Janet Benge from Palmers and Woodgate U3A created this artwork of a local night team of nurses to recognise the efforts of the NHS. Read more here
Dear <<First Name>>,

We are all at varying stages of lockdown at the moment, but U3As right across the movement are still open and running interest groups virtually as well as some small outdoor group where the advice permits.

I want to make special mention of Leicester and U3As there, to say we are thinking of you during this time. If there are any U3As ​that are not open and would like support to start some virtual interest groups please do contact us.

We have recently run our first successful online events with the National Gallery, attracting over 460 members. We will be planning more online events over the coming months.

Some of you are in contact about the plan to end free TV licence for over 75s. Age UK and the National Pensioners Convention have asked for help in raising the matter from members interested in the issue.  See more on this from Age UK here

Keep sharing your interest group ideas and keep safe and well.

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

What is U3A?
Finance Matters
New Subject Adviser
Dorothy Hemsworth's knitted Highland cow is just one of the amazing submissions into Settle U3A's online exhibition, 'Inside Looking Out and What We Did During Lockdown.' 

News From The Trust

What is U3A

As U3A starts to look beyond lockdown, we have created a short film - "What is U3A?"

Voiced by Sam, the film explains what this amazing movement is all about, which we hope you can use as part of your toolkit for publicity and aid you in recruitment.  
You can find the film on the button below or by going to our YouTube channel here
Your Stories

Teesdale U3A started: A Spanish learn a word a day group sending out the word by email to 42 members.  A Facebook page where we converted our monthly printed 30 page Forum newsletter into a monthly e-newsletter going to all members with emails. Our wildflower group are reporting in on all the wildflowers they are seeing on solitary walks and then the Convenor, Rose puts them all together and shares them in a Newsletter.

Luisa McAnna, Teesdale U3A

Beyond Lockdown Group

The Development Committee is exploring ways to improve communications to our members and their U3As. 

We have created a Beyond Lockdown group – click on the button for more information from Vice Chairman, Hilary Jones.

You will be hearing from us, but first, we need to hear from you about your tips and suggestions.  
Read more about U3A Beyond Lockdown group

Diversity and Inclusion

Doreen Raine, of the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Committee,  is asking for feedbacks on how U3A commitees approach diversity.

"We in U3A are often accused of drawing all, or most of our members from the same background.  Our newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Committee (previously U3APlus) is responsible for advocating and supporting diversity and inclusion, and we would value your help by letting us know how U3As are reaching out to their local communities and becoming more diverse, thus enriching members’ personal and learning experiences.

Please share your successes with us!  Even an apparently small step can result in massive leaps forward. You can let us know by emailing Hilary - Vice Chairman at"


Don't forget Bitesize for July!

Bitesize Newsletter
Your Stories

Chester U3A have been producing online talks throughout lockdown and, last week, went ‘live’ for the first time, for a webinar. One of their members, Mal Waite, discussed how the ‘Chester Folk Festival’ of which he is an organiser, has gone online this year.

Volunteer News

Have you seen these people?

They epitomize work done by the members for the members. This fabulous impressive group of Trust volunteers  began at the start of lock down.

The team has grown, gelled and worked hard to develop a suite of Zoom tutorials to support individual members to join meetings, Group leaders to deliver interest groups and Committees to host meetings and virtual AGMs.

Over this time they have delivered over 60 workshops and supported over 1,500 U3A members.

A huge thank you for all your hard work and continued support to the membership.

We Need Your Volunteer Skills

Would you like to be part of a vibrant team of Trust Volunteers - sharing your skills and working to support the movement? We are currently looking for:
PR Advisors - With knowledge and experience in a PR or marketing capacity, you will be part of the Regional Support Team and work closely with Liz Drury, the Third Age Trust Communications Officer, as part of the Trust’s strategic project of raising the profile of the U3A movement.
Shared Learning Project (SLP) Regional Coordinators – Two in each region across the UK, you will work with the Regional Trustee as part of the Regional Team to promote shared learning projects in their region and advise local U3As on setting up these projects. You will be supported by the National SLP Coordinators and the SLP committee.
National Shared Learning Project Coordinator (NSLPC) to lead a team of Regional SLP Coordinators, keeping them informed of relevant matters within the structure of the TAT and offer them support and advice on all matters regarding U3A enquiry-led learning. You will also take a national overview of how SLPs promote the concept of learing in the U3A and chair the SLP committee.
Interested?  Please contact the U3A National Office for a role description and details of the application process.
National Office  Online Workshop Resources for Members

We are happy to announce more video presentations are now available:


Trustee Induction

See them on our Youtube Channel.

Advice Manager Jane Bailey said, "We aim to run a Question and Answer Session with the Tutors in the near future for those viewers who would like an opportunity to discuss and raise questions.  If you would like to join these sessions drop me an email."

