Dear <<First Name>>,


As usual there is a lot happening in the movement, locally, regionally and nationally.

We have had the opportunity to contribute the benefits and reach of the U3A model to a group including representatives from government departments. Arriva buses will be working to profile U3As as you will see in the newsletter.

The message of how well U3As work and how they contribute to local communities is gradually becoming stronger and all because of the great work you all do in your U3As.

For those of you interested in the Beacon service, an update on the upgrade working group is included.

One theme that comes through the contributions in this newsletter, is how much members contribute to the Third Age Trust, with so many coming forward to share with us their views and experience.

From all of us thank you.

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

Arriva Buses
U3A in Cartoons

News from the Trust


Scotland’s legislators have turned out in force to support U3A during a week-long exhibition in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

U3A had around 100 visits including from Ministers, MSPs, Researchers and staff all keen to hear more about what U3A is all about.  More than 50 MSPs pledged to support the creation and development of U3As in their constituencies.

U3A Scotland Trustee Ed Link said, "A huge thank you to all involved in making what has been an uplifting week and in terms of raising awareness of the U3A, a highly successful one. We are currently reviewing the event hoping to target similar future exhibitions”.

To read more here

Advertising in the Guardian

As part of the U3A Development Plan, the Trust is continuing to explore different ways to raise the profile of U3A and what we do.

In keeping with this, please look out for a new banner advert due to be on the Guardian newspaper website from the 25th February.  The banner advert will appear over 28 weeks with a guarantee of 50,000 impressions -which is when someone clicks on the website when the advert is prominent. The package includes weekly monitoring updates telling us how many clicks we received onto our website.  We intend to put updates in the newsletter and we really value U3As’ support in letting us know about any enquiries received directly as a result of the advert.

If you have any feedback contact Communication Officer


The Beacon Upgrade working group has been formed with the ambition of having a Beacon upgrade service by April 2020.  We will be contacting U3As throughout the year for information and clarity about their needs and requirements. 

The recent survey sent to all U3As enquiring about their top level requirements in managing their U3A identified the following tasks as being the most demanding:-
- collection of receipts and payments (including cashless payments)
- coordination of groups
- communication with members
- communication with the Third Age Trust
- website and social media interfaces
- preparation for their AGM or other meetings
- regulatory and legal compliance
- organisation of trips
- document management
- speaker lists

A survey will be sent shortly to Beacon users to elicit further information about how Beacon is currently used by U3As and their main requirements from an update.
We will be sending out regular monthly updates on progress. Please feel free to contribute any thoughts and ideas to the working group. You can contact us by emailing

Mailings to U3As

Please note that a new email mailing from national office was sent to U3A Chairs and Secretaries this week (12th February 2019). 

This mailing and others previously can be found in the Mailings and Downloads section of the Advice area of the national website. You will need to login to view these pages. We aim to let you know when future mailings have gone out to U3As in this newsletter in future.

News On Volunteers

Introducing Eleanor

Eleanor Hazlewood will be joining the Trust on the 18th February as the new Volunteering Officer.

Eleanor's role will be to work alongside the Advice and Volunteering Manager, Sophie Wellings, in providing support, development and training to Trust Volunteers. The contribution of Trust Volunteers is invaluable in supporting the small team at National Office to respond effectively to the needs of the U3A Movement.
Sophie Wellings said, "Having this dedicated role will help to improve our offer both to Trust Volunteers and to local U3As. We still have a way to go to ensure that Trust Volunteers get the most from their role".

You can read about a new appointment in the Education Resources Department in Learning Resources further down the newsletter.


National Workshops

National Programme

The planned workshops are available to book via the Trust website and several more are in the planning stage.

These workshops are proving hugely popular and offer a great opportunity for networking. The spaces do fill up really quickly so please do book once you receive notification to ensure that you gain a space on the workshop. To ensure as many U3As can attend as possible places for future workshops will be limited to two per U3A.

Those who attended recent workshops commented:
"The information was conveyed in a really practical way and it was great to meet people from other U3As".
"The workshop was really helpful - thank you".

North East Workshop

A new interactive workshop - Good News - looking at how to produce material for U3A newsletters, local newspapers and U3A websites is now open for booking. 
Led by Trust Volunteers Kelvin Rushworth (Wooler U3A), Pam Turner (Morpeth U3A) and Mo Brown (Newcastle U3A) the workshop will include: Presentations and discussions about writing material; Activities around using different forms of communication; Networking with others who compile newsletters; Contact local newspapers and manage websites.

It takes place on Monday 18 March 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne.  For more information and an application form contact Kelvin Rushworth as soon as possible and by 8 March 2019 at the very latest.

Building Partnerships

Arriva Buses

U3A is supporting Arriva in its new campaign – Connecting Communities - which aims to tackle loneliness and social isolation by highlighting places that people can go in their local area.

The campaign which will begin in the week beginning February 18, will feature website hubs which illustrate community centres, activities and groups in communities across the UK, as well as the relevant bus route. 

Arriva is one of the largest providers of passenger transport in Europe and operates over 5,000 buses across the UK, playing a vital role in many communities.

