gardens. 

We’ve pulled together below just a selection of the different species or bird related garden activity that have been sent in from members across the UK. We hope these inspire you to keep sending in your observations and sharing with U3A.

Your Bird Photos

Julie from Southport U3A in Merseyside took this amazing picture (below) of a Blue Tit on a catkin plant. The colours are spectacular.

 

 

Carolyn from Haxby and Wigginton U3A in North Yorkshire has bird visitors in her garden on a regular basis this time of year. Carolyn particularly loved the antics of the Long Tailed Tits (below).Geoff Rands from Maidstone U3A took this bath time photos of some pigeons sharing a bath, a good way to save

 

Geoff from Maidstone U3A in Kent took this bath time photos of some pigeons sharing a bath, a good way to save water.

 

The chaffinch, (below on the left), and the long tailed tit, (below on the right), were photographed by Brian from Belfast U3A in his back garden in Carryduff.

 

While recovering from a hip operation, Hugh from Penicuik and District U3A in Scotland took this fantastic photo of a sparrowhawk (below) The young sparrowhawk sat on top of his leylandii hedge for some time and was in no hurry to fly away. The delay between selecting the right composition with its rapid and unpredictable head movement, pressing the shutter and capturing the image meant that it took lots of shots to get the best photo. It was definitely worth the wait.

 

Brian from Sidmouth U3A in Devon has had a few garden visitors since lockdown began including a sparrow hawk on the left below and a blackbird at the bird feeder on the right.

 

Christine from Evesham U3A in Worcestershire has bluetits (below) nesting in her garden.

 

 

Not having a garden didn’t stop Jenny, Abbeywood and Thamesmead U3A, in London from snapping this lovely goldfinch nesting in a tree outside her flat (below).

 

Jonathan, Sutton Bridge U3A, in Lincolnshire, was delighted to be able to watch a pair of song thrushes from an upstairs window. This ivy-covered sycamore tree is a magnet for the garden birds.

 

This gracious Grey Heron was snapped by Richard, Sudbury U3A, in Suffolk, on the bank of the River Stour in Great Cornard.

Roundup of bird sightings

Beverley, Thanet U3A, has spotted a huge variety of birds in her garden: goldfinches, great tits, starlings, great spotted woodpeckers, woodpigeons, collard doves, black birds, magpies, robins, sparrows and seagulls. 

Meriel has set up a garden birdfeeder with suet blocks and seed mix. She regularly see: robins, great tits and wood pigeons. 

Denham, Edinburgh U3A, has had visits from long tailed tits in his garden occasionally for 30 years This year, during lockdown, a pair built a nest near his conservatory and he now has a constant stream of novel behaviours to observe through the window.

Rob, Narbeth U3A, spotted a wheatear on the shore of the Cleddau river near Landshipping.

Jane from Forest Town U3A regularly sees blue tits, coal tits, great tits, long tailed tits, wrens, magpies, blackbirds dunnocks, sparrows, collared doves, wood pigeons, buzzards, sparrow hawks goldfinches, greenfinches and great spotted woodpeckers.

Peregrines nesting on Rochdale Town Hall can be watched on the Rochdale Council website -recommended by Valerie from U3A Whitworth.

Robins, dunnocks, blackbirds, blue tits, long tail tits, goldfinches, pigeons and magpies are among the visitors Gill, Arnold Nottingham U3A has had in her garden.

John, Waterlooville U3A has been bird spotting on the Farlington marshes bird reserve and seen shellducks, wigeons, avocets, blacktailed godwits, gadwalls, skylarks, blackbacked gulls, many blackheaded gulls, many moorhen and coots, lapwings, mallards and canada geese.

Val, Chichester U3A has shared her garden sightings with us including chiffchaffs, chaffinches and garden warblers.
Alison Trenery, Uttoxeter U3A, saw two housemartins peeping over the edge of their nest (which had stayed put over the winter) in the eaves of her house.

Sandra, Barnsley U3A, has spotted blackbirds enjoying the sun in her back garden.
We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

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BirdWatch - Wonderful photos from members

BirdWatch - Wonderful photos from members

U3A members have continued to send us their fantastic bird photos and tales of feathered visitors to their gardens as part of the BirdTrack scheme.  BirdTrack is provided by the British Trust of Ornithology and is a project in which participants take note of the species of birds they see in order to help BTO analyse migration movements and distributions of birds across Britain and Ireland.

Members have enjoyed watching the birds and also listening to the wonderful birdsong in our green spaces as the lockdown encourages the local bird life to become more active. Please carry on sending in your observations and sharing with U3A via our online form.

Carolyn, from Dunstable U3A, has spotted a collection of birds including this preening mallard in Tring reservoir (left) and a partially leucistic rook at the rear of Dell Farm Whipsnade with other non-leucistic rooks (centre). The duckling on the right was one of 11 at Trying reservoir. Who can’t resist a duckling?

Jacqueline from Mawdesley and Villages U3A heard a bittern booming in Martin Mere but hasn't heard it since sadly. And took this great picture of moorhens fighting in the canal in Burscough.

Dennis, from Walsall U3A snapped this pigeon enjoying a bath during the warm weather.

Pauline Phillips from Newbury U3A frequently sees a red kite flying over her garden as seen in this great picture.

Roundup of other bird sightings
Mary, from Harborne & Edgbaston U3A, saw the following birds on a hot and sunny morning in Chad Valley, Birmingham: wren, dunnock, blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, robin, treecreeper, chaffinch, blackbird, feral pigeon, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker, magpie, carrion crow, grey heron, mallard, lesser black-backed gull.

Michael, from Tamworth U3A saw 5 or 6 tree sparrows, a pair of blue tits, male & female black birds, a pair of dunnocks, a pair of yellow hammers, starlings, a pigeon, a pair of collared doves and a robin using the seed feeder. A kestrel perched on his neighbour’s satellite dish and he could also hear and see buzzards being buzzed by crows.

Please keep your photos and stories coming in - we love them -  thank you so much.

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Birdwatch Update 7

Birdwatch Update 7

As lockdown starts to ease have you noticed any difference in the birds visiting your garden and the birdsong? Over lockdown members have been waking to the dawn chorus, feeding birds in their gardens, and enjoying the wildlife they have encountered on daily exercise outings....We want this connection to stay with us as we move through summer into autumn.

Roger from Shipston-on-Stour U3A took this photo of a little Yellowhammer who had got lost in their garden room, but it was fortunate that it wasn't difficult to guide him outside again through the big, open windows. They have a Yellowhammer nest in a big hedge near the house, as well as a Blackbird and Wren one. These all produce a huge amount of chatter.

John, Thorpe Bay U3A, photographed this sparrowhawk taking a bath in his garden on 6th August this year. John has three bird baths and two small ponds in my garden and has seen many birds using them during the hot, dry summer.



Gudrun, Shipston-on-Stour U3A, saw this little wren watching her, while she was having coffee on the patio. Their nest is very close by in the hedge and it is so amusing to watch the little ones having flying lessons, encouraged and supervised by their parents.



We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.


Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

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Birdwatch Update 8

Birdwatch Update 8

As autumn approaches birds will be migrating to adapt to the changing seasonal weather.

From September birds start arriving back from the Arctic and Iceland, whilst others such as Swallows and House Martins begin their journey south, flying off to warmer weather in Africa. Birds such as Gannets, Terns and Manx Shearwater are also leaving their breeding grounds to head off for the winter. All over the world, every year, millions of birds are on the move. 

Have you noticed a difference in the birds you are seeing in your gardens? Please do share this with us and send in your photos.

David Beare took this fantastic photo of a long tailed tit in his garden.

Ros, St Albans, had a little robin friend that follow her round about a metre away as she crawled under the rhododendrons to pull up spreading ivy. He must have thought they were on the same team – with Ros exposing loose earth for him to find worms to eat!



Chris, St Austell, snapped this fledgling goldcrest in his garden.



We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

 

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Continue to Keep Fit with Mr Motivator

Continue to Keep Fit with Mr Motivator

Thank you so much to the thousands of you who are joining our series of fitness workouts with the TV Fitness Guru Mr Motivator. The series is specifically aimed at U3A and Third Agers.  Just a gentle reminder that if you haven’t yet, you can still join us and take part in the fitness sessions on a weekly basis.

It is a six day programme of eight minutes a day - and works every muscle group in the body.

It's so important to take regular exercise particularly during this lockdown period so this is a shout out to all third agers to please join us.

You can take part in the week long programme by going to our playlists here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheU3a/p...

To learn more about joining U3A during this lock down time please go to https://u3asites.org.uk/code/u3asite.php?site=1102

Look forward to you joining us #SayYeh!

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Covid-19 Update 16th March

Covid-19 Update 16th March

Third Age Trust CEO Sam Mauger and Chair Ian McCannah said,
“Thank you to all U3As for your support and advice over this changing period of time. 

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Developing U3A Learning - can you help?

Developing U3A Learning - can you help?

We are developing our U3A platforms and want to hear from you about what you want to see from our online learning.

The learning department has created a survey to help them develop the new Online Learning Hub.

This is going to be an online collection of all of the resources and tools you need to support learning across your interest groups and your U3A.

This short questionnaire will give us valuable information about what’s important to you, and what we need to consider in the design and implementation of the Online Learning Hub.

None of the questions are compulsory and your response is anonymous. It should take less than ten minutes.

Complete the survey here.

You can find out more about learning and what we do at U3A here.  U3A gives you opportunities to develop your interests, make new friends and have fun. There are more than 1,000 U3As – spread right across the UK – and members are making the most of life by continuing their creative, educational or social interests in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere.  Why dont you find out more and join us 

We look forward to meeting you.

 

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Diary Project - Living History

Diary Project - Living History

U3A members are being asked to help craft a shared learning project where they create living history of this extraordinary time.

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Don't miss out - Tickets still available for our guest talk

Don't miss out - Tickets still available for our guest talk

We are delighted to welcome guest speaker, Richard Hill MBE, a pioneer for the development of adapted cricket across the UK.  Please join us as Richard talks to u3a about how sport in general, and cricket in particular, can easily be made accessible to more people. 

Working for the England and Wales Cricket Board, Richard’s involvement in disability cricket spans over 25 years. He has been at the forefront of developing disability cricket across the UK and is the national lead on Walking Cricket. Richard was awarded an MBE in last year recognising his long service in this area of sport.

There will also be space at the end of the talk for members' questions about how to adapt sports to make them as inclusive as possible.

This event is a great opportunity for U3A members to learn about making Sport groups more accessible.

The talk will take place on 4 September (Friday) at 2pm.  Book your place.

Details on how to join the event via Zoom will be sent out to all registered participants one day before the event.

 

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Event: How to Make Sports More Accessible

Event: How to Make Sports More Accessible

Join us for a talk with Richard Hill MBE, a pioneer for the development of adapted cricket across the UK.

