u3a groups have been meeting again, within Covid guidance, including Evesham u3a's Urban Sketching group. 


Dear <<First Name>>,

It is that time of year when the sun is shining and pandemic restrictions are lifted to a large extent.

It is great to see so many members out and about, resuming u3a life, and meeting each other again in a careful and considered way.

Whilst all of us have learned and adapted to living and meeting online which is part of our future, it is also a joy to be able to see members actually being able to meet again in person. 

Wishing you all a happy and sunny August.

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

Knitted Postbox Toppers
Goodbye from u3a Chair Ian
Read about Caldicot & District u3a's quilt group
Your Stories

"The 'Grow it from Home' group is a virtual gardening group that started in the the first lockdown. From complete novices, planting their first seeds to stalwart horticulturalists2, the group appealed to a variety of members.  Without much planning or agenda each week we met and chatted, asked questions, solved problems and managed to wile away an hour or so while getting the necessary help or encouragement to enjoy their garden for another week.

To celebrate something good that came out of 2020 and the Pandemic, we had a face to face meeting in August 2021 and a celebratory cake."

- Elaine, Canvey Island u3a 

News from the Trust

Members Meet In Person

Throughout the newsletter, you'll see that many of you are really enthusiastic about getting back to some face-to-face meeting again. You can find all the most up to date advice about how to do this safely on our website. Find more advice news further down the newsletter.

Photo credit: Burton on Trent u3a Social Cycling Group

Help Develop our Digital Strategy 

The Third Age Trust is developing a Digital Strategy to help better support local u3as and the u3a movement as a whole. This project, which will include Beacon and upgrading the Trust's systems, is being developed by u3a volunteers. If you have digital strategy experience, we would love to hear from you by 30 September.

You can also read more detail about this in September's edition of Third Age Matters - see more on TAM further down the newsletter.

 Bitesize Newsletter - This Month Even Longer

Thank you for your continued feedback on the bitesize newsletter - we know you want to see even more stories and content. In response, this month is an extended edition.

Bitesize Newsletter

u3a News

Caldicot Flower Bomb

Caldicot & District u3a's Handicraft group have brought some joy to their town with knitted flowers which they displayed around the local area. They had initially created the flowers for National Yarnbombing Day in June and added more this month.

Postbox Makeovers 

A group including Buxton u3a members crocheted and knitted postbox toppers for their local area. u3a member, Sue, designed the themes - post people, garden, underwater and Frozen - and created the four bases before others helped with the decorations. The project took a total of four weeks. Sue says, 'it has created a lot of interest locally and really brightened up my town of Buxton.'
Your Stories

"Branston & District u3a held their first face to face monthly meeting since the beginning of the pandemic this month. It was run as a hybrid meeting with a speaker via Zoom. 36 members and 7 visitors joined us in the hall for refreshments and others logged in to the meeting via the comfort of their own homes. 

After this, we decided to invite the potential members to an open, informal, coffee afternoon. This was held yesterday and as a first venture was very successful. We have gained 6 new members, and 2 further invitees have committed to joining at our next meeting.

Janet, Branston and District u3a

Learning News

Below is a snapshot of the learning initiatives on our website that members can get involved with.

Turn The Old to Something New

Our Upcycle Your Wardrobe continues as members share the makeovers they've given to their clothes.

Janet from Sarum u3a transformed this dress into a pair of trousers and says, '
I had to incorporate some seams which provided shaping on the original dress but there was enough fabric for these rather roomy, easy to wear cotton trousers. Ideal for summer." Have you upcycled anything recently? We would love to see.

Laugh Your Way to Fitness

Get fit by laughing with our new series of laughter yoga workshops run by Judith from Edinburgh u3a.

Judith says, "Laughter yoga is a great way of enhancing health and wellbeing while having fun.  It is a combination of deep breathing techniques and playful laughter exercises.  There are no jokes, no comedy and no humour - and you don’t have to feel like laughing when you start." Book your place now on our online events page. See more events below.

National Events

You can find lots of events on our online events page. Here is a sample:

Mathematical Surprises: A Curious Maths Quiz
Thursday 9 September, 2pm

We're joined once again by author and mathematician Rob Eastaway. 
When intuition doesn’t work it can go spectacularly wrong. Puzzle expert and mathematician Rob Eastaway reveals some of his favourite examples, including several that relate to familiar, everyday situations, and explains why mathematicians so often seem to delight in the counter intuitive.
Your Stories

"Aylsham & District u3a celebrated our relaunch with a BBQ party at a nearby farm and camping site on 20 July. A great way to relaunch.

