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Nine women are standing behind a table that shows nine beautiful flower arrangements, each displayed in a pumpkin.
Canvey Island Flower Arranging group meet each week, led by Kay (third from left), and this month got creative with pumpkins.


Dear <<First Name>>,

We are fortunate to be part of such an engaged movement. There are many conversations happening at the moment at regional and national level asking for your view and thoughts. Thank you to those of you engaging in those conversations. 
Now the nights are drawing in, there is so much going on across u3as to keep us active and interested. Do look at our many online events from the learning team and u3a members who provide the excellent content for the programmes. Thank you to our many members who have volunteered their skills to take part in our partnership with Specsavers, showcasing positive ageing. You can see a preview - exclusive to this newsletter community - below of Alexander sharing his skills in calligraphy.

It is great to share our u3as having such success in recruiting new members - you can see some of their stories shared below.  As we move towards December and the weather gets colder, there will be many people in our communities around us that could benefit from hearing about the u3a and being welcomed into the u3a family.

The Board and the team at the Trust will be continuing our online conversations with you over the year ahead. We will provide you with the links to sign up to those conversations on a regular basis. 

I am looking forward to the first of my online conversations with you. This will be a special opportunity for us to meet and for me to answer any questions on u3a that you may have.

Look forward to seeing many of you there.

With very best wishes

Sam Mauger
CEO of the Third Age Trust
In this issue...

A Big Thank You
101 New Members for Tamworth & District u3a
Conversations about Space

Bitesize Newsletter

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News from The Trust

Conversations with the CEO

Please join Sam for a conversation on any aspect of the movement. This will take place on 17 November from 3.30 to 5pm.

This is part of a series of two way conversations in the coming months across the u3a movement as we consider together the best way forward for u3a and answer any questions the members may have.  

Book your place. To help Sam, we would ask if you could submit questions in advance by 11 November to
A Big Thank You

Chair of the Third Age Trust Liz Thackray says: “Thank you so much to every member in the u3a movement who engaged in the Third Age Trust AGM 2022 - a higher level of engagement than at any other AGM in memory.  

"The movement should be rightly proud of the commitment and involvement shown by our members.

"The Trustees are looking forward to continuing conversations in the coming months as we consider together the best way forward for our movement and endeavour to ensure effective two-way communication channels. You can see more detail on our thinking about strategy and governance in the presentations on the future below. Meetings are planned in all regions and nations.”

Fit For The Future - What Do You Want from a u3a Movement? 

That was exactly the question the Trust asked over 100 u3a members at a series of consultation meetings in each region/nation during the autumn last year. The answers of course, varied widely and covered almost every aspect of u3a life, but many of them followed a similar pattern and we were able to split them into bite-size chunks that have now become strategic aims for the future.

Allan Walmsley, new Vice Chair for the u3a movement, spoke about this at the AGM and you can read more about this and watch his speech on the Fit For The Future page on the website.

Armchair Conversations

A New Series of Discussions

We are launching the first film in our new series where u3a members discuss subjects which matter to the movement. This first conversation is between Eric Midwinter and Chair Liz Thackray as they talk about the origins and the future of the u3a movement.

Watch the film on the u3a YouTube channel and please share the link with friends and colleagues.
Armchair Conversations, Eric Midwinter and Liz Thackray - Transcript
Have you bought your 2023 diary yet?

Single diaries are £3.50 plus delivery charge
10 diaries are £32 plus delivery charge 
20 diaries are £60 plus delivery charge.

Get them on the u3a brand centre.

Promoting Positive Ageing 

An Exclusive Preview for u3a Members

The next video in our #GenerationWOW campaign is launching tomorrow and we have an exclusive preview for members of the newsletter community. In the tutorial, Ravenshead u3a member Alexander showcases the art of calligraphy. See the sneak peak above and watch the full video on the Specsavers hub tomorrow morning - Tuesday 25 October.

For our next tutorial, we're looking for a member to share life hacks - whether that's reducing waste, cleaning hacks, or DIY tips around the house. If you think you could help, please get in touch with us.

