Page updated 27-7-2023-RL Click on the gold banner above to access back copies of the National U3A Newsletter
The Southwell u3a organisation is part of an international organisation, the International Asociation of Universities of the Third Age (A.I.U.T.A.). Yes, there are u3a branches across the world! "u3a" is shorthand for "University of the Third Age". In case you are wondering, the "Third Age" is what comes to those of us who have survived "Childhood" and "Adult Working Life", and have learned the value of socialising, supporting and keeping interested and active! 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.
What is The Third Age Trust ? The principle roles of the Third Age Trust are to support and underpin the work of local U3As across the UK, including ours here in the Southwell area, to encourage the formation of new U3As, and to raise the level of awareness of the work of U3As and to maintain links with educational institutions and other similar organisations, both nationally and internationally.
The Trust provides U3As with a range of support services to help with their administrative and learning activities. These include legal advice, liability insurance, information packs and the quarterly magazine 'U3A News' which is posted to all our members. The Trust supports learning programmes by maintaining a network of subject advisors, study days, summer schools and shared learning initiatives. It also runs a Resource Centre which offers U3As a postal loan service of slides, videos and DVDs, tutored and untutored online courses and distributes a journal called 'Sources'.
The Trust is funded by a small levy on each U3A which is included in our membership fee, and occasional grants from benefactors for specific projects.
There are hundreds of u3a branches across the UK, all with certain common features:
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 awarded.
Membership is open to individuals who are no longer working full-time, with the time and opportunity to pursue existing interests, explore new ones and keep the body and brain active and developing. There is NOT a "lower age limit", nor indeed an "upper age limit".
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 (opens in a new page)