Learning News

Join the Creative Covid Collaboration

Join our newest initiative. We are aiming to produce a national digital collage to celebrate the ways in which people have been using craft activities to continue to connect, learn and support each other during lockdown.

The collage will be formed of hundreds of pictures of squares, individually designed and created by members and U3As across the country. 
To get involved, submit a picture of your finished square, which should be 10 inches by 10 inches. You have free reign to use any colours, media or theme you wish.

Learn more about our new project here and join the dedicated Facebook group to discuss this project.

Covid Photos: Chris Winner, Wyn Jones.
The Great Garden Bird Watch

Please carry on sending in your bird observations  via our online form. We love to hear about your sightings, videos and  any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.
The British Trust for Ornithology has offered free membership of its Garden BirdWatch scheme, so that people can stay connected to nature, learn about garden wildlife and contribute to important scientific research without leaving home.
How to Get Published

There are still a few spaces left on our interactive session on Zoom with publishing expert Alysoun Owen who will be talking about how to get your work published.

See more on our website.   Book your place

If you are a writer, you might be interested in joinng our 'In My Own Write' the U3A Facebook page in which U3A authors can share their work.
We are also very pleased to offer U3A members a site wide discount on Bloomsbury books  of 30%. U3A members should use code U3A30 at the checkout to obtain this discount.   

U3A Eye

Terry Waldron of Spire U3A, Angela Owen of Worcester Area Group U3A, Birgitta Debenham of Edinburgh U3A and Elizabeth McIndoe of Worcester Area Group U3A (above) took part in U3A Eye. See the galleries here.

What do you want to see from learning?

There’s always lots going on in the learning pages. Visit them here and get lost in Maths challenges, ideas from other U3As and National Initiatives.

The learning department want to make sure that the learning resources meet your needs. With that in mind, a survey will soon be sent out asking what you think about the learning resources, what you want and what more we can do. In the meantime, you can email the learning team with your suggestions. 
Your Stories

 Bolton U3A have been working with the University of Bolton on a project looking into the Mass Observation Project of the 1930s.

Some of the photographs they discovered were intended to be displayed in a planned Festival in March. Instead, it became an online festival.  This included presentations from the U3A Local History Group and the U3A Stitch and Craft Group.
Pamela Boult from Chesterfield U3A used lockdown to finish this project, a patchwork that depicts important events from the last millennium.

U3A News

Porthcawl U3A  members, Trixie Tudor and Anne Trimble, have been making and handing out masks on the seafront - they produced nearly 3000 masks!!!

The Social Cycling Group also got on their bikes to raise money for NHS Wales.

Isle of Man Open for Business

Isle of Man has now been 29 days without a new case, and the 28 days has been described as a local elimination of the virus. 

Isle of Man U3A are looking forward to gradually resuming operations.  
Causeway U3A have been using Zoom to celebrate in all kinds of ways – from a Zoom celebration of the writings of James Joyce  to a surprise Birthday celebration with speeches, singing and clapping for a member’s 80th birthday.

Ilkley U3A Online Summer Programme

Ilkley U3A have had to rethink their usual summer programme of events, searching out innovations so that members can still enjoy activities together during July and August. 

The programme includes virtual town tours, interviews and Q and A sessions as well as a wide range of talks are already scheduled. See more on their website.
Wales Region Photography Competition

If you read the newsletter express, you'll have seen this stunning photo from David Peers of Bangor U3A.

This was the winning photo of a photography competition which finished off a long-running shared learning project by the Wales Region of U3As, celebrating Wales’ many castles.

This photo, and the eleven runners up, can be seen on the Wales Region website and will be used to make a calendar.
Your Stories

“I started a Nature Watch group at the start of lockdown where members send in photos or observations and I collect them and put into newsletter and send out.  We will carry on once normality resumes - with nature outings to different habitats."

Marbe McNeill of East Renfrewshire U3A

Photos: Claire Heyes, Myra Dyer

News from the Board

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Ian McCannah

"As with every U3A, the Trust's activities have been disrupted by COVID-19. However, just as many U3As have demonstrated imaginative ways to keep in touch with their members, the Trust has found ways to continue with "business as usual". Home working and the use of technology have been the enablers. After some initial delays, key pre-lockdown initiatives have continued.
U3As using Beacon have been advised of the revised delivery timetable for the upgraded membership system. Those U3As not currently on Beacon are using this enforced suspension of activity to consider signing up so as to ease the admin burden on their committee members.
Elsewhere, members are working with the Trust's various committees on new initiatives such as support and help for U3As post lockdown; "Building the Brand"; providing new publicity material, including in a digital format; U3A branded merchandise, including clothing; a new national website; recruiting media assistants; more learning material online and Trust U3A.