The talk will take place on 4 September at 2pm and Richard will discuss how sport in general, and cricket in particular, can easily be made accessible to more people. This includes formats of the game such a Wheelchair Cricket, Clock Cricket and Walking Cricket. There will also be space at the end of the talk for members' questions about how to adapt sports to make them as inclusive as possible.

Working for the England and Wales Cricket Board, Richard’s involvement in disability cricket spans over 25 years. He has been at the forefront of developing disability cricket across the UK and is the national lead on Walking Cricket.

This event is a great opportunity for U3A members to learn about making Sport groups more accessible.

Book a place on the talk here

Details on how to join the event via Zoom will be sent out to all registered participants one day before the event.

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Exciting New Online Events

Exciting New Online Events

We are pleased to announce two new online U3A national events.

We have been working hard over many years to build relationships with leading organisations around the UK to offer bespoke U3A events to members. 

During this time of pandemic we are able to offer online events - kicking off with two one-off free taster sessions.   These online events begin on 3 July,  with the National Gallery, exploring Ruben’s Samson and Delilah.  The second event, courtesy of The British Library, on 23 July, on Children’s Literature. 

These events will be held on Zoom. The hope is that these taster sessions will help develop a longer lasting online programme complimenting our existing events.  

See more and book onto both events on the Event page

Thank you so much for joining us at the beginning of this exciting new venture and we look forward to seeing you there.

Image on front page:  Peter Paul Rubens, Samson and Delilah, about 1609-10. ©National Gallery, London

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Exclusive interview U3A National Event

Exclusive interview U3A National Event

Following the suspension of the National Events Programme due to government advice on social distancing, the key speaker for Behind the Scenes of Dame Mary Quant - Heather Tilbury Phillips, Bury St Edmunds U3A and former Director of Mary Quant’s Company, has kindly agreed to give an exclusive interview with U3A about the fashion icon’s enduring legacy.

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FAQs - 18th March

FAQs -  18th March

The Third Age Trust has put together this Question and Answer list – collating all its current advice on coronavirus which has been sent out to U3As. Please continue to look out for mailings as the situation changes.

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Finance and Insurance

Finance and Insurance

Please stay safe and vigilant as fraudsters increase their activity in times of uncertainty and confusion. If in doubt don’t pay it and check with your fellow members. This may be helpful: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

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First U3A Radio Podcast

First U3A Radio Podcast

Join us for the first U3A Radio Podcast episode on 29 September. 

The first episode will be broadcast on U3A's Youtube channel straight after the AGM on Tuesday 29 September. This is the first in a series of broadcasts and will explore the theme U3A Looking Forward. 

The U3A Radio podcast series showcases every part of the movement from members, interest group leaders, Trustees, national volunteers and Subject Advisers. It has been created by U3A members Ela Watts, Peter Clift and Nick Bailey, who all have experience in radio, demonstrating the breadth of talent across our movement.

Do you have a story you'd like to share? Get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ideas to Keep Learning

Ideas to Keep Learning

U3A’s are demonstrating their creativity, innovation and engagement by coming up with ways of staying active and keeping connected during these extraordinary times. U3A members have come up with some great ways to keep in touch. Here are some of your suggestions on what you are doing - we will be posting many more in the coming days.

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 9

Ideas to Keep Learning  - 9

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Bicester U3A

Bicester U3A has gathered some local information to help through the current period. Have a look at their suggestions which include The Royal Mint Exhibition online. For those who haven’t visited the Royal Mint you can now see it online at Royal Mint

BBC iPlayer 

BBC iPlayer has loaded lots of new content including classic box sets, such as all 10 series of popular spy drama Spooks, plus Wallander, French & Saunders, Waking the Dead and The Missing.

Concerts

Andrea Bocelli's Easter Concert was streamed from the empty cathedral in Milan - you can view this on YouTube just go into YouTube and search on Andrea Bocelli.

Violinist Daniel Hope is performing chamber music concerts from his living room in Berlin, with specially invited guests. Every day at 1800 (CTE) Click on Violin Concerts.

Dance

Sadler Wells theatre are using Facebook to stream a number of productions.

Whymondham U3A

Zoom is proving useful for Wymondham U3A who are using it with their family history group members, making the most of the screen sharing facility. It means that one person can advise on how to fill in data - they cannot control the other persons’ computer but they can see where the mouse is and say “up a bit – down a bit – click on that and enter this!

Hitchin U3A

A member at U3A Hitchin has been offering a weekly dance exercise class for members using the free Zoom app. This is a fantastic way to keep fit and catch up with your friends online as well.

Cookridge and Horsforth U3A

Cookridge and Horsforth U3A has been using their website to good effect with two new pages on our website - one U3A AT HOME and the other THINGS TO DO. Members send in ideas, and links and the group leader refreshes the content. They also have a telephone scheme to keep in touch with those who live alone and a closed Facebook group.

Norfolk U3A
Many local interest groups have set up dedicated website pages since lockdown to help members stay in touch. Have a look at this Norfolk U3A group website for ideas and inspiration.

Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show will be taking place virtually this year between 18-23 May. Full details will be available soon but you can read the latest update here. Many people feel they need gardening in their life now more than ever before for their mental and physical wellbeing. Whether it’s for admiring the plants or learning how to grow your own food.

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 10

Ideas to Keep Learning - 10

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

The Tower of London

For nearly a thousand years the Tower of London has stood as a prominent landmark on the city’s skyline. Having witnessed some of the nation’s most testing moments, including invasions, plagues and infernos, today it represents our collective strength and resilience 🏰 The Tower blog looks at the trials the Tower has withstood over the centuries, starting way back in 1066… bit.ly/towerblog-part1

National Theatre

The National Theatre has released its first online pub quiz with hosts including Ian McKellen. You can watch the full quiz here

Chair Yoga

Follow chair yoga with Age UK Westminster on their YouTube account. This episode demonstrates a range of postures that increase the suppleness and strength of our lower backs. Improve your posture and reduce nagging back pain by following along with the exercises.

Record your own audio cards

TalkingPrint are giving away 2000 blank Record Your Own Audio cards for people in isolation. This is a lovely way to post a personal message to someone that may not have internet access or if you just want a different way to get in touch during hard times. 

Mindfulness

Judy Cooper leads the Mindfulness and Meditation groups at Wellingborough U3A. Judy is offering free 33mins downloads of her Island of Peace relaxation/visualisation to U3A members here.

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 11

Ideas to Keep Learning - 11

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Produce a calendar

Whitwick and District U3A’s Digital Photography Group have designed and produced a calendar with photos from members with a different stunning photo each month. It’s a lovely way to share the group’s photos and a useful calendar for members. 

Word with friends 2

If you want to play word games with your friends online you can invite them through this smartphone app which is almost as good as real scrabble and just as competitive.

Sketchbook or art group

We can still draw and paint at home and share with each but taking photos and sending on, the craft time can be therapeutic as well. 

Quizzes

Quizzes have never been so popular as they are at the moment and they’re easy to run on zoom or other videoconferencing. Wanstead and Woodford U3A have published all the questions and answers from their quizzes here to help you get ideas for yours: https://u3asites.org.uk/files/w/wanstead-woodford/docs/montageof1-10quizzes.pdf

Take part in a quarantine supper club

Either make your own food for your own dinner party or join in a supper club organised by a restaurant that is operating online. Have a look for your favourites and see if they are running something online.

Garden groups

Share photos and virtual garden tours with other members, as well as putting photos of members’ gardens on the website. We all have more time (and good weather) to get our gardens looking really wonderful, so it’s nice to share them virtually with people outside our household! 

The words

Some members have been sending us their experiments with words which have put a smile on our faces. Have a look and send yours in if you’re feeling creative:
C currently
O oxford
R researchers
O opine
N no
A acceptable
V vaccine
I is
R ready
U until
S September

Author – Priscilla Dawson

L learning
E everything
A and
R remembering
N nothing
I. isn’t
N normal
G granny.

Author- Kath Williams

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 12

Ideas to Keep Learning - 12

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Face masks

Two members of Porthcawl U3A have been making face masks for members. Every Wednesday, they give them out on the promenade in Porthcawl and deliver to members who are confined to home. Members have supplied them with unwanted material, cotton & elastic. So far, they've made over 750 masks & they show no sign of stopping!

Film making

Learn how films are made through this free Open Learn course from the National Film and Television School. Explore Film Making

Online exhibitions

You can also view a Hockney exhibition on-screen here: David Hockney - Exhibition on Screen

Wildlife Quizzes

There is a quiz on bird and animal noises from the Canal and River Trust: Canal & River Trust quiz - bird and animal noises

Bridge

Many regular Bridge players are following Bernard Magee and his lectures on YouTube. You can either arrange to play with three people who are known to you or just join a bridge table with people from around the world. Also see https://www.bridgebase.com/

Tulip Festival at Arundel Castle 

This is now not happening due to the current situation but photos of the Festival are now on a specially created website: https://tulipfestival.co.uk. The photos are really phenomenal. 

Photography

Over the last few months the Photographic Group members at Arun East U3A have undertaken several challenges and a selection of the photographs produced can be viewed on the Arun East Website Photography section

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 13

Ideas to Keep Learning - 13

Mill Hill U3A has started a collective and uplifting poetry exchange.
Members are asked to send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 on the list of 2 names sent in the email text with the email subject Poem Exchange. It could be a favourite text/verse/meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Or perhaps a poem in another language with a translation.

After the member has sent the short poem/verse/quote/etc to the person in position 1 in the list given, and only that person, they then copy the email text into a new email and put the email address of the person they have received it from into position 1, and their own email address in position 2. Then send it to 20ish friends BCC (blind copy). Please make sure you have permission for sending anything or write your own poetry to avoid copyright issues. 

Newcastle U3A has continued their online learning initiative on their website and also added a section on wellbeing which is just as important in the current climate. It had nearly 122 visits in just over 2 weeks. 

Crowborough U3A have been keeping their activities going during lockdown through alternative means. Some of these are listed here: Research, reading and discussion plus sharing their results by email. Live streaming from theatres etc. around the world, then share reviews. Keep Fit exercises, from TV and You Tube. Weekly 30 minute French conversations. Photography competition. Poetry swops. Playing and Singing together on Zoom (Ukulele). Online Jazz. Old movies. Quizzes. Book reviews. Virtual tours of Museums and Art Galleries. Swopping fun videos and jokes. 10 minute talks on Zoom. Researching future historical walks. Showing craft assignments by photo. Q and A sessions. Current affairs discussions by email. Plans for future group outings discussed. Online genealogy research. TV Drawing programmes.

The Friday garden group at Crowborough U3A has managed a horticultural exchange. Members with excess seedlings, homemade compost or plant divisions have left them in front gardens to be collected by other members on request. 

The Crowborough Woodwork Group has also been sharing their achievements by what’s app - a set of steps for exercise, a box and a stool, a child’s swing, a hammock support and a planter (modified from a pallet).

