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Five people looking at a laptop on a desk. The man in the foreground is holding a mic, as if he is waiting to say something, whilst the woman to the right of him is pointing at the screen, wearing headphones and smiling.
After two years of working together remotely, the u3a radio podcast team met up for the first time in person this month. Read about their latest episode in the learning section.


Dear <<First Name>>,
Yesterday I had the first Ask the CEO session with u3as.
It was great to have a conversation with so many of you about everything from how we communicate to considering a barter service scheme. There were lots of comments, views and ideas.

It is the first of a series of sessions that will be happening during the year. Some will be with me, some with the staff and volunteer teams and some with the Chair, Vice Chair or Treasurer. 

As well as the importance of learning, being together, sharing time and enjoying each others company, what you say is central to membership.
For me these conversations with u3a members give us the opportunity to understand each other, build trust, respect and to learn.

I wish you all a safe and happy November.

With very best wishes

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

We've Reached 40,000+
How did the stones get to Stonehenge?
Learning More About: Languages
Your Stories

It is noticeable how happy everyone is to be able to meet again. Our monthly meetings have an average attendance of about 140. 
We have new members joining every month, most from our newsletters which are placed in the library and other prominent outlets. We carry on with renewed enthusiasm with new interest groups starting.
Michael, Vice Chair of Stamford u3a

Bitesize Newsletter

Download the Bitesize Newsletter

News from The Trust

A purple background. On the right hand side, there is a hand holding up an iPhone. Above that is a yellow graphic of the email symbol - an open envelope with a letter coming out.
40,000+ Members of Our Newsletter Community

Thank you all for your engagement with this u3a national newsletter and for sharing it with members and friends. We now have over 40,700 subscribers - an amazing milestone not just because we're now reaching 10% of the u3a movement, but because we've reached it in our 40th Anniversary year. This newsletter allows us to connect with each other, share your stories and keep you up to date with what's happening throughout the movement. Please do keep encouraging people to sign up through the u3a website.
Five spades are planted in the ground - a grassy field. In the background you can see sticks where sapling trees have been planted.
A New Planting Season 

November is the start of a new planting season and the perfect opportunity to donate trees to our 40th Anniversary woodland. The woodland is creating a lasting legacy for the u3a movement and helping to preserve the environment for future generations. We're getting close to our goal of 10,000 trees but we need your help - donate a tree on the u3a brand centre. Local u3as have been involved in their own tree planting initiatives - read more in u3a news.

 Buy your u3a diary now on the u3a brand centre.

You can buy them in batches of 10 or 20 and there is also now a special reduced delivery price for individual diaries. u3a diaries are the ideal gift for your u3a friends or colleagues. 
A panorama of hadrian's wall - a short stone brick wall waves through the countryside. The sun is rising.
Off The Wall

The countdown is on for our festival of learning and fun at Hadrian's Wall on 10 May 2023. Thanks so much for all of your support. If you or your interest group would like to take part, please get in touch. Read about the plans so far on the new Hadrian's Wall page of the u3a website. 


Below is a snapshot of the learning initiatives on our website that members can get involved with.
A birds eye view of Stonehenge - a circle of large stones on a field
How did the stones get to Stonehenge?

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call out in the August newsletter for your Stonehenge theories. We had an incredible response and three of those members appear in the November episode of the u3a radio podcast to discuss whether glacial drift, summer solstice or a social gathering can explain Stonehenge.

Other features in the episode include a supper celebrating Scotland's worst poet, and a u3a member who has done extensive studies in European Architecture. Listen to the November episode now on YouTube on podcasting platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
The December episode of the u3a radio podcast will focus on the highlights of the series so far and we want to hear from you. What has been your favourite interview? Let us know. 
An open book with leaves on the pages and a pair of glasses. The book is on a cozy grey jumper.
u3a Poetry Competition - Open Now

Our movement wide poetry competition is open now. The deadline is Friday 27 January 2023 and we're looking for poems of less than 16 lines on any topic. The three winning poems will be published in Third Age Matters and on the u3a website. Find the competition rules and submit your poem on the Poetry Competition webpage. 
A table with graphs on, a calculator, a pad and pen, a compass, a pen, a ruler
Help Us Create Maths Puzzles

The weekly u3a Maths Challenge has been going since 2020, created by a group of u3a members. If you would like to join the problem and puzzles writing team, please submit a sample problem and solution of your own creation to Janine Aldridge. Submissions will be forwarded to the Maths Challenge team which is led by David, Maths and Stats Subject Adviser.