Six days later we held our first monthly meeting since the start of the pandemic in our Town Hall. This proved very successful with about 45 members attending and enjoying an interesting speaker talking about ‘Mother mo’n’ and the lunar landings. We ended this with refreshments using disposable cups and wrapped biscuits. We now look forward to our August meeting."

- Jean, Aylsham u3a

Other Events

u3a Science Network Meeting
14 October 10.30-3pm

Book your place on the next u3a Science Network virtual meeting. There are three presentations - more details of which can be found on the u3a science network website where you can also book.

West Midlands u3a Philosophy Week

6 - 10 September

The West Midlands are running a philosophy week to 'Restart the Great Conversation'.
You can find the programme on the West Midlands u3a website and register by emailing

Exploring World Faiths Events

The u3a Subject Adviser for Exploring World Faiths, Peter, is running three Zoom sessions on World Faiths this autumn. Find out more and the Zoom links on Peter's Subject Advice Page, where you can also send him any queries.
ukelele loving u3a members might be interested in the Margate Ukelele Festival, taking place on Saturday 2 October from 12-9.30pm. Find out more on their website.

News from the Board

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Ian McCannah

"The Trust Board has a new look. Congratulations to Liz Thackray, our new Chair-elect, together with Michaela Moody, Vice Chair, and Derek Harwood, Treasurer. In addition to three new Officers, Sue Shannon-Jones is the new Trustee for Wales and John Bent and Jean Hogg have been elected for a further year respectively in London and the East Midlands.

This is my last Newsletter item and it has certainly been an interesting three years, particularly since COVID-19 reached our shores. During the last eighteen months one aspect of the u3a movement has become very apparent - the depth of experience and energy within its membership. These assets have ensured that the movement has risen to the many challenges of the pandemic and is well positioned to resume activity in the autumn.

My best wishes go to the new Officers, Board Members, Sam and the u3a Office staff as they continue to provide advice and support for a unique movement that does much to enhance the lives of so many in their retirement. Final thanks go to all of you who are reading this newsletter and the wider membership. Regular contact with the grass roots of the movement has been one of the most satisfying and informative aspects of my time as your Chair.

I look forward to following u3a developments after the AGM - whilst, at the same time, trying to improve my golf handicap!"
If you're a committee member and want to attend the AGM 2021 in-person, there are still spaces available? Book your place now.
Your Stories

"We had an open meeting on Tuesday, which we counted as our u3a day. It was advertised on our website and our page in the Community News, a monthly publication with a wide readership locally.

Group contacts were asked to bring things along to advertise their activities, bunting was bought, balloons donated and refreshments organised. The Town Crier, who co-incidentally wears blue with a yellow trim, agreed to shout out for us along the promenade.

Well, we were overwhelmed- we had a total of ninety-seven (yes, 97) people through the door, including sixteen people who are new to the area and who joined us. All in all we had a fantastic morning."

- Jane, Hornsea u3a


Find this and more on Sources now and contact us with your stories.

Sources is the u3a learning blog for the movement. It runs year-round with stories from members about their u3a groups and updates about national projects.
"It’s been a great adventure in creativity and design, but more than that it’s been a supportive process during difficult, lockdown times. Our zoom sessions have helped us maintain our creativity, and support for each person."
This month on Sources, Exmouth & District u3a talk about how their quilting group have kept them connected, creating several collaborative quilts together whilst apart during lockdowns, including the above bookshelf quilt. Michaela gives an update of the High Street Project and Downe u3a discuss how a group set up in lockdown helped open their eyes to the amazing stories in their local area.

Social Media News

On social media this month, members have been sharing photos of their meetings and discussing how they're going about restarting face to face groups on our u3a Keeping In Touch group

On our other social media platforms, we've shared pet pictures, groups meeting again and updates on learning initiatives. We always want to hear from you - so tag us in your photos on social media to be part of the conversation.
Click the buttons below to see our social media profiles and follow us.
Your Stories

"Cambourne and district u3a advertised throughout the district on u3a day for our Open day event on 2 July. We had a digital rolling record of past and future speakers and a display of our interest groups. We had 16 new people register interest in joining. It was good to chat."

Kathleen, Cambourne and District u3a

Third Age Matters

The Autumn issue of  our members' magazine, Third Age Matters is out next month, and full of interesting features and interviews as always.

It features u3a member and Paralympian Rosalinda Hardman, who defied prejudice to swim the Channel and Loch Ness, breaking world records along the way.

Also in next month's issue, an interview with Esme Young. She’s lived in a squat, launched her own fashion label at 21 and is now a judge on the Great British Sewing Bee. Read about Esme Young’s fascinating life living in artsy Camden in the 1970s.
If you are not currently receiving Third Age Matters, talk to your local u3a committee, or if you have any further questions, get in touch with us.