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 14

Ideas to Keep Learning - 14

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Zoom

Ayr U3A has organised social events via zoom such as a weekly quiz and an inaugural Wine and Cheese party. They have also been recommending that their members complement group activities with online learning via YouTube. Some examples, are the Arts Society, National Theatre live streams on Thursday nights (and available for 7 days), or if you fancy exercising your vocal cords then have a look at Gareth Malone Great British Home Chorus.

Weald and Downland Living Museum has a comprehensive reference library relating to vernacular architecture, building conservation and rural crafts and skills – it is one of the leading archives in the country on these subjects. There is a link to their online catalogue on the website which lists the topics covered. Whilst the books themselves aren’t available at the moment, Carol Brinson is very happy to answer any queries you may have on the areas in the catalogue if you email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Family History Resources
• The Genealogist is offering a free package of their most useful record sets, their image archive and digital magazines for beginners to use for 3 months. No card details, no subscription. Details here.
• A large number of documents held in the British Library can currently be accessed for free. Suggest you start here to explore.
• Access The National Archives for free.

Card Games

The webmaster at Maldon & District U3A has developed Zoom-based versions of two card games (Bridge and Hearts), which are very popular with members. These are available online to download. They can be played by any number between 8 and 24 players, and it requires only minimal skill, so is a fun and social event.

 Front page picture credit: Croydon U3A Creative Writing Group

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 15

Ideas to Keep Learning - 15

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.     

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross have free online classes available for anyone who thinks they would benefit. 

The Digital Classrooms are first aid classes in smallish groups with trained British Red Cross staff and volunteers. These are a one off class teaching 4 first aid skills and last for approx. 90 minutes and can be booked online through our website.

TLC (Tea, Learn & Connect) is a warm and welcoming weekly social get-together by video call with an informal learning element. Subjects differ every week. No preparation required, just turn up and connect with others.

Both these offers are available to book on their website

Writers against Covid-19

Members of Potters Bar U3A have started a new initiative - Writers Against Covid-19 - who continue to publish a new short story every day, providing people with an entertaining read to take their minds off the pandemic. With more than 80 stories from around the world, written especially for this time, there’s something for everyone, from humour to crime. Find them here 

This week is Flash Fiction Week with more stories than ever: two each day of 500 words or less, plus a longer story.

The project was started to help all those feeling lonely and isolated when lockdown was announced in the UK back in March. With so many readers from the English speaking countries enjoying the story, they have no plans to stop.

Lockdown Projects

Stone & District U3A in Staffordshire have already undertaken several projects during the period of the lockdown and the photographs from the Macro and Close-up project can be seen here

Stone U3A Guitar Group

Tony from Stone U3A guitar groups wanted to share his story of how they have been running their group during lockdown.

‘Hello everyone my name is Tony Dodd and I run the Stone U3A Guitar Group.

We are a group of 34 individuals who enjoy playing guitar and singing along to a diverse style of music from 60s and 70's pop songs to folk and country, in fact any style song which will suit a large group of players of different abilities from virtual beginners who are just learning to put a few chords together to accomplished guitarists who have been playing for years and enjoy playing in a group.

I encourage individuals to perform on their own in front of the group and indeed many are now doing so, including those who wouldn't have thought it possible in the beginning,(it’s a great confidence builder). Unfortunately Coronavirus put a stop to our weekly meetings at Walton Community Centre so we now meet online every Wednesday through Zoom .

We have a core online membership of between twelve and seventeen members and enjoy a chat and playing as individuals. Unfortunately Zoom does not allow us to play together due to the time lag so to get over this problem only one person will play and sing a song from our group song book while the rest mute their sound and play along at home. If an individual does not want to play they can pick a song and nominate someone to play it for them. When everyone has had a choice from the song book they can play a number of their own which is a great way to let them show of their skills and entertain the rest of us.

This is not ideal and we all look forward to returning to playing live together
(whenever that may be), but in the meantime Zoom will have to do.’

 

Front page photo credit: Lymington U3A Ukulele Hangout

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 16

Ideas to Keep Learning - 16

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Phil Joiner from Wanstead and Woodford U3A produce a fantastic newsletter which is jam packed with ideas. It’s on the or website so you can have a look and pick up ideas from them as well as snippets of news and updates.

Carlton & Gedling U3A opera group has taken on a whole new lease of life since the lockdown started. They now meet twice a month. At each meeting they discuss an opera they have watched in the preceding fortnight and one of them introduces the next opera they are going to watch in the next fortnight.

They have been watching operas on YouTube, usually on Operavision. The operavision operas are usually high quality in performance, picture and audio. There are 30-40 operas available at any one time and they are usually available for a couple of months each. ALL FOR FREE. The repertoire is, if anything, particularly strong on operas which are less well known although there are lots of popular classics as well.

Mac McKechnie from Barnsley U3A has posted a series of videos called Lockdown Magic on YouTube as a way of reaching members during lockdown. You can watch the first of these here, the second, third, fourth and fifth are all available online as well.

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 17

Ideas to Keep Learning - 17

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Yoga

Our first U3A yoga newsletter has now been published on our Yoga subject advice page. We hope that you find the content stimulating and inspiring. Our plan for future editions is to make them even more collaborative to reflect the diversity of U3A Yoga and the interests and passions of those who teach. Please do make contact with Peter Burton U3A Subject Adviser on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to find out more. 

Contents include:
• Teaching yoga in the third age
• U3A Yoga Teacher profiles
• Osteoporosis and yoga
• What’s your ‘line’ or yoga style
Contraindications
• Book reviews and resource recommendations
• What’s on
• Requests for help / advice

Cards
U3A card group: Scunthorpe and District is a small group that meets on a lunch time at a café in town weekly. Things came to halt during lockdown but a review of a website in a computer magazine changed all expectations.

The website called playing cards does not push you to play for money or restrict what you play. Basically, you are given a virtual pack of cards and a table and it is up to you to do what you want with them. 

You have got to physically meet-up because you need to chat – just as you would do with actual cards. Anyone can deal, anyone can do anything with any card on the table (just as you can when using actual cards) and each player has a section of the board where his/her cards are hidden from everyone else. There is a current maximum of 6 with social distancing, and the group has been meeting over the last few weeks, first in a garden and now back to the COVID sensitive Cafe. 

As long as one person understands how to set up the game everyone else simply needs a tablet and an e-mail. The venue needs WiFi.

 

 Front page photo credit: Croydon U3A Chair Yoga group

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 2

Ideas to Keep Learning - 2

Have you tried all the ideas we posted last week? Here’s some more of our members' ideas and advice on how to keep learning and stay active

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 3

Ideas to Keep Learning - 3

Thank you for all your ideas on how to keep learning, active and connected in these extraordinary times.  Here are some more fantastic ideas.

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Ideas to keep learning - 4 and How to Guides

Ideas to keep learning - 4 and How to Guides

Thank you to our members for continuing to share your great examples of staying in touch with each other – using digital and other ways to stay connected. 

National office has produced a set of How to Guides on how to use digital platforms like Zoom.  We also have links on how to Stay In Touch during these times and useful contacts for the latest advice on coronavirus.  You can also find those links at the bottom of this page.

Here are some more ideas on ways to keep in touch and keep learning:

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 5

Ideas to Keep Learning - 5

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 6

Ideas to Keep Learning - 6

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

 

Write and record your poetry

Express your creativity and share your thoughts with members through poetry. Video yourself reading your words and share with other members through social media platforms such as Youtube. 

World Book Night

World book night UK is going ahead on 23 April so you can join in the national celebration of reading. Download an audio book from your local library or dig out your old favourite from the bookshelf and share what you’re reading with fellow members online. 

Make your own cards

Friends and family will still have birthdays despite coronavirus and now, more than ever, they will appreciate a card from you, especially if it’s homemade. Use sequins, glitter or cut up pieces from magazines to make a collage.

Have a reading facetime

No doubt the younger members of your family have a long list of books they need to read for school. Why not do it together over facetime? Read to each other and share the thoughts on your books.

Take virtual tours of our historic buildings and landmarks

Many of the places you would like to visit, now it’s spring, are currently shut but you can still tour them virtually. Check out your local places of interest to see what’s on offer or browse some of the London landmarks for ideas. 

Garden virtual tours

Kew Gardens is just one example of gardens that are doing a virtual tour to allow visitors to see the beautiful changes in the 320-acre jewel without having to leave the safety of their own homes. Visit their website  https://www.kew.org/ and click Read and Watch, scroll down and click on a video of your choice.

Macramé

Want a change from knitting? Try your hand at its lesser-known cousin, macramé. You use knotting techniques on textiles to turn them into beautiful decorations or interior items, like plant-hangers, for instance. Share what you’ve made.

Learn First Aid

Health and safety is at the front of our minds at the moment and there are many courses online to teach you all the things you thought you didn’t have time to learn. Try the Red Cross website for useful information. 

Tai Chi

This 5 minutes a day online course is a great start to learning the tai chi movements gradually. 

A room with a view

People all over the world are sharing the view from their window as we all find ourselves cocooned indoors. Share these on facebook or via what’s app with your groups. 

King Lear Prizes

King Lear Prizes is a new national creative arts competition for over 70s stuck at home because of coronavirus. Find put abiu the categories and submit your entry here: www.kinglearprizes.org.uk

Plant a time capsule

Collate pictures, diaries and other objects made during this interim period and make a time capsule then plant it under a new tree on U3A Day.

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning - 7

Ideas to Keep Learning - 7

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Live Transmissions

The Royal Opera House has live transmissions at 7pm on Fridays on You Tube. You can also find more online opera on our resources library by searching for opera as a subject.

Sing along

Sing along with Gareth Malone's home choir at 5pm every day Monday to Friday hosted by Decca on You Tube.

Audio Book

Take advantage of the free audio books available via Audible. 

Picture of the Month

Vote for the Picture of the Month with the National Gallery. A chance to pause, reflect and appreciate the detail of one great painting. 

Online Cinema

The various cinema chains and independents are offering a variety of free on-line showings so it's worth looking at their individual websites to see what's on offer.

Genealogy

 If you’re interested in genealogy and family history research, you’ll be pleased to know that millions of digitised records held by the National Archives will be made freely available while Britain remains under lockdown . These will include wills, military and immigration records.

U3As

Wanstead & Woodford U3A has been including some light hearted, informative, and brain taxing activities in their weekly newsletter with the inclusion of several quizzes and they have generously circulated them to many of the London Region U3As. There have been 5 issues to date and we have included an edited montage of these here (with the answers to the quizzes separately). 

Barnet U3A Art Appreciation Group 2 is having zoom meetings at the normal time but every week as to fulfil the need for human contact and thought provoking chat. They are looking at exhibitions online and watching art programmes on the television and choosing a topic to discuss. Check out their website for more great ideas.

Bridge

There are several sites online bridge sites for members to play or practice online. They provide a link for a chat on bridge related matters and some have video links. An example of one of these is https://www.bridgebase.com/

Quizzes

Quiz lovers will be pleased to know that holding a quiz using Zoom is easy. You can set up what they call "breakout rooms" and the meeting organiser/quiz master can assign each team its own breakout room. The teams may then talk among themselves and the others will not be able to see or hear them. The quiz master can send messages/questions to everybody. At the end remove the rooms and all come together again for answers and marking.