Advice and Volunteering News

See all the latest advice on our advice pages. Also on the Advice section is our programme of workshops.
A conversation between Liz Ervine, Trustee for Scotland, and David, Vice Chair for Chelmsford u3a, about their experience being u3a Trustees
Trustees Week

Between 7-13 November, we celebrated National Trustees Week. u3a Trustees contribute so much to their local u3as and to the wider movement. We used the week to share members' experiences, including in the video above. We also collated a list of the available u3a resources to help Trustees in their roles, on our Sources blog. 

Please see our Spotlight On further down the newsletter for Pauline's experience of being a Trustee. 
A middle aged woman is looking at her computer and smiling.
Running Interest Groups - Online Workshop

Interest groups are the life of the u3a, and this workshop discusses good practice around running a group as well as providing information about the role of being a group leader. A recent attendee said, "I found this extremely useful. It focused me on a couple of areas where we need to strengthen what we do."

The next Interest Groups Matter session is on 8 December. Book your place on the workshops page. There is information on all upcoming workshops, including the new Introduction to Beacon.

Our Impact

u3a is developing the movement's voice to make a social impact. Read about ongoing projects on our Impact page.
Two women sat on a table at an event. They have pieces of paper in front of them; the woman on the left is listening intently to the woman to her right, who is speaking and pointing at something beyond the camera's view.
The first Influencing and Social Change training workshop took place in Edinburgh with an interactive session about diverse ways to create change in our communities.

An online version of the workshop is running on Tuesday 29 November - book your place on
the Influencing and Social Change page.
Upcoming Future Lives Events

The Future Lives Group are continuing their series of events. Professor Jeremy Myerson will talk (30 November) about how design can change lives. Sir Muir Gray will talk (13 December) about what we know about living longer. Book your place on both events on the Future Lives page, where you can also watch the recording of Janet Lord's sold out event on ageing better.
A man in a red jumper and with white hair is opening a parcel - that seems to have clothing inside.
Making the Everyday Accessible

Using the findings from our joint report, 'Designing the Everyday for a Less Frustrating Life’, the Design Age Institute have created a petition to enforce minimum inclusive standards for product packaging. Please sign the petition on the Parliaments Petition site.

u3a News

Every newsletter, we share news from your u3as. Whatever you're doing, we want to know about it - get in touch.
Three people in a wooded area. A man is showing a woman a mushroom. The people are obscured by twigs and trees in the foreground.
 Dyffryn Conwy Wildflower Group on their annual fungus foray which was particularly fruitful this year. 
A man in a red jumper and a man in a black jumper are sat at a long table. The man in the black jumper is wearing headphones and there are multiple leaflets on the table, along with walkie talkies and other pieces of equipment.
Reaching New Members Through The Airwaves

Over 650 people attended Wokingham u3a's Open Day. The event was publicised on social media, in newsletters and in locations around Wokingham and caused website traffic to triple. They had displays from their interest groups, including their Amateur Radio Group (pictured) who met for the first time in person on the day. The event resulted in 85 new members.
A man and woman standing outside in a field; the woman is holding a young tree and both are smiling at the camera.
Ten people stood in a blue tent that reads, 'Barnsley u3a'. They are smiling at the camera. To the right of the blue tent is a blue flag banner that reads, 'Barnsley u3a' 'Learn Laugh Live', 'Join the fun!'
u3as Spreading Roots

As well as the incredible support for our u3a woodland, u3as have been planting trees locally to make an environmental difference in their communities.

Upholland & District u3a had such a great response to the u3a woodland that they were able to also plant several trees locally. Chair Viv and Trustee for the North West Region, Neil Stevenson, took part in the planting, pictured above.