Your Stories

On Saturday 17 September, Waltham Abbey u3a held a coffee and cake morning in the local library. Many people came to see us; current members, potential new members, some even joined there and then. We had a fun day and as well as raising our profile, raised £90 in donations for our u3a. 

Amanda, Waltham Abbey u3a

u3a News

Every newsletter, we share news from your u3as. Whatever you're doing, we want to know about it - get in touch.
A man is sitting by a table with a board that says, 'Table Tennis.' He is engaged in conversation with a standing man in a blue jacket.They are in a hall that is filled with people milling between different tables.
101 New Members for Cam, Dursley & District u3a

Cam, Dursley & District u3a held an open day earlier this month to celebrate what they do and to share it with the local community. Group co-ordinator Pam says, "By lunchtime, there were 101 completed forms. The following morning, two more dropped through the Membership Secretary’s door. I think we’re back!" Read more on our u3a blog, Sources.
Three older women are sliding down a large silver slide in large hessian sacks. They are all smiling.
Members of Enfield u3a enjoying the slide at Tower of London Superbloom
Two women are sitting behind a table, which is covered with brightly coloured, patterned textiles - fabric bags, circular fabric patches, fabric hangers.
Tamworth u3a Open Day 

Tamworth u3a held an open day to attract new members and to raise the profile of u3a. They advertised the event through local shops, doctors surgeries, social clubs, library and the Tamworth Herald.

Group leaders chatted to visitors, display tables showed the work of the interest groups and the u3a's activities were displayed in a film made by Film Club group leader David. 
A man and woman stand outside next to a small sapling tree. They are both smiling - the woman is holding a bucket filled with soil.
A man and woman both smile at the camera whilst cutting into a cake. They are standing outside in a field, and behind them is yellow and blue bunting and the cake is on a blue and yellow patterned tablecloth. In the corner of the table there is a vase filled with colourful artificial flowers.
Easingwold & District Sow Seeds for Next Twenty Years

Easingwold & District u3a celebrated their 20th Anniversary  by planting ten fruit trees in a local park for the whole community to forage in years to come. The ten longest standing members added a mulch around the trees. Read more on our u3a blog, Sources.
An outdoor site, with a path in the foreground, and then patches of green disrupted by weaving blocks of stone wall. In the distance, there is a green hill.
Join u3as from across the UK on May 10th 2023 for a festival of learning and fun to celebrate the anniversary of Hadrian's Wall. If you are interested in taking part, please contact
Picture: John Sandiford

Social Media News

A moving image of a group of people in a hall. Everyone is wearing tap shoes and the clip shows them slowly moving forward, step by step, before suddenly raising their left leg and arm in a smooth dance move.

Tap Dancing at Duns & District

So many happy faces at Tap Dancing this morning!
Well done ladies and gents 

Duns & District u3a use Twitter to showcase the varied and dynamic activities from their interest groups. They recently shared a video of their tap dancing group - a clip of which is above. Be inspired by the dynamic way they're sharing content on their Twitter page. 
Do you want us to showcase your social media in this newsletter? Email us or tag us in your posts - click the icons below to find our social media profiles.
Your Stories

Settle & District u3a have been focussing on our 20th Anniversary Preparations, which culminated in a party on 8 September.

A walking cricket match was part of our summer celebrations. Close links have been formed with the club. We are a very close community in Settle/Giggleswick and this co-operation adds to a feeling of togetherness.

Ian, Settle & District u3a

Learning News

Below is a snapshot of the learning initiatives on our website that members can get involved with.
A woman in a lab coat and a hair covering is standing in a space station. She is holding sheets of paper and smiling at the camera.

Conversations about Space

The October u3a radio podcast features an interview with Airbus spacecraft engineer Sian Cleaver, who is involved with the Artemis methods which will see humans return to the moon.

In the interview, Sian says, "I think we'll make big advancements in technology, prove a lot of things to ourselves and it will really open the doors to all sort of things that were science fiction before."

Listen to the interview in October's u3a radio podcast on YouTubeApple Podcasts, Spotify - and please share with members and friends.