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning – 8

Ideas to Keep Learning – 8

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

U3A Wallasey - Things to Do 

Thank you to U3A Wallasey who have shared their Things to Do website page with us which is full of good ideas to keep learning and busy. Some of these are included in this edition of Ideas to Keep Learning.

Free Musicals

Free musicals and plays you can now stream during the coronavirus outbreak: http://www.filmedonstage.com/news/76-free-musicals-and-plays-you-can-now-stream-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak-updating-daily

BBC Bitesize

BBC bitesize courses: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize. Aimed at school children but any age can learn from these and develop their skills.

Love Lowry Colouring

Love Lowry Colouring - help yourself to some colouring-in sheets based on some of the most famous paintings by LS Lowry. We’d love to see how what you do with them! Sheets are available to download and print out here.

Whitwick & District U3A - continuing to learn

Whitwick & District U3A has also shared their suggestions for continuing to learn with us. Have a look at their website which is full of good ideas and a taster of these are below: 

Memories

Swannington Heritage Trust is encouraging people to spend 15 minutes a day recording their memories https://swannington-heritage.co.uk/home/swannington-history/15-minutes-a-day-memory-project/ People have all sorts of interesting memories - so write them down and give them to an appropriate history group.

Online Jukebox

A member from Whitwick has come up with the idea of an online jukebox, which goes something like this: Members take it in turn to choose a favourite record, which must be available on YouTube, and recommend it to those members taking part, with reasons why it is a favourite, and feed back comments online with an online vote.

Famous Garden Tours

This House Beautiful website gives 8 tours of famous gardens and there were more if you google virtual garden tours. https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/garden/g31913008/best-virtual-tours-garden/ Send photos into your U3A of your gardens over the time of the lockdown as no doubt everyone will be working hard in them and they will be the best they have ever been.

Royal Academy

The Royal Academy is opening its doors in the online sense to the Picasso and Paper exhibition. Have a look online.

Pam Ayres

Pam Ayres has posted a fantastic performance about physical exercise on YouTube which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7b_GleX0EQ. Pam has a humorous take on keeping fit!

Bloomsbury

In response to COVID-19 and the migration to online classes, Bloomsbury is offering extended access to Drama Online for U3A. Created as a research tool for drama and literature students, professors, and teachers, Drama Online is home to playtexts, video, audio plans, and scholarly books to offer a multimedia experience of theatre. U3A members can access this for free until 15 June to watch recordings of National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare productions and also look at the scripts available. You can access Drama Online on our Learning Resources Centre

 

 

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Ideas to Keep Learning 18

Ideas to Keep Learning 18

Continuing our series which shares great ideas and the latest ideas and suggestions to help you keep active, keep connected and keep learning.

Films

Carlton and Gedling u3a have started a film study group in response to cinemas and theatres being closed. They meet twice a month to watch a film agreed at the previous meeting. To keep the programme interesting they alternate the selection of film: they discuss a classic film from the history of cinema in one meeting and in the next, a fairly recent or contemporary film.

So far they’ve been able to choose films from a variety of free streaming platforms, including iPlayer and All4. The advantage of these streaming platforms is that members don’t all have to watch the film at the same time, they’re available to anyone with a smart tv, internet connection or cable….and they're free. People study the film at their leisure in the two weeks between meetings.

The group started with almost the very beginnings of cinema with a couple of short films by Melies and the latest classic was Orson Welles’ astonishing directing debut Citizen Kane. Next up is a twisty time travel thriller: Twelve Monkeys directed by Terry Gilliam. If you’d like to discuss taking your u3a’s film group on line or starting a film group, email Paul Martinez on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bulletins

Phil Joiner from Wanstead & Woodford u3a is continuing with his series of Bulletins which can be viewed on the right hand side of their website. He started these in March and the first was supposed to be a ‘one off’ but people seemed to enjoy it so he carried on and has compiled 23 issues so far. Writing the Bulletins and Stop Press has been therapeutic and has warded off boredom.

 We love hearing your great ideas to keep learning so please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Interactive Talk – How do I get published?

Interactive Talk – How do I get published?

We are delighted to offer an interactive session on Zoom with publishing expert, Alysoun Owen, the editor of Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.

Alysoun will be talking about how to get your work published including the main routes to publication (agent-publisher, crowdfunding, and self-publishing) and concentrate on how to prepare your manuscript for submission to literary agents. The talk will cover what you need to know, where you can get reliable information, which agents (and publishers) you should approach, with what and how.

The Writers’ & Artists’ and the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook part of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, has remained the authoritative resource for writers for over 100 years.

This talk is suitable for those writ U3A members among you who are writing fiction and non-fiction for all ages from children through to teens and adults and across all genres. Following the talk there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions about the hows, whys and wherefores of the often mysterious world of book publishing.

Book your place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-get-your-work-published-registration-113004800400

We are also very pleased to offer U3A members a site wide discount on Bloomsbury books of 30%. U3A members should use code U3A30 at the checkout to obtain this discount

And you can see more on U3A members' books on our Facebook page -   In My Own Write

 

 

 


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Join in our Weekly Quiz

Join in our Weekly Quiz

Does your U3A already have a quiz interest group, or are you looking to put one together? Or do you just have some time and want to get involved?

Chris Wright, the Subject Adviser for quizzes has put together six weekly quizzes designed to challenge you and get you thinking.

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Join Our Creative Covid Collaboration,

Join Our Creative Covid Collaboration,

We’re excited to launch a new U3A initiative, the Creative Covid Collaboration.

This new project will celebrate how U3A members have been using craft techniques to connect, learn together and support each other during Covid-19. 

We’re asking you to make a 10inch by 10inch square in any colour, medium or theme you wish. 

This will become part of a national collage, formed of hundreds of pictures of squares, individually designed and created by members and U3As across the country.

Squares can be submitted by individuals, but we also want to encourage you to collaborate with others, and with this in mind, a dedicated Closed Facebook group has been set up to give members an opportunity to discuss and share ideas with each other.

We will also be arranging sessions on Zoom where you can support each other and learn from watching others make their squares.

You can find out more about the project on our learning pages- we look forward to hearing your ideas and seeing your creative squares.

 

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Join our discussion group on Amateur Radio

Join our discussion group on Amateur Radio

Are you an Amateur Radio enthusiast? Would you like to meet people with the same interest to share experiences and support each other in this area? We will be discussing topics such as how has lockdown affected your engagement as a radio amateur and how U3A could assist members who wish to begin, develop or share their hobby as radio amateurs.

Amateur Radio, sometimes known as ham radio, is a worldwide communications hobby that allows individuals to learn about using transmitting equipment and make contact with other enthusiasts.

The meeting will take place on Zoom on 13 August, 2pm to 3pm. To book your place please register on eventbrite here.

If you have any questions please contact Janine Aldridge on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Keeping in Touch

Keeping in Touch

We have been talking with U3As and many members across the U3A community about the creative ways older adults can use to stay healthy, active and connected with each other.  

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Keeping U3A Members Updated

Keeping U3A Members Updated

We are working very hard to keep our members reglarly updated on the latest Government and NHS guidance on Covid-19 pandemic as it relates to U3A.

We recently (31 July) issued the revised guidance in a mailing to U3A committees  for dissemination to their members.

The latest update highlights the need to remain vigilant and review local lockdown regulations to determine whether this guidance still applies in your area. 

The Third Age Trust Advice Manager, Jane Bailey said, "The road ahead during this transition phase towards coming out of lockdown is clearly going to be complex and will require us to watch for any changes that occur.

"At this time we need to take measures to plan for the future easing of restrictions while remaining cautious and not taking unnecessary risks."

As U3A members, you can find this updated guidance as it relates to U3A behind your members' login here

 

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Learn how to Zoom

Learn how to Zoom

Thank you to our wonderful Trust Volunteers who have been delivering tutorials about how to use and access Zoom. 

An Introduction to Zoom tutorial lasts for 1 hour and helps members use this technology. 

The Introduction to Zoom session covers the following topics:

  • Joining THIS meeting
  • Challenges for people using different technology
  • Participating in a meeting 
  • Chat functions: Audio and Video
  • Speaker view / Gallery View
  • Setting up a meeting:  Using the Screen, Screen sharing, Breakout rooms
  • Questions and answers
  • Staying safe

Due to the popularity of these sessions and as AGMs and Committee meetings are starting to meet virtually, the team have created an advanced tutorial.

This covers the following topics:

  • Scheduling a meeting: preparation and setting up a meeting; managing time and breaks; sending out invitations and links; inviting participants; having practice runs with participants.
  • Leading a Meeting: preparation beforehand; screen sharing; sharing slides; breakout rooms; managing participants; giving attendees a waiting room; Gallery view; Mute Fuction; Raising the hand; polling; Co host options.
  • Questions and Answers

These tutorials have proved so popular we have now recruited four more volunteers who will be ready to join the team and start delivering tutorials to expand our capacity so watch out for more dates going up on the website.

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Live Longer Better

Live Longer Better

The Third Age Trust is delighted that thanks to Kennet U3A, we are able to offer a new talk – Living Longer Better led by Sir Muir Gray, previously the Chief Knowledge Officer of the NHS.

This talk explores Sir Muir’s great interest in ageing and how to cope with it. Based on his research and experience, he has developed a new paradigm to help people live longer better.

Sir Muir has kindly agreed to give his ‘living longer better’ talk on Zoom at 2pm on 27 July for the Trust.Kennet U3A have helped make this happen and we are very grateful to them.

You can find out more and book a place at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/living-longer-better-registration-113323116492

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Living History in Unprecedented Times

Living History in Unprecedented Times

U3A members are being asked to help craft a shared learning project where they create living history of this extraordinary time.

This project is a living history of members’ experiences during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

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Love to sing? Why not join our virtual Choir?

Love to sing? Why not join our virtual Choir?

We’re inviting U3A members from across the UK to take part in a national virtual choir project.

This project is being helped by Plymouth U3A member Richard Keoghoe. In a series of Zoom sessions spanning over 5 weeks, participants will learn the arrangement and practice singing the song ‘Savannah’, composed by Richard. The final product will be made up of recorded contributions from each member. This will then be shared on our YouTube channel and across our social media platforms.

The first Zoom session will take place on 20 August at 2pm, and the sessions will take place every Thursday until 17 September. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions, however if you are unable to make one please do not let this discourage you from taking part.

Find out more about the project and sign up to the event for free with Eventbrite.   Sign up to the first session and a link to all the Zoom sessions will be sent to you by email.

Not a U3A Member?  Why dont you join us?  Find out more details here

 

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Made It! Make It!

Made It! Make It!

Have you been using your time during the lockdown to start a new creative arts and crafts hobby or to dedicate to an existing interest?  We are looking for your ideas, suggestions and pictures of what you have made while we are in this lockdown period.