A tree planting ceremony by Barnsley u3a contributed to the late Queen Elizabeth II's 'Tree Canopy' Project. The event was attended by the Mayor of Barnsley and Chair Alan Swann.

Have you planted any trees locally? Let us know.
A busy room of people smiling, chatting and dancing. There is a man in the foreground who is wearing a blue floral shirt and is dancing.
Dancing at Balsall Common
Balsall Common u3a held a dance and supper evening at St Peter’s Church Hall to mark u3a week and 40 years of the u3a. Over 90 members attended, including members from Olton u3a.
A man wearing a uniform and three women are in the photo. The women are holding up a quilt made up of red and green squares.
Plymstock & District u3a's Craft Group created this winter quilt, which will be first prize at a raffle for their u3a's Christmas General Meeting.
Your Stories

On 3 September we had an open day. There were demonstrations of how to play various games and explanations of what groups did. New members during the morning took our membership to over 400. Thanks again to everyone who turned up and helped on the day. We could not have done it without you.

Paul, Chair of High Lane u3a 


An older woman is smiling at the camera. She is holding a bouquet of flowers.
A u3a Chair at 100 Years

Audrey has just resigned from the role of Chair of Lyndhurst u3a at the age of 100. Peter, the u3a's Secretary, says, "On meeting Audrey I learned there truly are people in this world to whom age is but a number. She was an excellent Chair and kept me and the rest of the committee up to the mark.

"Audrey was a stalwart member of Lymington u3a for more than 20 years. When Lyndhurst was forming, it looked as if it would not get off the ground for want of a Treasurer when Audrey, then over 90, saved the day. She served her time to the limit and then took on the role of Chair. I will particularly miss our weekly telephone calls; always amicable, always brisk and to the point while often being amusing. We all wish her well in her latest adventure."

Barnsley u3a member Mac, who pioneered walking cricket across the movement, was Highly Commended at the BBC Radio Yorkshire 'Make A Difference' Awards in the Volunteer category.

News from the Board

A graphic image with two photos on the left hand side. The top left photo shows a woman with turqoise glasses and grey hair, wearing a blue jumper and a silk scarf. She is smiling and doing a thumbs up to the camera. In the photo below, hundreds of people are sitting in a conference hall. They are holding a yellow banner with words in a foreign language. On the right, there is a graphic of a plant with leaves coming out, and next to this, the faces of two older adults. Below this it says, '2022 International Conference on Active Aging and Learning." In large italics it says, "Thank you" In small writing at the bottom of the page it says, "Hui-Chuan Wei, Ph.D. Director, Ageing & Education Research Center, National Chung Cheng University." and below this, "Ai-Tzu Li, Ph.D. Chairman, Department of Adult and Continuing Education, National Chung Cheng University."

Liz Thackray, Chair of the Third Age Trust

During the Summer I received an invitation to present a keynote address to an International conference in Taiwan, focusing on learning in later life. There was interest in learning more about the u3a, how we are organised and what we do. On 10 November, I joined the conference online and the video presentation I gave is available on the u3a YouTube channel.

There was considerable interest in our learning model – and in particular how we break away from accredited learning models to informal learning from and with each other. It is good to know that we have something others want – and that we can share what we have learned over past 40 years.

Following the AGM in October the Trustees, volunteers and staff in the Third Age Trust have continued their two-way conversation with members and u3as across the movement.  

This has included detailed reviews at two Board meetings, face to face and online meetings between officers and Trustees with the u3as who proposed and seconded the AGM amendments; and the first of the Conversations with the CEO.

Vice Chair, Allan Walmsley, says, “In the coming months we will be setting out ways to ensure that u3as are able to access information on a range of activities and continue conversations about the need and justification for spending, particularly on projects.

The Trust continues to work hard on behalf of over 1,000 u3as, providing services, finances, events, and learning programmes, as well as gaining national publicity – please see Media News.”

Social Media News

A misty mornign - the whole photo is a light blue colour and there is lots of fog. Beneath the fog you can see a red bridge going across a large body of water.