Launching these initiatives will position the movement positively for when the current pandemic is a matter of historic record.
Your Stories

Rodney Fox is using lockdown to reassess Hillingdon U3A’s Newsletter, sending out a survey to members to find out what they value in the newsletter.

Has lockdown caused you to reassess your U3A communications? Let us know.

Finance Matters

Finance Manager, Kevin Traynor

Outstanding Payments
A further thank you from us all for your response to requests for payment.  There are still a number of U3As that have yet to pay their Membership Subscriptions.  Please address this as soon as you can so that you are guaranteed your votes at the upcoming AGM.  If you cannot pay, for whatever reason, then please let me know.

Online Banking
I was pleasantly surprised at how many of you responded regarding dual authorisation/online banking.  Your responses stated that all the main banks offer dual authorisation and that in general the service is free.  You may need to ask your bank if you have the right type of account e.g. Nat West call theirs a Community Account.  I would like to keep this topic running as it would have helped many U3As if they had had access to these facilities especially over the last few months.

Generic email addresses
We have had a large number of queries related to non-receipt of invoices, annual returns etc. arising from changes in personnel at U3As.  This problem has existed for a good while and the job of keeping thousands of email addresses updated is quite onerous.  One solution would be to have generic addresses e.g. or    This would certainly help us at the Trust.  It would also allow new trustees at U3As to “inherit” an audit trail of what had preceded their appointments.  Again, your thoughts would be welcome.
Financial Queries and Comments
May I suggest that if you have a query on a specific financial matter at the Trust then please address them to me:   
More general queries relating to advice should continue to be sent to

In the last few days I was made aware of a conversation in Facebook concerning the payment or not of the Trust’s annual Membership Subscriptions.  I can only reiterate that if your U3A has a particular problem then please contact me and we will do what we can to help.

Read more by clicking on the button below.
Membership Subscriptions
Your Stories

"On good weather Friday mornings Ukulele Hangout meets outdoors. We keep 2 meter distance and bring chairs, ukuleles, stands and anything else we individually need so we don’t cross contaminate. Its great being able to play together again." – Jenanda, Lymington U3A

International News

EFOS have shared U3A Life in Lockdown Film

Life in Lockdown has been shared by EFOS, the European Federation of Older Students, to their members across Europe and also to U3A in Australia.

Volunteer Role Available for International Committee

The Board’s International Committee has a vacancy for a new member. They would welcome an experienced Italian speaker to assist with enquiries from that area and to develop links with similar senior organisations in Italy. 
Interested?  Then please send a short synopsis of your experience to the chairman, Auriol Ainley.

Click the button for full details.
International Committee Volunteer Role

Social Media News

Staying Connected

During lockdown, social media has become an amazing platform for the movement to connect with each other. From photos shared on the Keeping In Touch Facebook, such as the above photo from Cliff Dixon, to a national virtual quiz organised by Linda Matheson on the Facebook group, U3A members have been using social media to find new ways to keep learning and laughing together.

Has lockdown changed your opinion or experience of social media? We'd love to hear about it.


Our new Instagram page is another great way to get involved in conversations with us. Tag us in your photos and comment on ours telling us what you’re up to – we’d love this platform to be a real snapshot of the amazing things happening across the movement as well as another way for us to connect with you.

If you don’t have an Instagram, you can get involved in conversations by @ing us into your Tweets on Twitter or by messaging us or commenting on our posts on Facebook.

Read about why a U3A member is indexing rare interest groups, extracts from the Diary Project 2020 and much more on

U3As in the Media

Farnham U3A featured on Breakfast on BBC Radio Surrey, discussing how their U3A have adapted to Zoom. Listen to it here, at 1 hour 48 minutes. 

Have you contacted your local radio to talk about how your U3A has adapted to lockdown?  Let us know.

U3A was mentioned in the Dear Deidre column in the Sun in July

A story about radio which featured in TAM has been shared on the RSGB Website. 

Trust U3A

Trust U3A is Growing

Membership numbers increase daily and there are now twenty seven interest groups and four additional activities for Trust U3A members to choose from. You can see them here.

If you are a member of a an existing U3A and would like you like to join Trust U3A the membership fee is just £4 .

You can join here.

Your Stories

Brigitte Holland of Sandbach U3A made this drawing, ‘My Lockdown' illustrating her experiences.

National Events

Credit: Samson and Delilah, The National Gallery
The first National Online event was organised on the 3 July with The Third Age Trust and the National Gallery.  U3A members were able to explore Rubens’s Samson and Delilah (1609-1610), a story of impossible love and tragic betrayal. Over 400 members attended, from all across the movement.
"I've just been watching the webinar on Samson and Delilah from the Nat. Gallery.  It was brilliant, quite riveting.  I do hope you can arrange some more."
"Absolutely the next best thing to actually attending a study day in the Sainsbury wing theatre."