We know there are thousands of you  in your interest groups continuing to be active during this time and producing some fantastic items. 

Thank you for your pictures so far - you can see them on the learning pages

If you are able to direct people to resources or sources of support so that others can have a go, either on their own, or with their interest group then please do so. We will publish as many of your pictures and ideas as possible.

Please make your submissions here to Made It! Make It!

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Maths Challenge - Week 1

Maths Challenge - Week 1

Please take part in our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. Check back this time next week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting National Office. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday for the next six weeks.

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Maths Challenge - Week 10

Maths Challenge - Week 10

Welcome to Week 10 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for week 10 and the answers to the week 9 challenge.

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 11

Maths Challenge - Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.
On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for week 11 and the answers to the week 10 challenge.

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 12

Maths Challenge - Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for week 12 and the answers to the week 11 challenge.

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 13

Maths Challenge - Week 13

Welcome to Week 13 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for Week 13 and the answers to the Week 12 challenge.

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 14

Maths Challenge - Week 14

Welcome to Week 14 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for Week 14 and the answers to the Week 13 

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 15

Maths Challenge - Week 15

Welcome to Week 15 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for Week 15 and the answers to the Week 14

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 16

Maths Challenge - Week 16

Welcome to Week 16 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.  On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for Week 16 and the answers to the Week 15

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 17

Maths Challenge - Week 17

Welcome to Week 17 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages. On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for Week 17 and the answers to the Week 16.

Each week the maths challenge provides problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge - Week 2

Maths Challenge - Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin. Thank you so much for joining in Week One - the solutions are at the bottom of this page.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. Check back each week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Questions Week 2

Question 1

If the cold tap alone would fill a bath in 20 minutes and the hot tap alone would fill a bath in 30 minutes, how many minutes would it take to fill the bath with both the cold and hot taps on?

Question 2

The six angles of two different triangles are listed in decreasing order. The list starts with 115, 85, 75 and 35. What is the last angle in the list?

Question 3

Eight pens cost £10 and some pence while eleven more cost £26 and some pence. What is the cost of a pen?

Question 4

An octahedron is drawn by connecting the centres of the faces of a cube. What is the ratio of the volume of the octahedron to that of the cube?

 

Solutions for Week One

Question 1 Solution

By the time the faster car starts the slower car will have travelled one hour at 40 m.p.h. and so will be 40 miles ahead. The faster car will catch up at a rate of 10 m.p.h. and hence will take 4 hours to catch up these 40 miles. The distance travelled at 50 m.p.h. during these 4 hours before overtaking will be 200 miles.

Question 2 Solution

Classifying by side length there are:
Sixteen unit squares: 9 shaded in grey/brown; plus 2 in each of the second, third, and fifth rows and 1 in the fourth in white
Seven 2 x 2 squares: 3 starting in second row, 1 starting in third row, 3 starting in fourth row
Three 3 x 3 squares: 1 starting in top row, 2 starting in third row
Two 4 x 4 squares: Both starting in second row.
One 5 x 5 square: Enclosing the diagram
So, 16 + 7 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 29 in all.

Question 3 Solution

If n is a number such that (n ‐1) is divisible (assuming from the question it is
not 1) by a prime p then (n ‐1) = mp for some m. Applying this to the four first
primes we get
n = 2.3.5.7.m + 1. The only such number below 300 is 211 (for which m = 1

Question 4 Solution

Let the length of the square sides be x and the height be h.
Then the 10 cm2 will cover a surface area of 2x2 + 4xh
So 10 = 2x2 + 4xh and h = (10 – 2x2)/4x = ½ (5 – x2)/x
Hence V = x2h = x2.1/2. (5 – x2)/x = ½. (5x – x3) *
dV/dx = ½ (5 – 3x2) and d2V/dx2 = -3x
So V has a maximum at x = √5/3 (note d2V/dx2 < 0 here)
And hence from * maximum volume is ½. (5 – 5/3)√(5/3) = ½ .10/3.√(5/3)
= 2.1517 cm3 to 4 dec. places

 

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 3

Maths Challenge - Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.  Solutions to Week 2 are at the bottom of the page

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

Check back each week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting National Office. New maths puzzles will go up each week.

Week 3

Question 1.
In a batch of 8 correctly manufactured balls , a faulty, slightly lighter ball has
been accidently added. With a traditional style balance and no additional
weights how could the lighter ball be identified and what is the minimum
number of weighings needed?

Question 2.
In ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson were called
upon to measure out exactly 4 gallons of water at a fountain to defuse a bomb.
They were to use just a 3 gallon container and a 5 gallon container. How would
you have solved this puzzle? Can you find a way of measuring out all amounts
from 1 gallon to 8 gallons?

Question 3.
Show that if p is a prime greater than 3 then p2 – 1 is divisible by 24

Question 4.
What is the probability of getting a one pair hand in poker?

Week Two - Solutions

Question 1.
If the cold tap alone would fill a bath in 20 minutes and the hot tap alone would fill a bath in 30 minutes, how many minutes would it take to fill the bath with both the cold and hot taps on?
Solution
The cold tap fills at the rate of 3 baths per hour while the hot tap fills at the rate of 2 baths per hour. The cold and hot taps together would fill at the rate of 3+2 = 5 baths per hour, hence the time to fill one bath with both taps on would be one fifth of an hour, that is 12 minutes.

Question 2.
The six angles of two different triangles are listed in decreasing order. The list starts with 115, 85, 75 and 35. What is the last angle in the list?
Solution
115 + 85 = 200; 115 + 75 = 190; so 85and 75 cannot be in a triangle with 115.
The remaining angle in the triangle with 85 and 75 is 20.
20 is less than (180 – 115 – 35) = 30, so 20° is the last angle in the list.

Question 3.
Eight pens cost £10 and some pence while eleven more cost £26 and some pence. What is the cost of a pen?
Solution
Let the cost of a pen be p pence.
8 x 125 = 1000, 8 x 138 = 1104; so p is at least 126 and no more than 137
19 x 137 = 2603; so p is at least 137
Hence p = 137 and cost of a pen is £1.37. 

Question 4.

An octahedron is drawn by connecting the centres of the faces of a cube. What is the ratio of the volume of the octahedron to that of the cube?
Solution

Suppose the cube side length equals 2a.
The octahedron is made up of an upper pyramid and a lower pyramid. The height h of each pyramid equals a. By Pythagoras the base of the pyramids is a square of side length √2a. So, the surface area B of the base equals 2a2.
Volume of octahedron
= volume of upper pyramid + volume of lower pyramid
= 2Bh/3
= 4a3/3
Volume of cube = 8a3
Ratio of volume of octahedron to volume of cube = (4a3/3)/8a3 = 1/6.

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 4

Maths Challenge - Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. The solutions to week two’s problems are below. Check back each week for the solutions - Week 3 solutions are at the bottom of the page - and let us know how you get on by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Week Four

Question 1

In the addition sum below, A, B, C & D represent different digits, and all the digits in the sum are different. What is the sum of A, B, C & D?

5A
BC
D43

Question 2

You cash your pay cheque and save half of it. With the rest you pay a debt of £20 and buy something for £5. After spending 1/5 of the remaining money you are left with £12. How much was your pay?

Question 3

What is the area of the shaded square formed within a 10cm square?


Question 4

I have a wooden right circular cone with height H and radius of base R. What is the greatest volume right circular cylinder I can cut out of this?

 Solutions to Week 3

Week Three

Question 1
In a batch of 8 correctly manufactured balls , a faulty, slightly lighter ball has
been accidently added. With a traditional style balance and no additional
weights how could the lighter ball be identified and what is the minimum
number of weighings needed?

Solution
First consider the simpler case of just 3 balls of which one is known to be
lighter. Place any 2 of these balls on the scales. Either this identifies the lighter
ball or they balance in which case the third ball is the lighter one. For nine
balls, first divide them into three sets of 3. Then proceed as above to establish
which set of three contains the lighter ball; and then repeat with this set of
balls to find the lighter ball. We need then just 2 weighings to identify the lighter ball.

Question 2
In ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson were called
upon to measure out exactly 4 gallons of water at a fountain to defuse a bomb.
They were to use just a 3 gallon container and a 5 gallon container. How would
you have solved this puzzle? Can you find a way of measuring out all amounts
from 1 gallon to 8 gallons?
Solution
The answers are set out in terms of the contents of the 5 and 3 gallon
containers (in that order) at each stage of the operation with the final position in bold.
To get to 4:
(5, 0) (2, 3) (2, 0) (0,2) (5,2) (4, 3)
For other numbers:
1: (0 ,3) (3 , 0) (3, 3) (5, 1)
2: (5 ,0) (2, 3)
3: (0 , 3)
5: (5 , 0)
6: (0 , 3) (3 , 0) (3 , 3)
7. (5 ,0) (2, 3) (2 , 0) (0 ,2) (5, 2)
8. (5,3)

Question 3 
Show that if p is a prime greater than 3 then p2 – 1 is divisible by 24 

Solution
Primes greater than 3 have the form 6n ± 1. This is because 6n ± 2 is even and 6n + 3 is divisible by 3.
If p = 6n ± 1 then p2 – 1 = 36n2 ± 12n + 1 – 1
= 36n2 ± 12n
= 12n (3n ±1)
If n is even then 12n is divisible by 24.
If n is odd then 3n ± 1 is even and so 12(3n ± 1) is divisible by 24.

Question 4
What is the probability of getting a one pair hand in poker?

Solution

There are 52 C 5 = 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48 possible hands
There are 13 values a card can take and 4C2 = 6 ways a pair can be formed from the 4 suits. So the number of pairs is 13 x 6
The remaining cards have to be distinct by value and there are 12C3 ways this can happen and each of these can come from the 4 different suits. So there are 12C3 x 43 ways this can occur.
So the probability of a one pair hand is (78 x 12C3 x 43)/52C5 = 1098420/2598960 ≈ 0.42268
This frequency is higher than one might intuitively expect.

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Maths Challenge - Week 5

Maths Challenge - Week 5

Welcome to week 5 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. The solutions to week two’s problems are below. Check back each week for the solutions - Week 4 solutions are at the bottom of the page - and let us know how you get on by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Week Five

Question 1

Fiona leaves home at 8:30 am on Monday. She averages 60 mph from the time she leaves home until she stops for lunch at 12:00 am. She has travelled 3/5 of the way to her destination. After a 30-minute lunch break, she continues her journey at a slower average rate of 40 mph due to unfavourable weather conditions. What time does she reach her destination?

Question 2

How many triangles of any size are in the following diagrams?

Question 3

I have a box without a lid with dimensions 5 x 5 x 5. I place 125 cubes of
unit size in it. How many of these cubes have just one face touching the box?

Question 4
In the right angled triangle below AM bisects the angle at A and meets the side BC at M with BM = 1 cm and MC = 2 cms. What is the length of AM?