A photo of eleven people standing outside in a beautiful, public garden, standing in pairs, holding gardening tools. Behind them are colourful flower bushes. They are all smiling at the camera. A blue block cuts across this image diagonally, and on the blue is text that reads, 'Learning for everyone'.

Learning Leaflet

The learning team have created a new leaflet promoting the movement-wide opportunities available to u3a members. It's available as a digital leaflet, a coloured leaflet you can take to printers and a black and white print-at-home download. Download the leaflet from the brand centre to share with your members and friends.

A grainy blue photograph that show the coast. There is an island in the distance, an ocean filled with boats, and on the shore, lots of small white shacks.
In 1966 I was an Executive Officer in the Ministry of Public Building & Works and was posted overseas to our Middle East regional office in Aden...

All Our Yesterdays

Thank you to everyone who has shared their memories of the 1950s and 60s for our new learning initiative, All Our Yesterdays, including Anthea from Bromsgrove u3a (above.) Read more and share your stories on our learning pages.

Cake Decorating

Our learning initiative celebrates the skill of cake decorating by showcasing the intricately designed cakes you've made.

Val from Ashby u3a created a two tier cake for Ashby u3a, which depicts many of their activities - from Latin to Bridge. You can see the full cake, and submit your own photos, on the learning pages.

Sherburn & Villages u3a on a recent ramble, in which they walked Towton Battlefield in reverse.

News from the Board

The AGM welcomed two new Trustees - Vice Chair Allan Walmsley and Trustee for Scotland Liz Ervine. We wanted to give Liz an opportunity to introduce herself and her hopes for what she'll achieve as Trustee.

Liz Ervine, Trustee for Scotland

I join as Trustee in a time of change, not just for u3a but all of society. I value what the u3a movement is about - learning, meeting people and adding to life. I would like to see it grow in Scotland and become well known. 

The number of u3as in Scotland has increased but there are also some who are struggling after the pandemic. The Central Network has invited me to join them and it has been great to hear and share what other u3as are doing. I have also been part of an armchair discussion on positive ageing, which will be on the u3a YouTube channel soon. Fame on screen has never been my aim but things happen when you join the u3a. Next month a trip to the Isle of Bute is on the agenda. 

On a personal note I enjoy being part of my two wee grandsons’ lives, they keep me young.

Read more from Liz on our u3a blog, Sources.

Your Stories

Taunton u3a held an afternoon event to celebrate the 40th anniversary.  It is also the 37th anniversary of the u3a here in Taunton.

Clinton Rogers, a recently retired BBC reporter, took part in a ‘Question Time’ style event talking about his career in broadcasting. The event was attended by the Mayor of Taunton, Susan Lees, who praised the valuable contribution that our u3a makes to peoples’ lives in the area.

Michael, Taunton u3a

National Events

Here is a snapshot of some of the interesting events for members that are coming soon. See more on our online events page.
Aerial photo of hydraulic fracturing equipment at sunset

u3a Anniversary Science Network
Thursday 27 October, 10.30am-2.30pm

This science based learning event has three presentations on Body Clocks and Circadian Rhythms; Fracking Shale for Gas & Oil; Smoke, Soot and Steam. 

A pattern of distorted clocks.

The Arrow of Time - a talk with Jim Al-Khalili CBE FRS 
Thursday 27 October, 3pm

Jim Al Khalili explores one of the most profound aspects of existence - that we perceive time to ‘flow’ from past and future: the so-called ‘arrow of time’.

An oil platform on the ocean.

The Geology of Oil and Gas
Thursday 3 November, 2pm 

The first part of a series of talks on petroleum geology from Martin, Sutton u3a.

A bowl of red soup (bortsch) with a blob of yoghurt and parsley on the top. The soup is on a table next to bread, a chopping board and wooden spoons.

Live Cookery Demonstration - Winter Warmers
Thursday 17 November, 10.30am

Chef Alex from ‘Vegetarian for Life’ demonstrates how to make Borstch soup, Borlotti bean and chestnut stew served with champ, and fruit crumble. 