Photo credit: Solent News
Prostate Cancer Research is launching a free webinar series this month on 'Living Well with Prostate Cancer.' Find out more about the talks and register on their website.

u3a 40 Anniversary

Update from Chair of the Anniversary Working Group, Michaela

u3a is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022, which will be an opportunity for the movement to celebrate the last forty years whilst looking forward to the next forty.

Michaela, Chair of the Anniversary Working Group, says, "We are currently planning four national events: a roundtable discussion, an intergenerational debate, officially launching an interactive database for the u3a High Street Project and a u3a anniversary quilt created by members - which you can enter now."

Keep updated on the 40th anniversary project on our website.
Research News 

All the following research requests have been approved by the u3a research committee.
  • A counselling psychologist in training at University of East London is conducting qualitative research on older adults' subjective experiences of worry.  She wants to speak to people who are 65 and older and who worry about a number of different things and did so prior to Covid-19. To find out more contact Andrea.
  • A Masters student studying audiology at the University College London, is seeking to understand how listening abilities change during healthy aging. She seek to recruit participants over the age of 60, for an online study, which takes about 40 minutes and can be conducted at any time. Contact Anita. 
"We had a lovely walk with the 5 mile walking group this week around the Lickey hills in Birmingham. Wonderful views and great company. So good to be out in fresh air and catching up with everyone‘s news again."

- Barbara, Moseley and Kings Heath u3a

Advice News

We are running tutorials for any u3a members who feel they could benefit from digital support. Find these on our online tutorials page. 
Digital Wings Friday is a new 30 minute session to introduce members to the Barclays free learning platform. Kirsty from Barclays will explain how to access it and how to find the modules you’ll find most useful in building your tech confidence. 

The Barclays Digital Sessions on Internet Basics, Digital Safety and Entertainment will restart in September. 

Book your place on Learn How to use Zoom on a Tablet (iPad or Android.) This is aimed at novices to gain confidence is using Zoom. 
Share your paintings and drawings with us as part of the Paint or Draw learning initiative. Rainy Loch Melfort captured by Laurie of Banbury u3a.

Media News

Penrith and North Lakes u3a member Denise featured on BBC Radio 2's show Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Tuesday 13 July. He played her favourite songs and read out a paragraph about her life.
The Guardian has been running a series of articles about members who have changed their life after 60. u3a members have amazing experiences of positive later life - if you have a story to share, share it with the Guardian and let us know.

Community Connections

u3a in Kennet features in a video with housing organisation, Lifestory.
Your Stories

Newbury u3a member Charles Lansley discovered a manuscript written by his late father about his childhood living in the Isle of Wight in the 1920s. After research into village life, Charles published the book, 'Pon My Puff' which is available to buy on 

- Charles, Newbury u3a

You can share your writing stories and any books you've written on our u3a In My Own Write Facebook group.


Saxilby u3a celebrated their 10th anniversary this month with a party and four cakes.  Chair of Saxilby u3a, Ann, said, 'After the year we've had it was greatly appreciated by all 90 members who attended. The most important part of the day was just being together again in a safe environment."
Congratulations to Aylsham & District u3a member Jeannette who won first prize in the King Lear competition for creative writing by the over 55's with her story 'Apple Blossom.' She entered after seeing the competition in u3a members' magazine, Third Age Matters.

In Focus

Kate, Barnsley u3a

I have been a member of u3a for a number of years, and during COVID nearly lived on Zoom. I saw an advertisement for walking cricket so I braved it and telephoned Mac, who spearheads walking cricket in u3a. He assured me that I could come along and give it a go.

Up to this point, I had never touched a cricket ball or bat in my life, never mind taking part in a game, so this was a leap of faith on my part. So, that fateful Wednesday, with some trepidation, I approached the venue for my first game. 
The welcome from the other players was so reassuring that any qualms I had were beginning to fade. The encouragement and advice offered was so helpful and I soon could hold the correct end of the bat!

I am still learning, but improving all the time. The feeling of accomplishment and increasing confidence in my physical ability boosts my morale and overall feeling of wellbeing. My bowling has a long way to go, and locally born England women’s cricketer Katherine Brunt has little to fear, but I am improving every game. At 78, I am enthused to try more and more. I now find myself watching cricket on TV and later this month, will be at Headingley for a game.

Walking cricket has improved my mood and I find myself feeling better about myself.  I am not a “shrinking violet” and have been a secondary school teacher, and a University Lecturer, but walking cricket has changed my outlook on life and myself. Last week I actually played for Barnsley u3a against Huddersfield. “How’s That” for an achievement!!
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