Interest Groups Online Noticeboard

IGO August News Extra

I was so pleased to be involved in the first IGO members get together – Coffee and Chat, last month – I for one thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we had. I hope more of you can make a date for the next one at 3pm on 25th August. Join the Coffee and Chat group on Beacon to get involved.

And how about bringing a friend to IGO? Non-members are invited to try IGO out at our Autumn Fair – ok it’s not until 2-6 October, but have a look now at the lineup of taster sessions, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of tempting choices, booking opens on 1st September. 

Right now of course there are plenty of new groups to tickle your fancy – Family History for beginners, Film Reviews, Improvisation, Jazz Hour and Modern Pop for 3rd Agers – plus we have some startups waiting to tempt you - why not try out Film Studies, Geology, Russian Conversation or Science and Technology. Run your eyes down the Beacon list – there is bound to be something to intrigue you ….

The bird of paradise flower
Photo of Bird of Paradise plant by Stephen, Concise Talks Group Leader

Helen, Trust Volunteer – IGO News Extra Editor

Group News

Hear a little about what the 'What Are You Reading' & 'In Your Neck of the Woods' groups have been up to recently, view all groups on the Interest Groups Online webpage. 

What Are You Reading

Image of the pages of a book against a background of trees
A photo of book pages against a background of trees, Unsplash

Here’s a list of some of the books we mentioned in our recent sessions – including those which were read but were not recommended by the reader – marked here with a double **.

So, if you are wondering what to read next this may be the list to help you choose...

  • Amis, Martin – Inside Story 
  • Atkinson, Kate – Big Sky**
  • Bethel, Shaun – Remainders of the day
  • Cooper, C. J. – The Book Club**
  • Douglas, Claire – The Sisters
  • Fisher, Carrie – Wishful Drinking 
  • Hamilton, Patrick – Hangover Square 
  • Laestadius, Ann Helen – Stolen 
  • MacLaverty, Bernard – Midwinter Break 
  • Morland, Polly – A Fortunate Woman 
  • Thompson, Daniel - Being You: Poems of Positivity 
  • Torday, Paul – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen 

Helen, member of What Are You Reading group

In Your Neck of the Woods

A photo of freshly harvested wild garlic
Photo of the garlic harvested from Stephanie's local area

We are a small group of six people from around the UK. One member found that joining the group helped her to get to know her area after she moved there. We have all learnt from our group friends.

When we meet, we decide on a theme for the next meeting to give us time to research. The group picks up an idea and runs with it - from the High Street to Roman remains, from the changing seasons to ancient dwellings up and down the length of Britain. We each speak for a few minutes about what we have discovered about in our own areas. 

A recent theme was Trails, one member spoke about The Ridgeway, another theme was famous people (alive or dead) who live in or come from the area.

One new member who belongs to her local u3a where they had a magician and singer, may talk about this if we decide to choose 'local events' as a theme. We will never run out of topics!

Stephanie, member of In Your Neck of the Woods group

IGO Fair: Schedule Released Next Week

The Interest Groups Online Fair is an opportunity for prospective IGO members to be a part of our online community for one week and to get a taste of the wonderful groups on offer.

It is open to u3a members plus any Third-Ager who is considering joining IGO. And of course, as existing IGO members, you are all welcome to join the sessions too.

The Fair will take place from Monday 2nd to Friday 6th October.

There will be tasters everyday that week at 10am, 11.30am and 3pm, each lasting around 45 mins.

The week will include tasters across the following subjects areas:

  • Laughter Yoga
  • Railways
  • Creative Writing
  • Exploring Classical Music
  • Learning Recorder
  • Quizzes
  • British Cemeteries
  • Early Women Doctors
  • Space Exploration
  • Climate Change

Taster sessions will be available to book from September, you can view the schedule now.

Why I Love IGO

I have been with zoom groups virtually (excuse the pun) since the beginning. I was so pleased that it continued after Covid restrictions were lifted.  My first groups were: (I attend others too) 'What are you Reading' and 'Short Stories'. I continue to learn a lot from the members in a social and relaxed way, without struggling through rain, snow or heat. Although I do still attend my local u3a too.

