Ela Watts is photographed here producing content for u3a Radio. Read more in the Learning Section.


Dear <<First Name>>,

This newsletter is a testament to how u3as are beating Covid-19 and keeping the u3a spirit alive. We are working through all of the guidance from governments and assemblies to keep members safe and u3a active whether meeting in person or virtually.

Together we are all determined to continue to build our u3a community and
we need each member and each u3a as never before. We will use the experiences of lockdown to make the autumn and winter months the best they can be. All of us in the movement, u3as and the Trust, have learned to adapt to keep the "u3a-way " alive.

As we look to the months ahead we  will make use of what we have learned this year to make the most of our restricted covid-secure  "in person meeting time", and use our new skills to meet virtually, or by phone or through pen-pals too. Here at the Trust (as well as our regular services) we are working with volunteers across the movement to plan autumn and winter programmes for u3a's and their members.

Keep sending us your ideas and what you are enjoying and planning locally too. Nothing will stop the u3as from thriving, neither Covid-19 nor winter time.
The u3as will continue Learning, laughing and living wherever they are and whatever they do.

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

u3a Radio
Member-led Events
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Latest Covid-19 Advice

Latest Guidance as it relates to u3a

Please see below for the latest Government guidance as it relates to u3a.
Guidance as it relates to u3as in England
Guidance as it relates to u3as in Wales
Guidance as it relates to u3as in Scotland
Guidance as it relates to u3as in Northern Ireland

Bitesize Newsletter

Download the Bitesize newsletter below, a shorter printable version of the newsletter which you can send to u3a friends not on email.
Bitesize Newsletter

News from The Trust

Join our first ever virtual AGM on 29 September - guests are welcome. 

More details can be found here.

u3a Brand Refresh is Coming

Over the last year we have embarked on a process of refreshing our u3a brand so that it better reflects the vibrancy, connection, and learning that takes place every day in this amazing movement.  

We've spoken to many members and, thanks to your input and support, we are now in a position to launch the new look at this year’s AGM on
29 September.

From 5 October, we will have a new brand shop where you can access new brand materials as they become available.

Keep an eye on our website for more details. If you would like to be part of the official launch, please do join us at the AGM where it will be unveiled once voting has finished. 

Let's Change the Narrative about Older People

Have you ever heard someone in their third age being patronised by the language used towards them? Perhaps you don’t feel like an ‘old dear’ or aren’t too keen on anyone other than your grandchildren referring to you as ‘grandad’?

In early October, we’ll be launching a media campaign to help tackle some of these negative perceptions. The news coverage will be centred on the results of a survey (below) and we need your help.    Thank you for taking the time on this -  it is very appreciated.
Help us by filling out this poll
Unless you specifically request to share your details, all of your answers will remain anonymous and your answers could help us build a case to begin redressing the balance on many of society’s views towards those who are retired.

u3a Recruitment Campaign

"Over 50 u3as have joined the recruitment campaign mentioned in the last National Newsletter. Kick off meetings are taking place via Zoom in the next couple of weeks and the recruitment toolkit version 1.0 will be ready to pilot and test at the beginning of October.

We plan to start a new phase for trailblazing u3as early in the new year, to pilot using version 2.0 of the toolkit and building on the lessons learned from the pathfinders."

Paul Martinez, Chair of the Recruitment Working Group
Top Tip for Recruiting New Members

Update your website.

If someone googles an interest group at your u3a, Google will take them straight to that page on your website.

Every page on your website needs to be up to date for both existing members and any prospective members.
Your Stories

"Thank you for this newsletter on top of the one I get from Merseyside u3a. It has been a lifeline for me being on my own and having to shield.

I am so glad I joined the u3a when I retired as it is not just about learning and having fun but also about fellowship and friendship. 

I have been able to keep my Russian language and culture class going via zoom which has been wonderful. We are a small group and have continued all Summer and will keep going until we can meet up in person.

It has been good for me to focus on something rather than just sit alone."

-    Jannice, Merseyside u3a


u3a Radio is coming 

Tune in to our first ever u3a radio podcast. This will be broadcast via the u3a YouTube channel straight after the AGM on Tuesday 29 September. This first in a series of broadcasts will feature contributions from group leaders and key figures in the u3a movement and will explore the theme of u3a Looking Forward. 

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel now and click the bell to be notified when the first video goes up.

Do you think your story might be of interest? Get in touch.

Join our Learning Initiatives

Ideas to Keep Learning

Our Ideas to Keep Learning Bulletins are full of suggestions from u3as, please keep checking this page for new learning updates.

Please send your ideas on ways to keep learning to Janine Aldridge, Learning Officer,  so that we can share with others across the movement. 
Creative Covid Collaboration

u3a members have been creating squares based on their u3a experiences - like this square created by Rutland u3a's wine tasting group.

Make a square from any material and submit a picture of it via our online form by 30 November. Find out more.