Walking with West Lothian u3a

West Lothian u3a Walking Group enjoyed a walk from South Queensferry to Dalmeny House today. It was a misty, moisty Autumn morning, and the trees looked beautiful - even in the heavy rain. It was a lovely walk, although they all got a wee bit wet! 🌧

What's your favourite part of an autumnal walk? West Lothian recently shared photos from their walk - with brightly coloured leaves and misty views. See more of the photos and what else their interest groups have got up to lately on West Lothian u3a Facebook page.

Photo: West Lothian u3a member Irene

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.


There are lots more member-led stories on our u3a blog, Sources.
A screenshot of a website. There is a blue banner at the top. Beneath that, is the u3a learn laugh live logo, and to the right there are four sections in highlighted black - Home, Search, Submit a Story, u3a newsletter. Beneath that, it says, 'Welcome to u3a Sources' in large bold black font. Beneath it says, in smaller bold blue font, 'the u3a blog dedicated to sharing, inspiring and learning.' There is a search bar to the right that says, 'Search sources.' Beneath that is a story with three columns - on the right in bold black writing it says, 'Lindisfairne Gospels: Back in the North East.' To the right of that it says, 'Kelvin, Chair of Northumbria u3a's Events Committee, talks about a recent visit to the Lindisfarne Gospels Exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. To the right of that is a picture of people looking at a screen filled with colourful patterns."

New Look for Our Sources Blog

We've had a redesign of our Sources blog, so it most effectively showcases the dynamic things your u3as are getting up to. Stories this month have included profiles on u3a Trustees, events at Northumbria u3a and more. Explore the new blog - u3a Sources. 

Your Stories

The penultimate u3a 40th Anniversary event for Northumbria u3a was a visit to the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, to celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East.

Durham Cathedral Guide, Northumbria u3a Trustee and u3a Seaham Harbour Chair Malcom gave a wonderfully illustrated introductory talk about the Gospels. Attendees were able to visit the Lindisfarne Gospels Exhibition which is about its meaning in the world today and its' themes of personal, regional and national identity. 

Kelvin, Chair of Northumbria u3a Events Committee
Read more from Northumbria u3a on our Sources blog.

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.
A close up of someone's hand tapping on a mobile phone.

Learn Digital Life Skills: YouTube Week 
Friday 25 November, 2pm

This event will explain how to use YouTube to discover videos you love, subscribe to channels and create your own playlists.

A woman with short blonde hair is smiling at the camera

Third Age Matters Magazine & Journalism 
Tuesday 29 November, 2pm

Join our u3a magazine editor Joanne Smith to learn about journalism, national newspapers and the magazine itself. 

Oil and Gas Drilling Rig.

The Geology of Oil and Gas Part 2
Thursday 1 December, 2pm

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

A feather and a dramatic mask are resting on two big old books.

Writing Poetry for Publication and Performance
Tuesday 13 December, 2pm

In this event, author and poet Sophia Blackwell will share up to date advice on writing poetry.

An Online Meeting for Wales u3as

On Monday 28 November at 2pm, Allan Walmsley, Vice-Chair of the Trust will be talking to members of u3as in Wales about the future of the u3a movement. Book your spot now. 

Our 40th Anniversary

Find out more about how we're celebrating on our 40th Anniversary page.
A group of men are standing around a black board on the floor with white lines drawn on it. On the far end of the board is a small robot, and a man is kneeling by it smiling.

u3a Constructors Show Their Metal at Robot Challenge

Robots handcrafted by u3a members battled against each other in the 40th Anniversary Robot Challenge. Chris, one of the organisers, says, "We all took it very seriously, and it took many of us out of our comfort zone, but it was a lot of fun. It's easy to build a robot, it's not easy to design and make it work. There was some really significant engineering involved."

Read more about the event on the u3a 40th Anniversary blog and if you are interested in taking part in a similar event next year, get in touch.

An older man and woman are resting their heads together in an intimate pose.

There Are No Strangers Here

The One Foot in the Future writers collective, which includes Edinburgh u3a members, have created the film, '(There Are) No Strangers Here' from a one act play they wrote for the 40th Anniversary. The film will be shown at an exclusive online screening, with a Q&A, for u3a members on Tuesday 29 November at 10am. Book your place now.