Solutions - Week 4

Question 1


In the addition sum below, A, B, C & D represent different digits, and all the digits in the sum are different. What is the sum of A, B, C & D?

Solution

D will be a carry-over from the sum (5 + B = D4), then D = 1.
Since the sum (A + C) cannot be (1 + 2), the only digits available that sum to 13 are 6 and 7 and then B = 14 – 5 – 1 (carry-over) = 8.
The sum of A, B, C & D is (6 + 8 + 7 + 1) = 22.

Question 2

You cash your pay cheque and save half of it. With the rest you pay a debt of £20 and buy something for £5. After spending 1/5 of the remaining money you are left with £12. How much was your pay?

Solution

Let x = pay
Then, pay = ½ (saving) + (debt) + (buy) + 1/5 (remainder) + (left)
x = 1/2x + 20 + 5 + 1/5 (x - 1/2x - 20 - 5) + 12
x = 1/2x + 20 + 5 + 1/5 (1/2x – 25) + 12
x - 1/2x + 1/5 (1/2x) = 25 – 5 +12,
10/10x - 5/10x - 1/10x = 32
4/10x = 32, then x = (32 * 10)/4 = 320 / 4 = £80

Question 3
What is the area of the shaded square formed within a 10cm square?

Solution

Area of the original four 5 cm x 5 cm squares =
10 cm x 10 cm = 100 cm2. By rearranging the 4 segments as shown, four squares at 100 cm2 turn into five squares at 100 cm2. Therefore, the shaded square area (one of the new five squares) is then = 100 / 5 = 20 cm2.

 Question 4

I have a wooden right circular cone with height H and radius of base R. What is the greatest volume right circular cylinder I can cut out of this? 

Solution
Suppose that the cut is made by removing a cone of height h then the radius of the remaining cylinder is (h/H)R with height H - h. The volume V of the remaining cylinder is therefore given by:
V = π[(h/H)R]2(H-h)
For a maximum or minimum
dV/dh = 0
ie π[(1/H)R]2(2Hh - 3h2) = 0
ie h = 2H/3 and since d2V/dh2 < 0 this is at a maximum
That is, for maximum volume the cylinder must be cut out of the bottom third of the cone giving a volume of:
π[(2/3)R]2H/3 = (4/27)πR2H

 

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 6

Maths Challenge - Week 6

Welcome to week 6 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. The solutions to week five’s problems are at the bottom of the page. Check back each week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting National Office. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Week 6

Question 1

Maura has to visit towns B & C in any order. The roads connecting these towns with her home (A) are shown on the diagram below. How many different routes can she take starting from A and returning to A, going through both B & C (but not more than once through each) and not travelling any road twice on the same trip?

Question 2

I am collecting tokens and already have 12 and collect another 4 each week. When I have 100 I will be able to exchange them for a free meal. When will I be able to do this? A friend has 40 tokens and collects 3 each week. Which of us will be the first to get their free meal?

 

Question 3

In the figure below AD = 4, AB = 3, and CD = 9. What is the area of triangle AEC? Note: As a reminder, the area of a triangle is ½ (base x height) and the diagram is not drawn to scale.

Question 4

a and b are positive real numbers with a > b which satisfy the equations
ab = 56/(a – b); a2 + b2 = 113/(a – b)
What is a + b?

Week Five Solutions

Question 1

Fiona leaves home at 8:30 am on Monday. She averages 60 mph from the time she leaves home until she stops for lunch at 12:00 am. She has travelled 3/5 of the way to her destination. After a 30-minute lunch break, she continues her journey at a slower average rate of 40 mph due to unfavourable weather conditions. What time does she reach her destination?

Solution

Miles travelled = 60 mph x 3.5 hrs. = 210 miles
1/5 distance travelled = 210 / 3 = 70 miles
2/5 distance remaining = 2 x 70 = 140 miles
Time for travelling remaining distance = 140 / 40 = 3.5 hours
Total time for driving & lunch = 3.5 + 0.5 + 3.5 = 7.5 hours
Arrival time = 7.5 hours after 8:30 am = 4 pm

 

Question 2

How many triangles of any size are in the following diagram?

Solution

 

The first three diagrams show pairs of shaded triangles and the fourth diagram shows a seventh triangle. The triangles exist in four additional positions (by rotating these diagrams) giving us 7 x 5 = 35 different triangles.

Question 3

I have a box without a lid with dimensions 5 x 5 x 5. I place 125 cubes of
unit size in it. How many of these cubes have just one face touching the box?


Solution

There are 25 cubes touching each side of the box. Of this 25 the 5 cubes at the
bottom and the two sets of 4 cubes which neighbour the adjoining vertical
sides of the box have two faces touching the box. That leaves 12 cubes which
have just one face touching the box. So there are 4 x 12 = 48 cubes along the
vertical walls which have only one interface with the box.
At the bottom of the box the interior cubes are 3 x 3 = 9 in number
So overall there are 48 + 9 = 57 cubes with exactly one face touching the box.


Question 4

In the right angled triangle below AM bisects the angle at A and meets the side BC at M with BM = 1 cm and MC = 2 cms. What is the length of AM?

Solution

Draw a line from M to meet AC at a right angle at K.
A B M C

As angles BAM and MAK are the same and ABM and MKA are right angles and AM is common to both triangles BAM and MAK, then those triangles are congruent.
Hence MK = BM = 1 so CK2 = CM2 – BM2 = 4 – 1 = 3 so CK = √3
AC2 = (AK + CK)2 = (AB + √3)2 = AB2 + 2√3AB + 3
AC2 = AB2 + BC2 = AB2+ 9
So 2√3AB = 6
AB = √3
AM2 = AB2 + BM2 = 3 + 1 so AM =2 cms.

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 7

Maths Challenge - Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

The solutions to week six’s problems are at the bottom of the page. Check back each week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting National Office. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Week Seven

Question 1

I am a two-digit prime number having no divisors other than one and myself. One less than me is a square number while half of one more than me is also a prime number. What am I? 

Question 2

Six years ago, Mikayla was 3 times as old as Tatum was. If Mikayla is now 24 years old, how old is Tatum?

Question 3

How many triangles of various sizes are in the figure?

Question 4

James has more than 250 toy soldiers. When he tries to put them in rows of 3 there are 2 left over. When he tries to put them in rows of 5 there are 2 left over. When he tries to put them in rows of 7 there are 2 left over. What is the least number of toy soldiers that James may have?


Week Six Solutions

Question 1

Maura has to visit towns B & C in any order. The roads connecting these towns with her home (A) are shown on the diagram below. How many different routes can she take starting from A and returning to A, going through both B & C (but not more than once through each) and not travelling any road twice on the same trip?

Solution
Clockwise: A to B to C (x2) and back to A (x2) = 4 routes,
Counter Clockwise: A to C (x2) to B (x2) and back to A = 4 routes.
Total different routes = 8.

Question 2

I am collecting tokens and already have 12 and collect another 4 each week. When I have 100 I will be able to exchange them for a free meal. When will I be able to do this? A friend has 40 tokens and collects 3 each week. Which of us will be the first to get their free meal?

Solution

After n weeks I will have
4n+12 tokens
For a free meal we require 4n+12 ≥100
Hence n ≥ 22 weeks
After n weeks my friend will have
3n+40 tokens
For a free meal we require 3n+40 ≥ 100
Hence n ≥ 20 weeks
So I will be a couple of weeks behind

Question 3
In the figure below AD = 4, AB = 3, and CD = 9. What is the area of triangle AEC? Note: As a reminder, the area of a triangle is ½ (base x height) and the diagram is not drawn to scale.

Solution

If we take AE as the base of triangle AEC, then the height is CD.
The height of triangle AEC is therefore equal to 9 (as given).
To find the base, note that triangles AEB and CDE are similar.
The ratio of AB (3) to CD (9) is 1:3 and is therefore equal to the ratio of AE to ED.
Now dividing AD (4) into this ratio gives us AE = 1 and ED = 3.
The area of triangle AEC would then be = ½ x base (AE) x height (CD) = ½ x 1 x 9 = 4.5.

Question 4
a and b are positive real numbers with a > b which satisfy the equations
ab = 56/(a – b); a2 + b2 = 113/(a – b)
What is a + b?
Solution
(a - b)2 = a2 - 2ab + b2 = (113 – 112)/(a – b) = 1/(a – b)
So (a – b)3 = 1, and hence a = b + 1
Substitute for a in ab = 56/(a – b) to get b(b + 1) = 56/1
Or b2 + b - 56 = 0
(b + 8)(b – 7) = 0
b = 7 (the only valid solution as b is stated to be positive).
Then a = 8, giving a + b = 15.

 

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Maths Challenge - Week 9

Maths Challenge - Week 9

Welcome to Week 9 of our weekly maths challenge, which is being hosted on our learning pages.

On the learning pages you can find the a new set of questions for week 9 and the answers to the week 8 challenge.

Each week the maths challennge provides  problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group.

New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

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Maths Challenge – Week 8

Maths Challenge – Week 8

Welcome to Week 8 of our weekly maths challenge, with problems and puzzles posed by Gordon Burgin, Andrew Holt and the U3A Maths and Stats Subject Adviser - David Martin.

If you would like to share your ideas on how to solve these puzzles please join our learning forum or discuss within your U3A and interest group. The solutions to week seven’s problems are at the bottom of the page. Check back each week for the solutions and let us know how you get on by contacting National Office. New maths puzzles will go up onto the website every Thursday.

Week 8 

Question 1
The figure below shows a square inside a circle which in turn lies inside a square. The inner square meets the outer square at its midpoints. What fraction of the area of the outer square is the area of the inner square.

 

Question 2
The front wheel of a Penny Farthing bicycle has a diameter of 1.5m. This type of bicycle had no gears and had pedals attached to a large front wheel which was made as big as possible to increase speed. A cyclist pedals at 60 revolutions per minute. What speed will the cyclist be travelling at?

Question 3
111,111 is the product of 5 primes. What are they? 

Question 4
3² + 4² = 5²
10² + 11² + 12² = 13² + 14²
21² + 22² + 23² + 24² = 25² + 26² + 27²
What is the next equation in this sequence?

Week Seven Solutions

Question 1
I am a two-digit prime number having no divisors other than one and myself. One less than me is a square number while half of one more than me is also a prime number. What am I? 

Solution
The two-digit square numbers in range are 16, 25, 36, 49, 64 and 81 which are one less than 17, 26, 37, 50, 65 and 82 respectively. 17 and 37 are the only primes. One half of one more than 17 is 9 which is not a prime number while one half of one more than 37 is 19 which is a prime number. The number is therefore 37 whose reversed digits 73 also form a prime number. 

Question 2
Six years ago, Mikayla was 3 times as old as Tatum was. If Mikayla is now 24 years old, how old is Tatum?
Solution
Let Tatum’s age now be T years and Mikayla’s age now be M years.
Then (M - 6) = 3(T - 6) and M = 24
So 18 =3(T - 6)
6 = T – 6
T =12
Tatum is 12 years old.

