The U3A

Follow the link to the web site for U3A –

The U3A movement is a unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its U3As, life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery!

Members share their skills and life experiences: the learners teach and the teachers learn, and there is no distinction between them.


Eileen from Rotherham U3A‘s Grow Your Own Group – Read more on Sources
Welcome to the October Newsletter.

We are very excited to be working towards the Development Plan in the coming year. U3A day is one of the first opportunities for U3As to be involved and we are delighted that many of you have put June 3rd 2020 into your diaries already.

We have also agreed the next phase of the Beacon membership management programme and you will be hearing about how you can get involved with this programme over the coming months. We would be very interested in hearing from any U3As that were involved in the International Day of Older Persons in your area or Silver Sunday.

Finally do tell us about any unusual interest groups or activities in your U3A, we are always looking to share your inspirational ideas.
With regards,
Sam Mauger
Chief Executive

In this issue…

U3A Day
What Bank?
Discover Children’s Literature

News from the Trust

Be Part of U3A Day

Plans for U3A Day 2020 on 3 June are now underway with over 130 members already signed up to the closed U3A Day Facebook page and sharing ideas about how they might showcase their U3A on the day.
U3As across the country are being asked to mark the day by hosting eye catching events which showcase and celebrate what happens in their U3A.

Put 3 JUNE 2020 in your diaries and maybe you could set up a working group to consider and plan what you and your members will do on the day.  Ideas are already bubbling all around the country including questions about logistics and practicalities.  We’re still at the formative stage so any contribution you can make will be a great help.

Please sign up to the Facebook page or you can email any queries to

We are currently working on producing templates for marketing materials that can be customised to your locality.  These, with other guidance and downloads, will be available from the national website early next year.

Your support and enthusiasm are really appreciated and will help make U3A Day a huge success.

Some key questions to ask when organising your event for U3A DAY:

• how many members could be involved?
• what could we do to raise our profile – an exhibition? demonstrations/hands-on opportunities? performances? flashmob? U3A drop-in cafe?
• where would we hold the event – outside? inside? public venue?
• how long would it last – morning? afternoon/ all day?
• who should be invited – Press/media? Mayor? Council leader and Councillors? MPs? (many of these will need maximum notification for their diaries)

• how do we get ourselves noticed – contacts with local press? local radio? regional TV? community websites? local social media websites/channels?

Volunteer News

TAM Editorial Board

Are you interested in getting involved with Third Age Matters?

The Trust is looking for members to sit on the Editorial Board of TAM.  The Board meets five times a year with the editor, to review the previous issue and discuss the content of the next magazine.

Applicants should have experience in publishing and journalism.
Please send applications to by 8th November 2019

National Trustees’ Week

Did you know that 4-8 November is National Trustees’ Week?

All committee members are trustees of your local U3A and  responsible for its governance, ensuring it runs smoothly and legally.  Without them, there would be no U3A. So a big ‘thank you’ from national office to all committee members for their time and expertise.

Watch out for posts on all our social media throughout the week
Twitter       @U3A_UK
Facebook  @u3auk


An average new podcast usually has around 300 listens but ALifeWellLived has reached over 1,468 plays all over the world and is still growing as more people find out about it.

ALifeWellLived series of Podcasts in which U3A is the featured charity has now completed its first season.

Journalist Connie Knox said, “We are really pleased with the initial response to the podcasts which has showcased so many amazing stories and started a positive conversation about growing older.

“A huge thank you to U3A and especially the members who took part in this series, who have helped make it such a success.

“I am very grateful to you for all of your support and I am excited to start thinking about the second series with you”.