Could you help new u3as in Scotland start up?

Several new u3as are being set up in Scotland and there are more in the pipeline. To ensure anyone who wants to set up a new u3a receives comprehensive support, we are looking for some new Start Up volunteers. 

Full induction, training and ongoing support for volunteers is provided. If you have experience of being on a u3a committee, setting up or running a u3a, please get in touch with Trustee for Scotland Liz Ervine at 

Services and Offers

u3a Offers and Services is a new section of the newsletter offering discounts to u3a members and friends.
The u3a click and save logo on a festive white background, with pine leaves at the top.
u3a Click and Save: saving on Christmas

u3a Click and Save is here to help members save on everything from buying gifts to their festive food shop. Save with brands including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, Argos, B&Q, Currys and H&M. Find out more on the u3a Click and Save website. 

u3a Office In Focus

This section puts a spotlight on the staff who work at u3a office and what we're doing.
A circular picture shows a woman with short light brown hair and wearing a long sleeved black top smiling at the camera. She is standing against a lilac wall.
Meet Susannah

I’m Susannah, Training and Regional Support Manager.

My role includes ensuring we have comprehensive training workshops to provide information and support to u3a members, including running a u3a, contingency planning and much more.

Trust Volunteer Trainers and staff deliver these sessions – and if you haven’t yet attended one, you can find out more on the workshops page. I also ensure we have processes in place to support Trust Volunteer recruitment and induction and work with Trustees to ensure they have the support they need in their area. I work on all of these areas with the Development Committee, made up of u3a members, to ensure this work is relevant to members and provides the support they need.
New Chief Digital and Information Officer

Former Website Officer, Charles, who previously appeared as our u3a office in focus in
the May Newsletter, is the new interim Chief Digital and Information Officer. The new role includes overseeing the digital functions of The Third Age Trust.

Subject Advice News

See all the latest updates and the full list of Subject Advisers on the Subject Advice page.
A birds eye view of a grey table with flags on it - French, Italian, German, American - a tiny model airplane, a set of headphones, and a gold microphone

Learning More About: Languages with Subject Adviser, Heather

What are the benefits of learning languages within u3a?

Language learning within u3a provides a unique context. Together each group makes progress in its own way. Their outlook is extended, their brains are engaged, there is laughter, and they are not lonely.

What does your role include?

Our task as advisers is to help groups do better, whatever they do. I have created leaflets on the u3a Website with advice on how to find a group, start a group, find learning materials, stimulate conversation, deal with mixed abilities and use Zoom for language exchange.

What do you like about your role?

My favourite part of the role is communicating with leaders or learners over the phone, online or better still, working alongside them at face-to-face workshops. I was delighted to find out recently that language groups can come together via Interest Groups Online.

Contact Heather through her Subject Advice page.

A tennis court. You can see the foot, hand and tennis racket of a man who is bouncing a tennis ball.
How many points does a Short Tennis player need to win the game? 

You can ask our new Short Tennis Subject Adviser David. An incorrect email address was printed in Third Age Matters - you can contact him on the
Short Tennis Subject Advice page. 
Three people are stood next to a blue flag banner that says "u3a Locks Heath, learn... laugh... live..." Two of the people standing next to the flag banner are wearing decorative garlands.
Your Stories

This is our stand at our local shopping centre when we held an open day in October. We had considerable interest and gained more members. The Mayor of Fareham visited and wished us well. We will be doing it again.

John, Locks Heath u3a

Media News

A wooden table with a newspaper, an iPad showing news, a pen, a coffee cup and a pair of glasses on it.
Our Growing Media Presence

Since our part-time u3a press officer Elise, joined us in March, we've had over 30 pieces of coverage online, in newspapers, on television, radio and in magazine.... that's nearly one piece of coverage every week.

These include in Wigan Today for our 40th anniversary, in Retirement Matters about the anniversary woodland in Brecon Beacons and numerous interviews with BBC Radio across the UK.  The Express newspaper featured the incredible excavation of a medieval palace by Burnham u3a and The Guardian did a feature on how one of our members' lives changed after joining u3a.