Our 40th Anniversary

Find out more about how we're celebrating on our 40th Anniversary page.
Two rows of older adults, wearing leis, and holding ukuleles. They are in a hall and are smiling at the camera.

u3a week 

Thank you all for making such a huge collective impact for u3a week. There are lots of stories about the dynamic and varied ways that u3as celebrated on the 40th Anniversary blog.

Pictured: Barnsley u3a, who celebrated with music, walking tours and interest group displays.

A birds eye picture of a crowded auditorium, with a woman standing in the middle of the stage.

Last Opportunity To Attend our RI Event 
Monday 31 October, 1.45 - 4.45pm

This special 40th Anniversary event with the Royal Institution will have talks from three expert speakers, exploring the future of our energy, supermassive blackholes and chemistry demonstrations.
The event costs £20 to attend in person and £8.50 online. Book your place on Eventbrite.

Photo: Paul Clarke

Services and Offers

u3a Offers and Services is a new section of the newsletter offering discounts to u3a members and friends.
u3a Click and Save: everyday savings 

Through the u3a Click and Save scheme, members can receive a discount on many big brands including Sainsbury's, Costa, Currys and Ticketmaster. 

How do you access u3a Click and Save? 

You can access the scheme by following these steps:

1.       Create an account on the u3a Click and Save website.
2.       Click on the link in the confirmation email and then log in.

u3a Office In Focus

This section puts a spotlight on the staff who work at u3a office and what we're doing.
Meet Alastair

Hi everyone, I'm the Contract Liaison Manager. My role involves working with suppliers that provide services to the Third Age Trust and u3as, to ensure the Trust and our members get the services they need for good value. This includes identifying new service opportunities for members and assessing the suitability and viability of potential partners.

Recently, I have been particularly working on developments for our members' magazine, Third Age Matters (TAM), including appointing a new printer and reviewing the arrangements with our new advertising agency. 

My other projects include the new project, Services and Offers, which you will have read about above.  Recently, I helped to project manage the AGM - a huge task, as a hybrid event with hundreds of members attending online.

Subject Advice News

See all the latest updates and the full list of Subject Advisers on the Subject Advice page.
Two cyclists cycling down a cycle path next to a canal

Learning More About: Cycling with Subject Adviser, John

What do you enjoy about your role?

The ability to offer support and encouragement to others who are interested in setting up and running cycling groups within their u3a. Working with existing groups to enable them to grow and flourish.

What would you suggest as starting points to get involved in cycling?

Check out your own u3a. If you don’t have a cycling group, ask the Trustees about the process of setting up a new group and you can contact me for guidance. You can visit local re-Cycling charities for cheap bikes to get started.

How do you help members and u3as to get started or progress their interest group?

Talking is the important thing with any group activity – encourage, reassure and support members who wish to set up and run a group. Cycling within a u3a is achievable with relatively little effort provided you follow a few basic steps.

Read more from John on our u3a blog, Sources.

Contact John through his Subject Advice page.

Online German Classes for Beginners

The Subject Adviser for German has an opportunity for u3a members: a woman offering free online German classes for beginners. She is proposing to start these on 3 November, every two weeks, from 2:30 till 4. If you are interested, get in touch via Alastair's Subject Advice page.

Our Impact

u3a is developing the movement's voice to make a social impact. Read about ongoing projects on our Impact page.

Influencing and Social Change Workshops

In November we will be piloting a new workshop to provide u3a members with information and skills to bring about change in their local area. To help us develop this new initiative, please join us at an online pilot workshop on Tuesday 15 November. Book now.

Two older Sikh adults are cooking in the kitchen with their younger relative. They are smiling together whilst the man is chopping vegetables and the older woman is peeling a potato.

Designing A World for Everyone - Upcoming Future Lives Event

u3a Future Lives' inaugural event was a success with an inspirational talk from Professor Janet Lord. The next event is 'Designing A World For Everyone' on Wednesday 30 November. This talk will be delivered by design writer, academic and Professor Emeritus in Design at the Royal College of Art, Jeremy Myerson.  Book your place  and read more on the Future Lives webpage.