- U3A members who attended the National Gallery Event
Alan Eagle made this out of leather, inspired by a 15C Unicorn Casket at the National Leather Collection. Have you created anything inspired by a piece of artwork or something from a museum? Let us know.
Your Stories

“I have decided to re-start my U3A groups, ‘Understanding the Modern World: The Romans to the Information Society’, ‘History of Political Philosophy’ as email groups.

I have also been involved in establishing Musical Memories as an email group. All my groups were full, but the advantage of an email group is that the numbers are not restricted to the number of seats in my front-room.”

John Simkin

Subject Advisor News

New Book Club Subject Advisor

Richard Peoples is the new subject advisor for Book Clubs.

Richard said, "I’m really excited to be the new subject advisor for Book Clubs. I’m a member of Edinburgh U3A and have been a member of several book groups, some general and some theme-based.

Here is a short list of novels that I’ve read and enjoyed as part of a book group:
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Wall by Marlen Haushofer."

Read more about Richard on his Subject Advisor page.

Martin Eales a member of Sutton U3A, would be happy to give geological presentations to interested U3A Science or Geological Groups in the UK. Contact him here and see more details about his available talks below.
More information on Martin Eales' Talks

Beacon News

The July edition of Beacon News has been published. This issue focuses on Beacon 2. Click here to read July’s Beacon News.

Community Connections


U3a members may be interested in the free resources that adult education charity, The WEA, has to offer.  Discover arts and crafts, maths, digital, history, health and wellbeing  and more. 

Online courses can be found here and are free for the summer term.

WEA Activities Live is a new venture which started as a result of the pandemic. They are one off activities for people to try and gives people a chance to chat with like-minded individuals, learn a new skill and have fun.  These are running until the end of July.

Livestreamed Lectures with NatWest

Our partnership with NatWest is continuing with weekly lectures on a variety of topics from NatWest experts.

The full playlist of our past lectures, including talks on Scams, Robotics and Mindset, can be found here.

Your Chance to Influence Government's Tree Strategy

The Government is asking for your views about England’s Tree Strategy. When we launched our UTreeA Campaign earlier this year – which has been delayed due to Covid19 – it was clear that many U3A members were deeply passionate about the environment and the tree population of England.
This is a great opportunity to influence the Government’s strategy and let your thoughts be known. You can take part in the survey here.
Art Competition for Over 90s

Some U3A members may be interested in an art competition being run by The Grow Old Disgracefully Charity. This is for anyone over 90 years of age. The closing date is 31st August and the competition is looking for artwork in any medium that meets the theme, ‘Happy Times.’

Find out more here.
Your Stories

“Along with many other interest groups which have been continuing through lockdown, our Photography group has been working on various projects throughout.

Macro & Close-up (which could be done at home or in the garden), Trees & Woodland (which could be done whilst taking our exercise), Monochrome (which is mainly exploring photo editing techniques), Cloud formations (from our gardens or whilst out on exercise) and Canal & River (being situated by both the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Trent). The Group Leader uploads the resulting photographs so that all the members can view them.

We will also have a Lockdown project - any photographs taken during the period of the lockdown which do not fit into any of the specified projects.”

Stone and District U3A. Photo credit - John G, Mike C. 

Birthdays and Celebrations

Special lockdown 100th Birthday celebrations

Easter Ross and Sutherland U3A planned a special lockdown celebration for a members’ 100th birthday.  The Newsletter team, which was formed during Lockdown, created a special 100 years edition with articles on events, innovations and culture from the past century as well as about the member, John’s, history.  Easter Ross and Sutherland U3A  also managed to work in tandem with the local councillor to organise pipers, standard bearers from the British Legion and the Lord Lieutenant for the County to attend a short outdoor event.
John was overjoyed at the surprise and his wife says he talked about it for days.
Due to the lockdown restrictions none of John's family were able to visit him but he was delighted that his U3A family had not let his special day pass unmarked.

In Focus

Peter Wildsmith, Burton on Trent U3A

I started training in 1971 and retired (dare I say) honourably in 2012. I am qualified (but no-longer Registered) in both mental health and general nursing.

Upon retirement I did just that having given 41 years of dedication to my career. I moved on into my third age to eventually discover U3A! Prior to that I took up the violin, aged 62, and now play in a local community orchestra. Then I retook the trombone to join my local U3A Jazz group but now play in a local Brass band. I am an active cyclist and Co-ordinator of my U3A Social Cycling Group.

I also give a talk on my career as a (male!) nurse, covering the many years of my interesting experiences from the day of my interview for psychiatric (now mental health) nursing until I retired from my School of Nursing with University of Wolverhampton. I have delivered my talk to Burton on Trent U3A at one of our 'Talk and Tea' afternoons.

I spice up my career-talk with a little teaser - I served a 5 year apprenticeship with British Rail before I embarked upon my second career in nursing.
I had a great career in nursing and am enjoying a great retirement!
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