Our members have appeared on TV, including a travel show with a famous comedian which is under wraps until next year .... we will keep you updated.

This month Elise secured a big feature in the Co-op's magazine for retired staff, Evergreen, on the benefits of u3a - see featured picture below.

A magazine spread over two pages. There is a half page photo showing an older woman standing next to a small jet plane and a man wearing pilot gear. Below this it says, '40 years of positive ageing.' On the right hand side there is more text and two pictures - one of two men playing in a guitar band, and one of a man playing walking cricket.
u3as In The News This Month

Ashfield u3a made headlines in the Mansfield, Ashfield and Sherwood News Journal with a story about their 15-strong litter picking group who are keeping their area rubbish-free. Grantham u3a's 21st birthday celebrations - complete with Scottish dancing - made it into the Grantham Journal. And The Inverness Courier carried a story about Nairn u3a's 30th birthday event.

Leigh on Sea and Leigh Estuary u3a's hosted a public exhibition, 'Leigh Shops Through Time' in September and featured in the Leigh Times.
Third Age Matters will be doing an article on how u3a members are coping with the cost of living crisis. Have you gone back to work or made other sacrifices? Get in touch.

News for Committees

Announcing u3aSiteWorks - a new website platform for u3a

Our all new platform for u3a websites will be called u3aSiteWorks.

Chosen by u3a volunteers, the name signals a new start for the web presence of u3as, while also acknowledging the current SiteBuilder platform and the amazing work of the volunteers to date.

The platform, which will be entirely built and supported by u3a volunteers with support from the Third Age Trust, will be launched in 2023. The process of websites being migrated from SiteBuilder to u3aSiteWorks is expected to take between 12 and 24 months. 

If you would like to get involved, you can volunteer to help with the programme by emailing
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Meeting

Our next Introduction to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Awareness presentation will be held on on Thursday 24 November, 10am. Book your place now.

Digital Strategy Update

The volunteers and staff members working on the Digital Strategy have now completed Phase 2.

Phase 2 built upon the discovery work done in Phase 1 which found out more about what digital we currently use and aspire to use. Phase 2 concluded with a report to The Third Age Trust’s Board.  We are now scoping out what Phase 3 will look like.   

Interim Chief Digital and Information Officer, Charles Tomlinson said, "This doesn’t mean that we will do nothing while a Digital Strategy is under development. There are many ‘digital’ improvements such as the development of u3aSiteWorks which are underway and continuing.  We intend to update you every step of the way so please look out for more communications early next year."

For any specific queries on this initiative please contact Clive Grace at
Your Stories

Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make Watford u3a's Study Group Fayre such a success. The happy buzz from all corners of the hall told its own story.  We have 42 active groups at the moment and several in the process of being revived. Our increased confidence was much in evidence as we met up with old friends.
Margaret, Chair of Watford u3a

Spotlight On

A woman in a blue and white striped T-shirt is standing against table with a blue tablecloth. On the table is a cake stand with cupcakes and a cake that has two '2' shaped candles in it. She is smiling at the camera.
Pauline, Belfast u3a
For Trustees Week, we spoke to u3a Trustees including Pauline, Chair of Belfast u3a

I retired in early 2014 and joined Belfast u3a later that year. In April 2018 I was invited to join the Committee and willingly put my name forward. I helped to update and adapt policies. In mid-2020, I was appointed Chair.

[A highlight has been] seeing the u3a through the pandemic – adapting to the online world and now returning to the physical world.
We upskilled rapidly, using emails through Beacon to communicate with our members, galloping into the online world of Zoom (which we had never heard of before April 2020), and ran monthly meetings, two AGMs, two Mince Pie Parties and Committee meetings online. Since January of this year, we are back to some kind of physical normality, and enjoying every minute of it, with membership growing all the time, and group activities thriving once again.

What more can I say? As Trustees, we have to admit that we run a charity – not an easy task. You need to be ready to work hard, to learn about new organisations, be prepared to upskill technologically, and be happy to work as a team member.

Read more from Pauline on our u3a blog, Sources.
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