A young starling being fed, submitted by Leigh Estuary u3a member, Graham, into u3a Birdwatch. Read more on our learning initiatives further down the newsletter.


Dear <<First Name>>,

Well the sun is out at last and with luck we will all be able to begin some face to face u3a activity soon.

It has certainly been a challenging 12 months, but one where we have learned new ways of doing things which will stand us in good stead for the future.  

Member Link has been a great opportunity for the Trust staff, the volunteer team and the Trustees and u3as to work together to energise the future and restart all of those u3a activities that were impacted by the restrictions placed upon us. 

I am pleased to see our first range of merchandise on the u3a brand centre – thank you for your valuable feedback on what items you would like to see. Keep them coming in as we prepare for the next tranche of merchandise in good time to order before u3a day. 

Your enthusiasm and support for 2 June continues to be inspiring. Please let us know your plans for the day through our u3a day dedicated Facebook group.

Thank you for sharing your stories and photos throughout the newsletter.  They continue to bring joy and connection to us all – we love sharing them. 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. 

With regards,
Sam Mauger
Chief Executive
In this issue...

u3a Merchandise
National Creative Writing Competition
u3a Recruitment Toolkit
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News from the Trust

New on the Brand centre

Our first tranche of merchandise is available on the brand centre. This includes mugs, bags and badges. You can use these to promote your u3a and on u3a day. We will be adding more merchandise over the next few months.

We've also updated our image library. This is full of u3a member photos, from walking to ukelele playing. Use these on your u3a websites and publicity materials. We will be updating this image library once we start doing photoshoots again.

Ageism Focus Group

We're creating an Ageism Activism Toolkit with the Centre for Ageing Better to be launched on u3a day. We are looking for u3a members to help us work on this. We have a tight deadline so please get in touch with us by 27 April if you would like to be involved. We're very grateful to Centre for Ageing Better and the Future Lives Group for their support. You can read more about the Future Lives group at the end of the newsletter. 

Another way to have your say is to take part in our upcoming webinars with EuroAgeism on Ageism in Technology and Ageism in Healthcare. Book now.
Ageism Activism Toolkit Details

Click and Save

You expressed an interest in having a discount scheme, where you can save money so we’ve partnered with member benefits specialists, Parliament Hill Ltd, to provide members with your own discount scheme called u3a Click and Save.

Members will receive cashback  when you go shopping with brands such as Sainsbury's, M&S and Costa Coffee. 

Once the scheme is ready to launch, we shall be in touch with further information.
Your Stories

"I have published a book which records my experiences of last year.  It is called "My 2020, The diary of a woman in her seventies living alone during the pandemic".

I began to write down my daily thoughts when contributing to the u3a Diary Project and when the project came to an end in July I decided to continue until the end of the year, just for myself. My book, which is available on Amazon, is the result of all those entries."

- Jeannie, Reading u3a

Download your Bitesize Newsletter

Our Bitesize newsletter is a shorter, printable version of the newsletter to post for those not online - or to share as a snapshot of what the newsletter is all about for those not yet signed up.

Bitesize Newsletter

Learning News


This month, the learning team are throwing a spotlight on Yoga as part of their Learn, Laugh, Move initiative. This special feature with Peter Burton, Subject Adviser for Yoga, and a few amazing Yoga group leaders from across the u3a movement offers a series of Yoga workshops via Zoom, advice for starting out, for trying new styles of Yoga and details of the many social & health benefits. You are also invited to share your images and own tips for practising Yoga; personally or with your u3a group. 

Two New Learning Opportunities

Grow Your Own invites green-fingered members to share images and gardening tips for growing delicious fruits and vegetables.
Upcycle Your Wardrobe is a challenge for the resourceful and the stylish alike - share with us how you have turned tired old fabrics into fresh new garments.

u3a Online Debate

28 May, 2pm 

Do you have a debating group in your u3a? Have you taken part in a debate in your area? Have you thought about the possibility of taking part or watching?

Following on from a successful face-to-face debate at the conference in 2019, u3a are planning a debate on Zoom. This will be an opportunity for all to listen and participate. Book your place. 

