The University of The Third Age -u3a

Recently the University of the third age has published a leaflet 'What We Are'

The University of the Third Age is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full time employment, providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment. It consists of independent local U3As all over the UK, which are run entirely by volunteers. Local U3As are learning cooperatives which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members to organise and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership. The teachers learn and the learners teach.

The U3A offers the chance to study subjects in such diverse fields as art, languages, music, history, life sciences, philosophy, computing and crafts. In addition the U3A provides opportunities for creative pursuits such as music, photography and art, and leisure activities such as walking and theatre-going. In practice the range of activities is limited only by the wishes of the local membership.

A typical U3A has about 250 members but could be as small as 12 and as large as 2000. Winchester U3A currently has over 1300 members and offers a wide range of learning and leisure opportunities. Go to the Groups page for an outline of the subjects currently covered by Winchester U3A.

The U3A approach to learning is – learning for pleasure. There is no accreditation or validation and there are no assessments or qualifications to be gained.

About the Third Age Trust

The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for U3As in the UK. It is both a limited company and a registered charity. It underpins the work of local U3As by providing educational and administrative support to their management committees and to individual members, and assists in the development of new U3As across the UK. It is managed by a National Executive Committee which consists of a Chairman, 4 other Officers and 13 representatives from designated areas in the UK. The Third Age Trust is funded mainly by annual subscriptions paid by member U3As on a per capita basis, with the occasional grant for specific projects. It has 3 full time and 5 part time staff and is located in Bromley.

Relationship between the U3As and the Third Age Trust

Local U3As are independently managed charitable associations with their own constitutions. Membership of The Third Age Trust is a requirement in order to use the U3A name and logo, both of which are protected. Once registered local U3As are self-governing, providing the aims and guiding principles of the Third Age Trust are followed. To find out more about the Third Age Trust and the national U3A organisation, follow the link to u3a.