Sam says, “Arriva aims to highlight every U3A along its routes. We are looking to further develop this partnership and we thank U3A committees in advance for their support of this exciting partnership which will reach out into the heart of communities”.

Find out more from Arriva here

University Partnership

Barnet U3A is working with Middlesex University on a new project with their Psychology Department. 

Daphne Berkovi says, “The collaboration has been warmly welcomed by the University and we are having a taster session in February, led by the Head of the Psychology department, followed by fortnightly sessions at the University entitled "Lifespan Psychology".

We'd love to hear about your your U3A University Partnerships here

You can read more details from the link below:



The non-for-profit organisation, Ageing Without Children wanted to let U3A members know that they are changing their name to Ageing Well Without Children to reflect a more positive message around what they do.
Founder Kirsty Woodard said, “Our main aim is to raise awareness and understanding of the issues and we are launching a guide for organisations on setting up groups for people ageing without children”.
Ageing Well Without Children has a new logo and website which you can find here

Research Requests

Can we predict Parkinson’s Disease?

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London are reaching out to U3A to support the launch of the next phase of a ground-breaking study for Parkinson’s disease. PREDICT-PD uses a series of online tests to identify ways to predict Parkinson's disease and understand who might be at highest risk.

The researchers are looking for U3A members aged 60-80 years who do not have Parkinson’s.
Participants just need to register on the website and read the information sheet before completing the online tests.

For any queries contact or to take part go to

Virtual Reality Study

Kings College, Camberwell in London is asking for U3A members between 60 and 79 to take part in research to see how memory works and whether it can be assessed using virtual reality.

If you are interested, email your age, phone number and availability for a brief chat over the phone to

You will be called by a member of our team to assess your eligibility.

U3A in the Community

Keeping Connected

Older people when they are taken to live somewhere else would benefit from having even the odd phone call from former friends.

U3A member Olga says that has been her experience, “Some years ago a very close friend whom I had known for 20 years (she bred TBs and we bred Welsh Mountain Ponies) was taken to live with a farmer son when she could no longer cope on her own. She had spoken to me about him but not his actual address.

"When she left I never heard from her again. It must cause a lot of sorrow and loneliness on both sides.

“I would ask relatives and organisations to please ensure that when they move older people that their address book goes with them.  Such a simple, obvious thing yet stops the chance of depriving older people of any contact with their former friends”.
Let us know about your experiences here

Making Waves

John Lewis, Bingham U3A in Leicestershire, has made his debut for U3A on Community Radio with local station 103 The Eye. 

John said, “The station goes out on 103 FM but also online and broadcasts to over 90,000 people in Melton and Vale of Belvoir. I talked of the 47 interest groups. The presenter was immediately onside when I mentioned the Real Ale and Cider Appreciation group!"

Community Radio stations are local voluntary bodies that want to help raise the profile of movements like ours.  Has your U3A had experience with Community radio? We’d love to share your experience.

Please contact John at

Read more on John’s experience at


History Podcasts


Farnham U3A has recently introduced podcasts of its popular history group talks on its website, so that members can listen again and enjoy them a second time.
To see more go to Farnham U3A

Do you want to do something similar? Contact Farnham U3A's Tim Davies




Burton Joyce & District U3A asked for 100 replies on what readers thought of their monthly newsletter 'Newsline'.
They got a pretty good response (56) about what U3A members enjoy in a newsletter.  You can read their responses here


Coffee Exchange


Kennet U3A in Marlborough has opened its new U3A Coffee Exchange.  t opened to both existing and potential new members and has helped provide an insight into the activities of the U3A in Kennet.
John Martin said, “We hope this will be an opportunity for people each month to have a relaxed chat over a cup of coffee or tea and share the latest U3A news and activities".

To find out more contact



Lifelong learning

Third Age Matters and the last stand-alone paper edition of Sources are out now.


Sources Online

Exciting news including the Southend Listening Bench Shared Learning Project with Essex Sound Archive and Digital Story Telling from Swansea U3A and more! are now on Sources Online



Thank you to Eagle eyed readers in Forth Valley U3A History Group who spotted a typo in the last newsletter which should have read the Radical Rising in Scotland in 1820. 


News from Subject Advisers

Table Tennis


The National Adviser on Table Tennis Tony Shapps said, “I have identified one area that needs support, namely table tennis coaching.
"Using my local position as group leader I have taken it upon myself to start inviting members from some of our other local U3As to the training/coaching sessions that I run each week.  This has proved successful both with the attendees who have joined us and has also delighted our own players who like meeting up with other U3A members".
If anyone is interested they can contact Tony 

Learning Resources

Introducing Nina

Nina Duttaroy is U3A’s new Educational Resources Officer. She is a highly experienced Learning and Development specialist, and has worked for a wide range of organisations including Age UK and the BBC.

She will be in post for the next six months, and her role will be to develop the resources available for interest groups. She will also administer the DVD library service and is based at the National Office in the Education and Resources team.