Creative Writing Competition

The Creative Writing Competition is back - given the popularity and success of last year’s competition, we are encouraging members to get writing again. The theme for 2021 is ‘Unexpected’. Please make sure to read the competition rules fully, including deadlines and information about the judging process, before submitting your entry online. You can also read last year’s Winning Entries for inspiration. Find out more on our website.
Listen to u3a radio episode 7

u3a radio podcast out now

In the April episode of the u3a radio podcast, the team discuss u3a day with organiser Sue Stokes, talk to a u3a member who has taken part in debates in the House of Lords, and discuss Zoom interest groups with Farnham u3a, amongst other stories from across the u3a movement.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the u3a radio team? Get in touch. See all previous episodes on our playlist.

See all these programmes on our learning pages. These are complemented by a continually updated line-up of online talks, interactive sessions and events open to all members via the Online Events Page.

u3a News

Holmes Chapel u3a Tree Planting

The 10th Anniversary celebrations for Holmes Chapel u3a continue. Three members, Peter, Richard and Terry planted the rowan tree. This photo and an article were published in the Sandbach Chronicle and Knutsford Guardian. 

Ards and Peninsula u3a plant away

Ards and Peninsula u3a have been looking after a planter in Donaghee and will keep it going for Spring. 
Let us know your u3a news and photos. Get in touch.

News from the Board

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Ian McCannah

"Later this month the notices for the Trust’s 2021 AGM will be received by u3a committees. There will be Board elections for the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer and Trustees for East Midlands, London, and Wales. For further information on these vacancies contact Sam Mauger, Company Secretary at or me on

With lockdown hopefully fully lifted, members will have the opportunity on 26 August to attend the AGM in Kenilworth or, as last year, virtually. 

This month also sees the launch of range of competitively priced u3a branded products - see them on"
Photo taken by Colin on a walk with Hutton u3a's Photography group - his first time meeting the group, who he had previously only met on Zoom.

National Events

The Role and History of the National Trust
Wednesday 5 May, 10.30am 

Paul Boniface who worked for the National Trust for more than 21 years, will chart the history of the organisation from the end of the 19th century explaining the charity's mission and how it has responded to changing conservation challenges of the past 125 years.
Japanese Culture
Tuesday 11 May, 10.30am

The culture of Japan, both old and new, from wood block prints to anime and maid cafes, is fascinating.  This talk will focus on the historical elements looking at how some of them developed and how the long period of isolation ensured they did so with minimal influence from the West.
Credit: Battle of the Boyne, 1690, National Army Museum
Close Shaves & Lucky Escapes with the National Army Museum
Thursday 13 May, 10.30

In this exclusive talk for u3a members, Justin Saddington, curator from the National Army Museum, will use objects once owned by great leaders to consider the possible impact that the death of these figures would have had on history.

These and more can be found on our online events page.
Slow Ways Talk
Monday 17 May 2pm

Dan Raven-Ellison and Rob Bushby from Slow Ways are hosting two webinars for u3a members interested in hearing more about this project, followed by a Q&A session. Book your place.
u3a members have been submitting photos of their pets into Pets of the Furred Age - see the gallery and share your photos on our learning pages.

Media News

u3as have been busy over the last month securing media coverage.

Chair of Teignmouth u3a, David, featured on BBC Radio Devon to talk about u3a. Over on BBC Radio Shropshire, there was an interview with the Shrewsbury u3a Vice Chair.

Whitby Whaler u3a featured in the Whitby Gazette in March with a story about the history group.
u3a member David talks to Age UK Cheshire about u3a
Age UK Cheshire have been working with West Cheshire Rural u3a - see their video above in which u3a member David talks about the benefits of being involved with his u3a. He was also the cover star of Age UK Cheshire's magazine.

Has your u3a featured in your local media recently? We'd like to hear about it -

PR Advisers

Who are they and what do they do?

The Regional PR team have been working hard to cover the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland with PR support. The team is still trying to find people for North and South Wales, parts of the South West and parts of the South East, and permanent cover in the West Midlands.  

PR Advisers are there to support you, give you advice and share ideas. All current PR Advisers are listed in the box below.