IGO is an inexpensive, all-season educational platform that is accessible to all members. The Groups are varied and so numerous there aren’t enough hours in the day.  It is an enjoyable way to Learn, Laugh and Live – Long may it thrive!

Margaret, IGO member

An headshot of Margaret

The Read Write and Discuss group share their pieces on Aspects of Modern Life

Recently the members of the Read Write and Discuss group decided they would attempt a piece of writing about an aspect of modern life, Viv started off with musings about AI and ended up with climate change, new member Roger wrote about the growth of conformity, Pam introduced issues around knife crime, Amanda put her toe in the water on sexual orientation, Hazel spoke of joining Twitter to follow Feargal Sharkey’s campaign against river pollution and Helen gave us a fictional account of the rise of the vaping culture. Pam’s piece on the knife angel prompted them to focus on public artwork in both real life and fictional life at the next meeting.

A photo of a sculpture in Shropshire, made from over 100,000 seized blades
The Knife Angel, a sculpture made by artist Alfie Bradley using over 100,000 seized blades

Rolls of colourful wool, organised by similar colours and leaving a heart shape in the middle


Anagram Puzzler August

Unscramble the letters to find ten crafts or pastimes

  1. Mcaemra
  2. ediiety (2 words)
  3. Gtiniknt
  4. Cohtecr
  5. Niapgitn
  6. Ychaplairg
  7. Gsneiw
  8. Yermdbiro
  9. sskcoroabp (2 words)
  10. Lecgoal

Get the answers in next month's News Extra!

New Groups 


The group aims to learn and practice a range of languages, including British Sign Language, in order to stimulate the later-life brain in a beneficial way. We will not pay strict attention to grammar but focus on the psychological challenge of language learning.

Creating Cryptic Crosswords

This course is intended for members who have completed the Cryptic Crosswords basic course and who relish the challenge of the cryptic crossword creation process. Maybe your puzzle can feature in a future News Extra!

Film Studies

Anyone with a liking for and an interest in cinema, and a willingness to watch movie excerpts can join. The group will reflect on what you've watched and contribute to a friendly, inclusive discussion of 'The Seventh Art' during the Zoom sessions


Does exchanging emails with a u3a member who lives in a different part of the country appeal to you? If so, join this group. While the Penpals Group meets quarterly, its purpose is to pair members for email correspondence. 

Traditional Irish Music

The aim of this group is to study Irish traditional music, by listening and playing it. We will also look for sources of information, listen to music being played and any players among us will be welcome to perform for the group.

Welsh Conversation for Learners

Open to members who have learnt or are learning Welsh and want to practise their conversational skills in a relaxed way. Conversation will be adjusted to suit members' needs. Hwyl fawr!

New Start-Up Group: Presentation Skills

The group hopes to attract members who would like to practice making short presentations. This could be talking about your subject of interest for a few minutes, posting ideas on a padlet or sharing some bullet points and pictures using google slides or power point.

‘The idea would be to practice methods you would be happy to try out - and receive constructive criticism - to help increase your confidence levels’ says Helen, who will be facilitating the group. 

The group will run on Zoom which, for most people, makes it easier to present. This also allows for some digital creativity; you can practice using avatars, asking members to vote in a poll, using the chat facility and sharing pictures to augment your presentation. Read more on the Presentation Skills group page

Why not have a go – you’ll be amazed at the boost it will give to your confidence… 

A colourful stripy mug outside with sunshine rays coming down on it

Answer to Last Month's Quiz

News Extra July Quiz Answers

  1. Ephesus is an ancient city in Turkey’s central Aegean region, near modern day Selcuk
  2. Baalbek (also known as Heliopolis) is a city located east of the Litani River in Lebanon’s Bequaa Valley about 67 km northeast of Beirut.
  3. Jerash The ruined city is Jordan’s largest and most interesting Roman site.
  4. Leptis Magna was a prominent city at the mouth of the Wadi Lebda, Libya.
  5. Herculaneum is in Italy.

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