Please contact Nina if you have any suggestions for improving the DVD Library and resources available. Her email is


Educational Events

National Languages Groups Study Day

This pilot national subject study day is open for booking.

Places are limited to one per U3A for this pilot so sign up if you are a languages study group leader who would like to get ideas and support from our subject advisers in this area.

Please pass this information on to anyone else who may be interested. 

Book your place

Regional Events

South East Region Conference will be held in East Grinstead on Wednesday 3 April.
The keynote address will be given by Ian McCannah, Chairman of the Third Age Trust.  Francis Beckett, editor of Third Age Matters and Bob Duckmanton, our Regional Trustee, will also be speaking.
In addition there will be discussion sessions and displays of U3A activities as shown in the full programme which can be downloaded from the website at 

Northern Ireland U3A are hosting a stand today and tomorrow at the Over 50s Retirement exhibition at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast from 10am.

Connecting U3A World Wide

Transatlantic Talk

Maria Chester, U3A International Committee, has given a simultaneous video conference lecture to an audience of U3As in Canada, USA, Europe and the UK. 

Maria, a frequent speaker on art history at the National Summer Schools, gave her transatlantic talk on Belle Epoche, the period from 1871 to 1914. It was sponsored by a class at the Academy for Life Long Learning in Toronto studying 19th-century French history.

Maria said, “I'm an experienced lecturer so it was no trouble to deliver my talk but what I did not seen coming was the odd feeling of hearing and seeing an applause from the other side of the ocean!

“Times are changing rapidly and for those with mobility limitations or for those (like my attendees in Canada) who were caught in a snow storm, a virtual lecture is ideal”.
To read this article in full please go to


Stuart Pollard, Causeway U3A, in Northern Ireland, has written a Blog Post on the work of U3A on EPALE

EPALE is a new multilingual community of adult learning professionals which aims to improve the quality and provision of adult learning in Europe.

News from the Board

Chairman of the Board, Ian McCannah

“I am often asked about how the Trust is structured to support its Board and National Office.
“For a list of the Committees, Working Groups, etc and their members, that currently provide specialist advice to the Trust, click on this Link
“One noticeable feature of these support teams is the extent of member involvement. Over the last few years, there has been a concerted effort by the Board to invite members, with the expertise gained during their working lives, to join these groups. This ensures that Board decisions, affecting the membership, are made after the contribution from members with the relevant background and expertise.
“The Board will continue to draw on the vast expertise that lies within its 400,000 members to support the very wide scope of its activities. Watch out for requests in future Newsletter!”

U3A in the Media

Well done U3A member Allen Chubb from Haslemere whose letter was published in the Telegraph. 

SIR – The fight against obesity and hypertension should not be left to doctors or their patients alone.
There are many organisations, such as golf and tennis clubs or Ramblers and Cycling UK, which have a role to play in promoting physical and mental health. I’m retired and belong to my local U3A, which has a tennis group, two pilates groups, two dancing groups, four walking groups, a new cycling group and a petanque with winter skittles group.
Such organisations also have a role to play in tackling stress, loneliness and isolation, which doctors know can lead to many health difficulties.

BBC London
London Trustee, John Bent and Penny Ryan, Wandsworth U3A member, were interviewed on Jo Good’s show  on BBC London.  You can hear it at 11 minutes in here:

Well done to Norton Radstock U3A who are in their local media here

Challenging the Eggheads

Tune into BBC2 tonight (Friday 15 February) to watch a team from South West Herts U3A take on the Eggheads at 6pm.

Can you help BBC's The One Show?

The One Show (BBC1) are hoping to create a light hearted film in the next few weeks interviewing people who were born in, grew up in and still live in the same house (and hopefully don’t intend to ever move).

They wondered if any U3A members fit the bill and could help?  If you can then contact

If you do, please let know how you get on.

U3A Celebrations

Landmark Anniversaries

Congratulations to all the U3As who have celebrated a landmark anniversary in the last few months.  That includes North Wilts U3A  and Warrington U3A who both celebrated 25 years. North Wilts gave honorary memberships to 13 founder members including Doreen Dempsey in her 100th year - an active member of the Bridge Group.

A special mention also to Elsie Beesley, an active member of Cottingham U3A who celebrated her 100th birthday at the U3A Monthly meeting in January. BBC Radio Humberside interviewed Elsie.

In Focus

Mike Watson, Vice Chair of Lyndhurst & District U3A

"After leaving the army in January 1961,  I joined Philips the Dutch electronics company as a Technical Author & Illustrator and I worked for that company for 30 years. In my spare time I became a freelance cartoonist and had my work published in various magazines/newspapers including a six year spell of drawing sports cartoons exclusively for an Australian publisher.

"It was after that period that I began working as a self-taught wildlife artist, hand carving and hand painting life-like studies of British birds which, although now in my 80's, I still enjoy making and exhibiting at galleries and large agricultural and county shows.

"It was when Lyndhurst & District U3A launched in 2014 and I was invited to be its Chairman, that my enjoyment of cartooning was re-kindled, taking inspiration from our range of Interest Group activities".
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