Co-Chair of Communications and External Affairs Committee, Margaret Fiddes says, "We are a lively bunch and fun to work with, so whether you can help your u3a or help with the wider PR effort we really do want to hear from you." 
Robin Clegg, Northern areas of South West Region
Rodney Fox, London Region 
Theresa Rogers, North West
Kelvin Rushworth, North East
Stuart Pollard, Northern Ireland
Jill Heron, Northern Ireland
Allana Parker, Scotland
Chris Hartny-Mills, East & West Midlands
Ray Hardisty. East of England

To get in touch with your regional PR Adviser, contact the communications team.

Social Media News

A Year of u3a Keeping In Touch

Over the last month, we celebrated a year of u3a keeping in touch (KIT.)  The Facebook group was set up to keep u3a members connected, especially over the last year. Read some snippets of members' thoughts on the group below and join the group.
Your KIT Stories

 Bernie, from Ballymena u3a, enjoys the Facebook group for "the chance to see how other u3as operate and learn from each other. Also with the beautiful pictures that have been shared I feel I have travelled all over the UK & further afield.”

Alan from Barnsley u3a says, "I really get a lot from this site. In my professional life I was always a great believer in the benefits of networking. Those benefits are evident here."

Another Barnsley u3a member, Indu says about the group, "It gives an insight into how everyone coped in so many interesting ways to keep occupied . Learnt a lot from others' experiences and look forward to it every day! We have certainly kept in touch!"
u3a is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube - click the buttons below to see our profiles and follow us.

Using Facebook to promote u3a

The Recruitment Working Group has been using Facebook  to reach new members. Chepstow u3a used Facebook adverts in a week-long campaign that reached 1,100 people with 200 engagements. Over the month there were 2069 hits on the website, against an average of 1200 per month. 

There is a guide to using Facebook Adverts produced as part of the u3a Retention and recruitment toolkit. Download it on the u3a website.


This month on Sources, a u3a member talks about her educational time living in India in the sixties. Another member shares her experiences of running a u3a group session - and encourages other members to do the same.

Find it all on Sources now and contact us with your stories.

Recruitment Campaign

Recruitment Toolkit now available to download

This project was started by u3a members to support other u3as.  From social media to interest groups, u3a members of the group have used their individual expertise and experiences at their own u3as to create the resources.

Marilyn Lean, Chair of Plymouth u3a, urges all u3as to have look at the toolkit: “All of the toolkit items offer very practical and manageable guidance and I have been very appreciative of them. The subjects that comprise the toolkit are key to almost every u3a.”

Find the Retention and Recruitment Toolkit on our website.
Your Stories

"Two years ago, a group of u3a volunteers took responsibility for the planters in Stourbridge. As a result, Stourbridge was awarded gold in the Heart of England in Bloom. Last year the competition wasn’t able to go ahead. Undaunted, a few Stourbridge u3a volunteers kept Foster Street weeded and during the autumn they planted bulbs and pansies in Foster Street."

- Barbara, Stourbridge u3a. Read more on Sources.

u3a day

Preparing for u3a day

It’s getting nearer and momentum is growing for the first u3a day on Wednesday 2 June. Increasing numbers of u3as have established links with the media to raise awareness of what u3as have to offer within their communities, and the benefits of membership. 

In order to build the national picture, we are asking u3as to share their plans with us. Have press releases been sent out? Have articles already appeared in publications and the press? Have special guests agreed to come to meet u3a representatives? Please let us know. Don't forget to join our u3a day Facebook group to share ideas with the rest of the u3a community.
David from Leighton Buzzard u3a shared this photo on our Facebook group u3a Keeping In Touch.

Subject Advice News

Wanted: Your Book Recommendations

Richard, u3a Subject Adviser for Book Groups, wants to hear from you about the books your group has enjoyed recently and those that have led to a lively discussion. 
Get in touch with Richard via his Subject advice page and see some of his recommendations below.
Richard's Book Recommendations

Trespass - Rose Tremain
Under the Skin - Michel Faber
Nora Webster - Colm Toibin
And The Land Lay Still - James Robertson
Any Human Heart - William Boyd

Don’t Think Of An Elephant - George Lakoff
On Connection - Kae Tempest
Sisters of Sinai - Janet Soskice

Looking forward to playing Mahjong again?