Episode 7 of ‘The Versatile Writer’ features Brightlingsea U3A talking about their recent book, Oysters and Oilskins. Worth a listen if you access to Spotify, iTunes or the Podcast App on iPhone. Just type in ‘The Versatile Writer’

Financial Matters

About Banks

Finance Manager, Kevin Traynor addresses some of the financial issues being raised this month:
Which bank?
“Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of the chaos caused by the banking crisis of 10 years ago.  However, it is important that you keep up to date with banking news and regularly check the media for reports of how your bank is performing”.
Caf Bank

Bank deposits
“Thank you for all your recent comments.  It is clear that most banks have queried who/what is being paid in but most have acted sensibly.  If you have an issue when depositing funds then challenge the bank (in a friendly fashion) as the cashiers will often be able to help”.

What’s in a name?
“It is becoming clear that the banks are also questioning the payee details on cheque deposits.  You should try to ensure that cheques are made out to the name on the bank account which may not be “Lant St. U3A” but “Lant St. University of the Third Age”.

There appears to be a misunderstanding regarding monies received from Riviera Travel.  The donations that a U3A may receive must not be passed on to members as this is not permitted by charity law.  Any such funds should be spent for the benefit of all members in accordance with the U3A’s constitution.

“I still have a VAT note high on my to do list.  It is most unlikely that U3As need to register for VAT but please contact me if you have concerns.  Although the registration threshold is £85,000, only the profit on trips would count towards that figure as trips/holidays are taxed differently under the VAT rules”.

I’m always here to help to contact me with any questions

U3A member Jane Herman zip wired over the Eden Project

U3A News

“We were delighted to be able to play in such a lovely spot, with much fun and laughter”

Malmesbury & District U3A Petanque group visited Guernsey to play a few games of Petenque with their colleagues and to see the sights of the island.

Plastic Free Sewing

Members of the Lyme Regis U3A Needles and Stitches Group helped at a plastic-free sewing workshop. They were creating ‘boomerang bags’ out of recycled and donated fabric that would, otherwise, go to landfill. The all-day event was organised byPlastic Free Lyme Regis

Watch Causeway U3A in Northern Ireland have Fun with Drums

News From the Board

Board Report – Chair, Ian McCannah

“Welcome to three new Board Members – the Trustees, Sandi Rickerby (North East), Valerie Cobain (Northern Ireland) and Ann Keating (Scotland).
U3A Secretary’s will receive a survey this month asking for views on the commercial opportunities that could be offered to members through the Trust’s new trading company.

In addition, on a random basis, some U3As will receive the ten year U3A membership profile survey. The answers provided in these surveys will help the Trust to plan for the future.

This month the Board approved APT Solutions Ltd as the Trust’s delivery partner to upgrade the Beacon Membership System. The Trust will begin working with APT in the coming weeks, starting with a period of further consultation and analysis in collaboration with U3As.

Updates will be posted throughout the project on the dedicated Beacon website and via Beacon News”.

Read more on this new partnership here


For any U3A approached directly by Universities wanting members to participate in research projects, the Third Age Trust has approved this advice:

Medical research projects should involve participative learning for mutual benefit and follow the recommended National Research Sub Committee (NRSC) guidelines and risk assessment. Participating in any form of medical research project should not involve physical or psychological intervention. U3A members participate in such projects as private individuals and not as U3A members.

In the meantime, we would strongly recommend that you do not circulate U3A members with such requests without, at the very least, consulting your local Research Ambassador or SLP Coordinator.

The Ethics Working Party is currently working on a set of practice guidelines.

Building Partnerships

The Modern Languages Research Project based at the University of Cambridge MEITS are launching a major public engagement project around lanaguages this weekend.
The Pop-up World of Languages – the first pop-up museum of languages in the UK opens to the Public.  It will then tour to Belfast, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

For Lovers of History

Researchers from the University of Stirling have asked us to highlight a new, free, online course entitled ‘Remembering Empire: Pioneers, Colonisers, and Refugees in French Algeria’.

This MOOC is the first of its kind, guiding students through the stories and memory practices by and about the former French settlers of Algeria.

The aim of the course is to explore how the collective memory of colonialism is formed in France and to consider what we can learn from it for our own troubled times.