Your Stories

I managed the project, Portraits for Posterity: Photographs of Holocaust Survivors. This involved photographing 101 Holocaust Survivors and exhibiting the portraits and Survivors’ testimonies all over the country. After our last exhibition, held in Alexandra Palace, just before the pandemic struck, we decided to publish the portraits and testimonies.
You can see details of the book we have published on the Matt Writtle website. 
Jacki, Crouch End & District u3a

Media News

u3a week helped u3as create a splash in the local media as Tunbridge Wells u3a had a half spread in The Times of Tunbridge Wells (page 12), Reading u3a featured in the online newspaper RDG today and Dunmow u3a featured in the Dunmow Broadcast.

Meanwhile, celebrations for local anniversaries landed Teignmouth & District u3a in the Mid Devon Advertiserthe Teignmouth Post, the Dawlish Gazette and Exmouth u3a's 10 year celebrations resulted in an article in The Exmouth Journal.

Third Age Matters

In the Winter Issue of TAM...

The Great British Bake Off’s Prue Leith talks about her hectic career, fashion sense and motorbike pub crawls, while u3a member and comedy script writer Brad Ashton recalls working alongside comedy greats including Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson. Look out for your copy from 9 November.

Photo: Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions
Introducing the new Chair of the Third Age Matters Committee

Third Age Matters (TAM) is steered by a committee made up of u3a members. New Chair, Carolyn Dicken, says, "The Committee of TAM is populated by outstanding talent, both employees and volunteers; all of whom have the best interests of TAM at heart.
"It’s an exciting time to be joining; anticipating the opportunities and challenges that are being created. I plan to update you all periodically about the progression of TAM and any proposed changes. Your feedback is always welcome so please send any useful comments about TAM to"

Advice News

See all the latest advice on our advice pages. Also on the Advice section is our programme of workshops.

Barclays Digital Eagles

Barclays Digital Eagles have a number of free online modules as well as virtual sessions to help you feel confident and prepared to explore the digital world. The sessions focus on staying safe online and keeping up to date. Find out more on the Digital Eagles website.

New Online Workshops to Help You Run Your u3a

In November we will be launching three brand new one-hour long workshops that will focus on constitutions, contingency planning and facilitation skills. Find out more and book your place on the workshops page.
Your Experience of Beacon

When our large u3a suddenly found itself without a Beacon Administrator or Deputy, it was time to remind oneself 'Don't Panic'. After asking our Trustee Barbara Cordina for help & advice, everything happened at record speed. We were assigned a Beacon Journey Lead. Everything was explained in plain English, options were given and confidence was restored. We were offered our own trainer, available within one day. Plus, we can have as much follow-up training as necessary. 
I've never been so impressed with such a responsive and personalised service. 

Dunstable u3a

Spotlight On

A woman in an orange t-shirt is sat in a hessian chair and is smiling at the camera
Harriet, Gilwern u3a
Harriet recently won the u3a creative writing competition for her story, 'Cinderella: What Happened Next.'

I grew up in a household of writers. It was assumed I would follow suit, but I was not pushed to write regularly.  I went out into the world without a qualification to my name. At the age of 39 I became a probation officer and had to write court reports but I was always convinced that I could never write fiction.

When lockdown first happened, some of us provided short articles to Gilwern u3a newsletter.
One of these authors, Kay, started a creative writing group and ruthlessly signed me up. The others had all written stories, poems and autobiographical pieces while I still had not written any adult fiction. 

Our meetings are informal and supportive. Although we do not criticise each other's work, we all feel that our writing has improved enormously over the last two years. I know mine has. Fellow members of the group, Kay and Lynda have done well in the Welsh u3a Creative Writing competition. Bev, our fourth member, is wonderfully subversive and keeps us grounded.

As for how I feel about winning the competition, I could not be more surprised and delighted. The comments from the lovely person at Bloomsbury were so encouraging, but I could not have done it without the group.

Read more about Harriet's creative writing journey and Gilwern u3a's Creative Writing group on our u3a blog, Sources.

Harriet's story will be published in the November edition of Third Age Matters. Stories by all the other finalists can be read on
the u3a creative writing competition page.
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