Hilvary, Subject Adviser for Mahjong, says, 'From 17 May, all being well, six people from two households can meet indoors.  
This may mean that some Mahjong Groups can reconvene if they have members from the same household.  

Are you looking forward to playing again? I certainly am!
Let me know your stories."

See all subject adviser updates on the subject advice page.

High Street Project

High Street Project Update

A series of workshops were held between January and March to encourage people to think about local projects they could undertake using the High Street theme.  Resources can be found here and you can book a workshop for your local group on this and other local study topics. 

Feedback from u3a members have led the high street project group to simplify the survey methods. For any member wanting to do a new survey there will be just three fields of data, plus a photo. Watch the High Street website for updates and the new survey forms.

If you would like to try out and comment on the new survey methods, please contact 

See a full update from Chair of the project, Michaela Moody, on our Sources blog.
 A research team based at Centre for Human and Applied Physiological Sciences, King’s College London, would like to invite participants to take part in a research project investigating the prevalence, type, frequency and triggers for dizziness, unsteadiness and/or falls and their impact on daily activities and emotional state in adults 18-95 years’ old who have had COVID-19. 

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Take it here. 

Volunteer News

Commitee Member Induction

Our next Committee Member induction is on Tuesday 27 April. The aim is to help you in your current or prospective role.
We aim for the session to be interactive and a space to learn from each other. Register now.

Alternative Ways of Meeting - Hybrid and Other Options

This new workshop can be booked for your network or regional teams using the national virtual tutorial request form. This session covers different types of meetings, different purposes and context and the practical requirements for hosting small, medium or large hybrid meetings.
See more of our online tutorials on our website, including Zoom tutorials and more information about upcoming Digital Eagles dates on our website.

Network Link News

Netfest 14-18 June

This is a week devoted to celebrating and sharing everything which networks across the movement do so well.
Each network will be invited to nominate up to 10 attendees to sign up for a variety of sessions including communications, hybrid meetings, ‘what networks do’ and peer support groups. Details of the programme and how to book will be sent to networks in the next few weeks, but please put the dates, 14– 18 June in your diaries.

If your network has been active and connected with your u3a members during lockdown, Chair of Network Link, Hilary Jones, would love to hear from you. 
Your Stories

"Back in July during the first lockdown, Steve & Tony from Great Yarmouth u3a arranged to join forces with Bridge players from Palmers Green and Southgate u3a to play online, using Bridge Club Live as a platform.
This hybrid Bridge club had been such a great success that they decided to invite other players from other u3as using an entry in Third Age Matters. More u3a Bridge Groups joined resulting in a trebling of weekly playing sessions and increasing interest.
By playing Bridge online we can keep our love of the game alive while waiting for the day when we can actually sit at a table with our friends, face-to-face."

- Yarmouth u3a, Palmers Green and Southgate u3a 

Community Connections

Run for the World Supports u3a

The virtual running organisation, Run for the World, are  are donating 10% of all event entry fees during this year to two charities, our movement and Anthony Nolan. You can see how much money is being raised on the Run for the World website.

Find out more and get involved.

In Focus

Janet, Chair of Future Lives group

I joined u3a when friends set up our local Crouch End & District u3a about 3 years ago. I particularly enjoy the walking groups. It's wonderful to be meeting so many lovely people and be greeted by friendly faces when I walk around my neighbourhood. 

My career has been in housing and urbanism, and in recent years I have had a particular interest in how our homes can support our independence as we age.
I met the founder of the Future Lives group at an Agile Ageing Alliance conference, and because of my housing interests, she invited me to join. I was very keen as I hope the Future Lives Group can involve u3a members in thinking about how we can live better future lives, and influence the choices available to us. I offered to work on the housing strand. 

I prepared a questionnaire, which asks you to think about your future housing needs -  to take part in the questionnaire, email I asked some of these questions in a zoom poll during my monthly u3a meeting, and the results were very interesting. Enough people were interested in co-housing and co-operative housing schemes that I hope we may be able to influence local choices available to us in the future.

The Future Lives Group has just held a very successful online event, well attended by u3a members all across the movement. We are in the process of engaging people to get involved, and we welcome anyone interested to join one of our online events - to find out the details of these, contact As well as "Housing", our current themes are "Positive Ageing" and "Providing and Receiving Care." 
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