Question 3
How many triangles of various sizes are in the figure?

Solution
Listing the number of triangles in increasing size
16 + 16 + 4 + 4 = 40 triangles
Question 4.
James has more than 250 toy soldiers. When he tries to put them in rows of 3 there are 2 left over. When he tries to put them in rows of 5 there are 2 left over. When he tries to put them in rows of 7 there are 2 left over. What is the least number of toy soldiers that James may have?
Solution
Let N be the number of soldiers he has.
Then N = 3x+2 = 5y +2 = 7z + 2 for some whole numbers x, y, z.
N - 2 = 3x = 5y = 7z. But 3 ,5, 7 do not have any factors in common, they are coprime, so N – 2 = n x 3 x 5 x 7 = 105n for some n
The first such number above 250 is when n=3 giving N - 2 = 105x3 = 315 i.e. N =317

 

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Members of Ilkley U3A help sew scrubs for GPs

Members of Ilkley U3A help sew scrubs for GPs

U3A members in Ikley have joined a local effort to help create new scrubs for NHS workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and were featured on BBC Newsnight this month.

People in Ilkley formed a sewing team – to help create scrubs for GPs who usually wear their own clothes but need extra protection in the current circumstances.

Ilkley and District U3A member Barbara Bullock joined the sewing team – which has a number of U3A members - after seeing a call-out for volunteers. 

Former Home Economics teacher, Barbara had already started making masks for people in the local area so making scrubs was a natural progression. 

Barbara who makes a set of scrubs a day, said, “I thought that is was something I could do and I had the time. It’s good to feel useful and that you’ve got something to do and some way you can help.

"I think a lot of the U3A members are really enjoying it. I’m enjoying it. It’s given us something to do, it’s given us a purpose and we feel as if we are helping”.

The sewing team has created 300 scrubs and are now providing scrubs and bags for care-workers.

Are you or members of your local U3A involved in making scrubs or masks? We’d love to hear about it. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Mindfulness Sessions - Week 4

Mindfulness Sessions - Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of our Mindfulness Sessions with U3A Subject Adviser - Nancy Taylor.  Please listen to them on our Youtube Channel or by clicking here

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Mindfulness Week 2

Mindfulness Week 2

Please tune into Week 2 of our weekly U3A Mindfulness sessions run by our Subject Adviser Nancy Taylor Listen here on the U3A YouTube channel

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Mr Motivator Teams Up with U3A

Mr Motivator Teams Up with U3A

Mr Motivator has teamed up with U3A for a series of exercising videos.

The fitness personality, best known for his brightly-coloured outfits and enthusiastic work-outs, has created a six-day long programme for U3A members starting on Monday 20th April. 

Designed to be accessible to everyone, including those who may not have exercised in a while, the videos are intended to get members active and feeling positive. Mr Motivator said of the series, “I’m going to have a great time and I hope U3A members will too! It’s about feeling good - I’m looking forward to it".

The eight-minute long videos will each focus on a different muscle in the body meaning that the program will be a full-body work out. In order to make it accessible, you dont need specalist equipment to get involved – Mr Motivator encourages the use of everyday things that you might have around the house, like cushions or water bottles instead of weights.

Each video will be shared on the U3A Youtube channel at 10am between Monday and Saturday so that U3A members can feel that they part of a larger community of people exercising together.  Then you can use them every week.

We'd like all third agers out there to get involved and join us.  If you're not a member of U3A - you can find out more at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can watch the videos at the U3A Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheU3a
Looking forward to you joining us every week.

 

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NatWest and U3A Talks and Lectures

NatWest and U3A Talks and Lectures

We are delighted to continue our new series of free learning sessions on a variety of topics in association with experts from NatWest.

We are running more Friends Against Scams Sessions on Wednesday 20 May at 10.30am - follow this link and book your place now.

You are also invited to take part in a live streamed lectures happening every Thursday at 2:30pm - the first one is on Investment Shams  this Thursday 21 May

Sessions will be delivered by NatWest staff with expertise in the topic. Any U3A member is welcome to join the lecture by Facebook (you do not need to have a facebook account just head to our U3A page for 2.30pm ) or to the NatWest Youtube channel - we will give you the link nearer the time. 

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NatWest Interactive Talks

NatWest Interactive Talks

We are delighted to offer a brand new series of free learning sessions on a variety of topics in association with experts from NatWest.

Friends Against Scams Sessions

Experts from NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank will update you on the latest coronavirus scams and how to protect yourself from fraud. The sessions will be hosted by a Community Banker and are open to anyone who would like to know more about how to keep themselves safe from fraud and scams.

How the sessions will work

Sessions will be held by region, using video conferencing and we are asking you to register your interest by region. We will then send you the joining details for a session in your region. We are limited by the number of people who can join each one and so if the session is full up we will hold additional sessions in the following weeks to ensure that everybody is able to take part.

Please note your details will not be passed to NatWest at any time.

Sessions will take place at the following times:

12th May 10:30am – 11:30am for members of U3As in the following regions:

  • South East
  • South West
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • East of England
  • London 

Register your interest here for the 12th May sessions in the above regions: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friends-against-scams-south-and-midlands-12th-may-registration-104321267720

13th May 10:30 - 11:30am for members of U3As in the following devolved countries and regions:

  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • North West
  • North East
  • Yorkshire and the Humber 

Register your interest here for the 13th May sessions in the above regions: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friends-against-scams-north-and-devolved-countries-13th-may-registration-104451320712

A NatWest and U3A Lecture series

You are invited to take part in a series of live streamed lectures happening every Thursday at 2:30pm - the first one is on ROBOTICS.

Sessions will be delivered by NatWest staff with expertise in the topic. Any U3A member is welcome to join the lecture by Facebook or Youtube - more details on how to join in the sessions are coming soon.

In the meantime, put this date in your diary as the first lecture on ROBOTICS will be held on 14th May at 2:30pm.

 

 

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New Mindfulness Sessions

New Mindfulness Sessions

U3A members are invited to join our weekly mindfulness sessions hosted on our YouTube Channel and run by the mindfulness Subject Adviser, Nancy Taylor. 

mindfulness

Particularly in these uncertain times - mindfulness has become ever more popular amongst people of all ages, who want to connect with their situation and surroundings.

Jon Kabat Zinn - sometimes referred to as the Godfather of modern mindfulness defines mindfulness as: “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”.  

We invite you to listen and take part in a short mindfulness practice. These sessions will run every Friday for at least six weeks, with each lasting 6-8 minutes. We hope that you find this useful in the current situation. 

Please also take a look at the mindfulness Subject Advice page for further information and support to establish and run your own mindfulness interest groups.

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NHS Portrait Project

NHS Portrait Project

A U3A member has paid an inspiring artistic tribute to nurses at a local hospital.
Janet Benge, a member of Palmers Green and Southgate U3A, created a project - drawing portraits of a nursing team at a nearby hospital.

Initially inspired by work by another artist, Janet contacted a friend who works as a night nurse at Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare, with the idea of painting a portrait of her. This turned into an A3 pencil drawing of the whole team, 18 nurses in total.

Janet said, "This seemed to be a great way to fill in the long hours of self isolation and would give me, a self isolator by virtue of my age, an opportunity to contribute in some small way towards the ‘war effort."

 During the project which took Janet six weeks - each nurse sent Janet a photo which she worked from, drawing four full figures, and fourteen heads.

The work now hangs at HRCH along with a tribute that Janet wrote to the team and the work they have been doing during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The drawing was included in The People’s Picture - a rainbow mural made up of 12, 456 pictures saying thank you to the NHS and key workers, which was displayed at Piccadilly Circus.

Read Janet’s tribute to the nurses on our U3A blog Sources

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Online Showcase

Online Showcase

Dulwich and District U3A have hosted a ‘Showcase of Talent’ event on Zoom.

The event, which took place of their normal monthly open meeting, featured performances from their various interest groups. 

The event featured a Zumba demonstration, a poetry reading, a piano recital, a self-scoring Quiz, a presentation from the art group convenor, a creative writing story and a play reading.
Despite some technical difficulties, the event had 100 attendees. 

Neil Abrahams, Chair of Dulwich U3A, said, "We wanted to have some sort of special event for our members in place of an Open Meeting, and one which would encourage them to see the benefits of using Zoom and attract their friends and colleagues.

"It was good to know that there was a demand for such a presentation and that so many of our members were happy to Zoom in to it.

"We had lots of nice notes from members who enjoyed the experience and hopefully will consider participating in future"

Dulwich and District U3A is planning another Showcase event, ‘On with the Show!” this month.

 

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Our Creative U3A Members

Our Creative U3A Members

Bill Jeffries, a member of Bicester U3A, has been using our member only Keeping In Touch Facebook group as a way to share his photographic experiments.

Bill first posted photos of flowers against a black backdrop, demonstrating indoor photography, before trying to capture things in motion, such as an orange hitting a glass or lego being broken. The posts have inspired other U3A members to try photographic experiments.

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Our Volunteer Trustees

Our Volunteer Trustees

As part of supporting U3A member volunteers, we have released an online Trustee Induction presentation- part of our national training progamme.

Advice and Volunteer Manager, Jane Bailey said, "I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to many committee members and one of the common things I see is their absolute dedication to the success of their U3As. What is common throughout is the care, time and genuine concern our member volunteers expend to ensure that problems get resolved, that opportunities to learn are explored and that membership continues to thrive and benefit from the movement.

"At this time of year when new committee members are being sought and when others are stepping down after helping to run their U3As we are delighted to be able to launch an on-line Trustee Induction presentation.   Due to social distancing we have created a voiced-over presentation of Trustee Induction materials which you can go to and watch in your own time at home".

You can find Trustee Induction presentation here

We are trialling U3A zoom discussions for a week after the video presentations.  These will take place on Friday 12 June from 11am to 1pm. To join this please ensure you have watched the video first. To register please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would like to become part of the wonderful U3A movement - you can find out more about joining here

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Remote Painting at Preseli U3A

Remote Painting at Preseli U3A

Preseli U3A in Wales has found ways of keeping their Painting for pleasure group active and connected.

The group, which has 18 members, usually meets on a fortnightly basis to socialise and draw/paint for ‘pleasure’ with monthly themes which members are invited to follow.  While face to face meetings are supended the group has continnued to interact through a Whatsapp group and a weekly Newsletter for those not on Whatsapp

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Scotland U3A's Art Competition Winners

Scotland U3A's Art Competition Winners

The Scotland U3A Withdrawing Art Competition has announced its winners.

After amazing entries from U3A members across Scotland, Lindsay Hewitt has won the 'Withdrawing Art Competition' with her 'Triptych' depicting a forest scene.

A panel of judges made up of U3A members were joined by Sandy Moffat RSA who made the final decision. He said, 'I very much enjoyed viewing the work submitted. It seems to me that the participants gained valuable insight into looking and seeing, as well as gathering information and recording their findings through the medium of drawing and painting.