The registration page can be found here

Lifelong learning

“Big thanks to Cannock Chase U3A for a great day. Lots of laughs and really interesting to see the various vehicles and talk about them with their builders”.

Geo (Hayley U3A)

Robots Challenge

Cannock Chase U3A in Staffordshire has organised the first U3A Robot Constructors Challenge event day to bring interested teams together.

Challenges included a Crazy Golf Course, The Egg and Spoon Race, The Maze, Follow the White Line and Skittle Alley.

Well done to overall top robot constructor Paul Taylor of Grantham U3A with “Grobot Isaac”.  See more here

Two classical music interest groups in Fife and Cupar U3As have held a programme of music chosen by prominent cross-party politicians.

Read this and other stories on Sources

Learning Resources

Exciting News on the subject adviser pages:
• NEW Page for Birdwatching
• NEW Page for Boating
• NEW Page for Music Appreciation (Classical)
• Updates to the Golf Page
• Updates to the Quizzes Page
• We have a New Contact for Aviation
• NEW Philosophy Newsletter
• NEW Creative Writing Newsletter
• NEW Genealogy Newsletter

Education Events

National Events

U3A Christmas Concert

Please join us at this year’s Christmas Concert which for the first time will take place in the Church of St Lawrence Jewry the official church of the Lord Mayor of London and the City of London Corporation and stands in the Yard of the Guildhall.

Picture © British Library

Discover Children’s Literature

U3A has joined the British Library Knowledge Centre Theatre to hear five experts speak about the history of children’s literature.

You’ll learn about early printed children’s books from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, and how they have been collected and cared for at the British Library.

Click here to buy tickets.

Regional Events

London Region of U3As is holding a Music Day on 9 November 2019
at Kings Place.

Further information including programme and application forms can be found here

Contact for queries:

International News

Presenting U3A in Lebanon

Maria Chester (International Committee) has just returned from the AIUTA conference in the Lebanon, where she presented on behalf of the Trust how the UK model of U3A works and also on how our older adults continue lifelong learning in a friendly, secure and happy way – which is why we continue to grow.
Auriol Ainley said, “Similarly, next week we will be presenting in Wroclaw, Poland to the European Federation of Older Students who are anxious to find out more about our successful organisation and how it works.

“It is hoped that we can forge links with groups of older students like our own, which will be beneficial to our many language groups who want to improve their language skills and help others with their English.

“Watch this space for more details next month”.

U3A Publicity

Hucknall and District’s U3A Singalong Group featured on Radio Nottingham’s Great Singalong.

News from U3As

Congratulations to all the U3As which celebrated landmark anniversaries this month.

Ferndown U3A in Dorset, set up in 1997, celebrated their 600th member by presenting her with a year of free membership to celebrate the occasion.

Chairman Bob Reeve congratulating Moo Leng Loakes, supported by Honorary President Gerry Lewis and Vice Chair Clare Clayton.
Hamble U3A celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a community involved event for over 130 members and guests, involving a wide range of the local community.

The West Pennine Villages U3A in Lancashire has notched up one hundred members in just over six weeks. And it was a double record as the U3A is also the 100th to be formed in the North West.

In Focus

What is it like to be a Chair of your U3A?
Judie Dicson on her experience of becoming Chair of Lancing and Sompting U3A:

After retiring, U3A met my needs for continuous learning whilst enabling me to make new friends. When I became aware that the current Chair was standing down, I put myself forward and was accepted at the 2019 AGM.

At the first committee meeting I outlined one of my objectives was to expand our membership through use of Advertising and Marketing.  I knew that we had two clear and separate demographics in South and North Lancing.  We needed a nuanced approach that acknowledged difference whilst ensuring inclusivity.

Parallel to this was the need to ensure that our membership internalised the need for an open and welcoming attitude to new and existing members.

The success of a Chairperson is dependent on a solution-focussed committee. Mine has a great sense of humour, a willingness to succeed, friendliness and a supportive culture.

This makes my role as a Chairperson more effective, more fun and certainly more interesting.

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