u3a - Our Impact

By providing people opportunities to come together, learn, volunteer and stay active, the u3a movement is integral to promoting health and wellbeing as we age. 

We understand that there are many things that make it hard for people to come together (e.g. ageism, not having a house or enough income) and we recognise the importance of working together, with ourselves and with others, to help make the world a better place to age well. 


Challenging Ageism

u3a university of the third age petanque

In the UK, ageism is the most prevalent form of discrimination, with one in three people experiencing age-based prejudice or discrimination. A survey of u3a members found that nearly 40% had heard ageist language used about their age group. A fifth (20%) of surveyed u3a members in their sixties said they had been described as ‘elderly’ with nearly two fifths (37%) of them finding the term offensive.

Anti-ageism toolkit 

u3a and the Centre for Ageing Better have joined forces to produce advice to help members challenge ageism and promote positive ageing.

The toolkit, which includes information and resources on how to challenge ageism, including a ‘Top Tips’ guide, is available as a PDF download:

  Ageism Toolkit (1.14 MB)

At the end of 2022, we encouraged members to read the toolkit, put some of the actions into practice and share their experiences. Find out more here.

Redesigning the everyday 

u3a is collaborating with This Age Thing and The Design Age Institute (DAI) at the Royal College of Art to help identify those everyday items in our homes that we find most irritating. We believe that poor design is making our lives more difficult, and we want to do something about it. 

Thank you to the thousands of you who helped us identify the most frustrating everyday objects in your homes. The biggest stress identified in our homes were packaging-related, with over 60% of all respondents choosing packaging as their main frustration. Almost 50% identified food packaging as a real frustration, while medical packaging was found to cause irritation and stress by 12.5% of those surveyed. Other everyday household items which were identified as causing friction were changing duvets (13.3%), TV remotes (5%), high cupboards (5%), and keys and locks (3.5%).

Following your responses, we are putting together a report with the DAI. Together we want to put older adult voices at the heart of design, re-educate business as to what we really need and make everyday objects more usable, more useful and more desirable for all ages.



u3a members volunteer at local, regional and national level – investing their time in a wide range of roles. 

We couldn’t do it without them - they help keep the movement running by offering an extraordinary breadth of skills - from the committee roles, through those working away behind the scenes putting out chairs and making tea. 

Volunteering means I can give something back to u3a and support others who have the same interests as me” 

Mac Mckechnie, Barnsley u3a – National Subject Advisor for both Walking Cricket and Magic 

Want to become a u3a Volunteer? 

If you are a u3a member and you want to become a volunteer for the national movement you can contact the u3a Office to find out more. 


Contact Us

If you have any comments or suggestions about these or other initiatives to increase our social impact, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.