It was a brilliant idea of U3A to organise such a stimulating competition during the early months of lockdown."

U3A members in Scotland were asked to submit paintings the size of a postcard. Jane Schonveld came in second place with her painting, 'Hens', whilst John Mole came third with 'Poppy Field.'

Photoshop winning scotland comp picture

Photoshop Hens

photoshop poppies

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Setting up a New U3A Interest Group

Setting up a New U3A Interest Group

You might have thought that this period of social-distancing might have meant that no new U3A interest groups were starting up but that’s not true. Penicuik and District U3A in Scotland is a good example - their new Nature Appreciation group has gone ahead as planned.   Group coordinator Hugh Munro explains how they have included members who are both digitally connected and those who are not.

Hugh said, “Our Nature Appreciation group was set up for those U3A members who enjoy the outdoor life but prefer to walk at a more leisurely pace and enjoy the scenery, sounds and sights of nature. The plan was to have morning walks – not exceeding five kilometres - every other week, lasting up to 3 hours. Notes would be taken and a summary of findings produced in a “nature” report.

We couldn’t go ahead as planned with the first meeting in the current times. My wife and I went out to do some reconnoitring for future events. It’s amazing what you can experience if you walk slowly and quietly. I compiled a short report of our first outing and emailed it to our new group. As a result, five of the group have already emailed their routes and observations to others. We have two members not on email but I’m collating all reports into a compendium which can be printed off and posted, probably once a month.

Furthermore, there is no reason why people who might not be able or want to leave the house can’t do observations through their windows. It will be more limited in variety than walking about outdoors but could be aided by bird-feeders.

Compact cameras or binoculars can be helpful in finding and identifying birdlife. I think it’s really positive that we’re finding a way to keep our it going.

To read more on this and other inspiring U3A stories please go to our blog Sources Online

butterfly new interest group

Photo by Hugo Morris

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Social Distancing: Bonsai Group is Back

Social Distancing: Bonsai Group is Back

Carlton and Gedling U3A’s Bonsai group has met in person for the first time since lockdown began.

Following social distancing guidelines, the bonsai group met in a members’ garden – even finding takers for some of their Bonsai cuttings.

Paul Martinez, group convenor said, "We had been keeping in touch through WhatsApp, emails and Zoom meeting, but it is a bit difficult showing the finer points of wiring, pinching out and root pruning through Zoom. We had our first socially distanced meeting in July and it went really well".

Have any of your interest groups started meeting? We would love to know so please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you thinking of restarting your group within the current rules please see our risk assessment form in running your u3a during covid-19 in our members advice area.  You will need your members login.

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Staying Safe Online: An Event on Cyber Security

Staying Safe Online: An Event on Cyber Security

We're so pleased to welcome one of our members, Barry Linton, to share a presentation on cyber security that he has created in liason with Essex Police.

Staying Safe Online is led by Barry of Thorpe Bay U3A who has worked in IT his whole working life. The popular presentation, which had great feedback at previous National Conferences, is being offered to u3a members on 24 September at 2pm.

Barry worked with David Gibbs of Essex Police who heads the Protection Team in the Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate.

The online seminar will talk through the risks of being online, steps that can be taken to keep safe and some of the recent scams that have arisen due to Covid-19. As well as the presentation, there will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Register for the event

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Supporting our Volunteers

Supporting our Volunteers

This week is National Volunteer Week 1– 7 June and while no one feels this is the time for celebrations, U3A wants to acknowledge the important role our volunteers have played during the current crisis and throughout the year. Members who step up and volunteer – whatever the role - help keep U3A the amazing and vibrant movement it is.

Advice and Volunteer Manager, Jane Bailey said, “Throughout the movement, members are contributing in a wide range of roles - everything from committee members and tutors to group convenors and venue organisers – giving up their time to share skills and knowledge and especially at this time, to stay connected with each other. 

“We value and appreciate everyone of our volunteers and thank you so much for your time, energy and commitment to U3A. 

“On Youtube you can see our dedicated film we made in 2019 to showcase our volunteers. In this time they have continued, despite restrictions on face to face contact, to find remote ways to keep learning and connected with each other.

“We will be posting other news and information about volunteering week here and are supporting and encouraging everyone to acknowledge their volunteers throughout the week.

“We will also be creating a new volunteer tab on the website for volunteering news and information so keep checking our website”.

#VolunteerWeek

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The Great U3A Birdwatch

The Great U3A Birdwatch

U3A members are being asked to help keep track of our garden birds. 

You are invited to join Garden BirdWatch, a free online tool to record your own bird sightings and keep up to date with trends.

Provided by the British Trust for Ornithology, BirdWatch is for observers to manage their own personal records and contribute data to BTO science; supporting species conservation on local, regional, national and international scales.


Bird 2 photoshop

Ray, Abingdon U3A, took this fantastic picture of a Red Kite from his back garden.

This is a great opportunity – not only for members of existing U3A Birdwatching groups but for any nature enthusiast looking for a fun, outdoor project. Read more about the BTO BirdWatch Project

We would also love to hear about your sightings of different species or bird related garden activity and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

We will publish a selection of these sightings and photos on our website so please fill out our online form to record these also, as part of our own U3A BirdWatch.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviserfor the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

Look out for a feature interview with Mary and learn more about the garden birdwatch project in this month’s U3A Magazine – Third Age Matters – out next week.  See more on the magazine on TAM's new twitter account @MagU3a

Another initiative to be aware of is the 2020 Big Butterfly Count. You can either download the Big Butterfly Count App or record your results on of the downloadable sheets from their website - bigbutterflycount.org - where you can enter your findings. The Big Butterfly Count will launch on Friday 17 July and run until Sunday 9 August, which is the time when the most widespread and numerous species are on the wing. The website and app will remain open throughout August so that you can submit your counts.

Please take a look at some of the submissions via our news stories:

 
 

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The U3A Quiz - Week 2

The U3A Quiz - Week 2

It's Week 2 of our Quiz with a new set of questions  TV Programmes Anagrams and the answers to last week's questions - Shoparound - which you can download here. 

Chris Wright, the Subject Adviser for quizzes has put together six weekly quizzes designed to challenge you and get you thinking.Each week we will post a new quiz from Chris, with the answers posted the following week. . You may want to form teams and play off against another team in your local U3A or you may just want to challenge yourself.

You can download more information, guidance and resources from the Subject Advice pages in case you've been inspired and want to organise your own quizzes.

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Third Age Matters Talks to Pam Ayres

Third Age Matters Talks to Pam Ayres

The poet Pam Ayres has told U3A that creating well loved poetry isn't as easy as it looks. 

The interview - in the Autumn issue of our members' magazine Third Age Matters - includes Pam talking about her love for hedgehogs and her dislike of restaurants serving food on anything but a plate.

With her Australian tour cut short because of coronavirus and her UK tours postponed, Pam has found herself back at home enjoying her garden which she created with 'the last hedgehogs' in mind.

“My priority has been to make it a wildlife garden, so there are plenty of piles of wood where they can live, a pond where they can come and have a drink and I don’t use any pesticides in my garden so on damp evenings the lawn is covered in worms for them to eat,” she says. “I do see hedgehogs and so do my neighbours. They probably think I am the batty old hedgehog woman.”

Read the full interview in the Autumn issue of Third Age Matters, out on 14 September. 

Find out more about joining U3A here and follow Third Age Matters on Twitter to see more updates about the magazine.

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Trust U3A is launched

Trust U3A is launched

We've launched Trust U3A, a way to join our amazing U3A community online whilst face-to-face contact is limited.

If you join Trust U3A, you will become one of the U3A community and have access to many benefits including our learning resources. Virtual interest groups to join are developing all the time such as Armchair Travellers, Art Appreciation and Philosophy.

Trust U3A members will also be able to take part in National Learning Initiatives such as U3A Eye and Made It Make It, and have access to the newsletter, the Keeping In Touch Facebook group and other U3A member-only resources. 

When we come out of this unprecedented time you may wish to join your local U3A.

Find out more about Trust U3A by going to our website here or please email the secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Membership with Trust U3A runs from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 and costs just £7.50. You can register to join here 

Also - why not follow the new Trust U3A on Twitter here, where we will be sharing updates on the latest news and information.

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U3A Advice Line Welcomes your Calls

U3A Advice Line Welcomes your Calls

The U3A National Advice line is open and as busy as ever. Even though we are working remotely in these unprecedented times, our front line staff and volunteers continue to respond to more than 2,000 calls a month. These include a wide range of issues from how to run a U3A at this time to more general concerns on keeping connected.

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U3A and NatWest Lectures

U3A and NatWest Lectures

We are delighted to continue our new series of free interactive lectures on a variety of topics in association with experts from NatWest.

This Thursday you are invited to Corporate archives: why do businesses invest in them and what benefits do they bring for the business, its customers and the wider community?

Ruth and Sally from NatWest’s Archives team will explain how and why corporations build and maintain archives, what you might find in them, and how they contribute to society at large

These U3A exclusive learning lectures are happening every Thursday at 2:30pm - a date for your diaries - Thursday 4 June you can listen to Impersonation Scams

Sessions will be delivered by NatWest staff with expertise in the topic. Any U3A member is welcome to join the lecture by Facebook - you do not need to have a facebook account just head to our U3A page for 2.30pm.  Or go to the NatWest Youtube channel - we will give you the unique link nearer the time.

 

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U3A Brand Refresh is on its way

U3A Brand Refresh is on its way

A U3A brand refresh is on its way and will be revealed on 29 September.

Over the last year we have embarked on a process of refreshing our U3A brand so that it better reflects the vibrancy, connection, and learning that takes place every day across the movement.  

We have spoken to many U3A members over this time, in UK wide focus groups as well as through many more informal conversations by email, phone and social media. This has been so appreciated and means we are now in a position to launch a new refreshed look at this year’s AGM on 29 September – our first ever online AGM.

The strengthened look, feel and language reflects what the U3A movement is all about and we hope will position the movement to challenge some of the preconceptions around what ageing means.

Keep an eye on our website over the coming weeks for more details. If you would like to be part of the official launch, please do join us at the AGM where it will be unveiled once voting has finished. 

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U3A Civic Award

U3A Civic Award

Jack Berkovi, the Chair and founder of Hampstead Garden Suburb U3A (HSG U3A), has been given a Civic Award from Barnet Council for his work in the suburb. 

Jack founded Hampstead Garden Suburb U3A in 2017 and within five months it had over 500 members and 60 interest groups. He also played a large role in setting up a virtual museum for the local area.

In the nomination statement for the award, the Membership Secretary, Margaret Bendor, said, "Jack is a longstanding Barnet resident and the founder of two charitable organisations which have made, and continue to make, a significant difference to the welfare of the community in and around the suburb. Without Jack’s tireless effort and commitment, neither of these charities would have become as successful and impactful as they are today.

“The success of HGS U3A is testament to Jack’s hard work and dedication as he has encouraged and supported everyone to feel able to run groups.”

Find out more about your local U3A and how to join

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