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The first British U3As were formed in 1982, under the aegis of The Third Age Trust (T.A.T.) which became an associate member of A.I.U.T.A. There are now more than 850 Universities of the Third Age in the UK, with over 250,000 individual members. National membership has grown by 28% in the last 2 years making the U3A one of Britain’s fastest growing organisations.
All are voluntary self-help organisations, affiliated to the Third Age Trust (Reg. Charity No. 288007), the national parent body.
All are fully autonomous with members organising their own activities and making their own decisions through elected committees.
They are self-financing on a non-profit making basis, with no political or religious influences or allegiances, and develop according to the wishes, needs and resources of their local areas.
No qualifications are necessary to join - and none are given.
Membership is open to individuals who are no longer in full-time paid employment.
The administrative and study group activities in each U3A are carried out on a purely voluntary and unpaid basis. Committee members who are responsible for the management of the U3A, are also volunteers who offer themselves for annual election by their fellow members.
The U3A experience is also available to those who are isolated in some way, through illness, location or any other reason through the Virtual U3A.