Calling All Artists

The u3a Virtual Choir need visuals to accompany their song on a YouTube video. The song is called 'Savannah' so any artistic interpretation of this theme, be it painting, drawing or photos, would be welcome.
Please send in your artwork by 30 September, stating how you would like to be credited.  
Maths Week 2020

We are planning a series of online events to celebrate Maths Week 2020. These will be fun, interactive and cater to all levels of maths abilities and interests.
Maths Week Online Events

Monday 9 November 2020, 2pm to 3.30pm
An online talk by Rob Eastaway, author of Maths on the Back of an Envelope followed by an interactive question and answer session. 

Wednesday 11 November 2020, 2pm to 3pm
An interactive event solving maths puzzles for a range of abilities. 

Friday 13 November 2020, 2pm to 3pm
A fun session of maths games including numerical quizzes and tasks. 

These events will be held on Zoom. Further details about Maths Week and how to book will follow. In the meantime try out some of our maths challenge puzzles.
Did you know?

You can now order your u3a diaries from the national website.

The diaries are in packs of five as we are unable to supply single diaries at this time due to staff working remotely. 


u3a News

Guildford u3a's Amazing Fundraising

Guildford u3a have raised over £1500 for its u3a funds.  After finding itself in a difficult financial position last year, and at the request of some of its members, a voluntary donation box was added to the membership form. Donations now stand in excess of £1,500, ranging from £2 to £250 individually.
Guernsey and Isle of Man u3a Play Ukelele Together

Using the air bridge between Isle of Man and Guernsey, Isle of Man u3a's Ukulele Group were visited by two members of the Guernsey Ukulele Group in August.
Ian, Martin, Mike, Marion and Margaret are members of Dronfield and District u3a's Dry Walling Group who have started to meet again. 

Bolton u3a Feature in Online Festival

Bolton u3a's Stitch and Craft group gave a talk at an online festival about the  Worktown project.
They spoke about their project to recreate an authentic 1930s Washing Line and Toy Box. The project, which you can read more about on Sources, was part of a collaboration with Bolton University. 

Felt Making Back In Business

Crouch End and District u3a’s Felt Making group has been meeting outside since groups of up to six people have been able to meet again.
Group convenor Jacqui said, ‘Initially I planned a couple of sessions but the response was so good that I ended up doing four, accommodating a total of 20 people, some of whom had never done any felting at all! ” Read more on Sources.
This photo of Croydon u3a's Yoga group was taken prior to the rule of six Government Guidance.
Your Stories

"Our small Creative Writing Group has been active during lockdown.  We write individual stories to monthly topics that we then discuss on Zoom. On WhatsApp, a member starts a new story in any topic or style. The story continues with each member adding more details, characters and expanding the plot.

We examine our successes or failures and then start all over again.  It’s a real challenge to keep up with the discipline, maintain the style and remember who’s who.  But it’s been such fun." 

- Sue, Aughton and Ormskirk u3a

News From The Board

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Ian McCannah

"This month, I enjoyed going to the award ceremony for the National u3a Creative Writing 2020 Competition. Of 342 entries, there were thirteen regional winners and the three winners read out their stories to an audience of u3a members.

The entries show the depth of creative writing skills across the movement. You too can read the winning story, ‘The Clock’ by Rosemary Burton of Oxford u3a, in the November issue of TAM or on the u3a website.
Plans are in place for the Trust's AGM on 29 September. It will be a virtual meeting and it is hoping that this will allow many more members to attend.

It will certainly be a very different experience for all those involved. I am sure that there will be lessons to be learnt for future Trust AGM's leading to broader member involvement in the workings of the Trust."
Ashingdon and Rochford u3a's knit and natter group has knitting these hats for shoeboxes both pre and during lockdown. The aim is to knit 100.

Volunteer News

Hybrid Groups

Please tell us if you are running hybrid groups, taking part in them or have seen them in action.

As part of the u3a: Looking Forward working group we will be compiling a repository of Hybrid models for Interest group Leaders and convenors to explore and consider.

Please share with us your ideas, thoughts and observations by dropping us an email.

Zoom Tutorials

We continue to run Zoom tutorials every week. Register here.  

The tutorials we are running are Zoom for Group Leaders, Zoom for Hosting Group Meetings, and Introduction to Zoom. Since the start of the pandemic, we have had over 1000 participants, being supported by u3a Trust volunteers.    

We now have a video on our Youtube Channel how to use the technology to run AGMs and large meetings.

We would like to thank Liz, Nigel and Maggy for all their hard work in putting the meetings together. 

National Office Online Video Resources

We are running Q&A Discussions on 28 September. The aim of the discussion is to help current or prospective Trustee/ Committee members and to answer any questions you will have for the Trainers. We aim for the sessions to be interactive and a space to learn from each other.

•    Trustee Induction Q&A Discussion   10:30-11:30  to book, please register here.
•    GDPR Q&A Discussion   11:45-12:45 to book , please register here.
National Office online video resources for members 

Trustee Induction

See them on our Running your u3a playlist on our YouTube Channel, we will be adding more, so please do watch this space. 
Your Stories

We were contacted by a member, Jeannie, about the Freedom to Pay campaign which defends people’s right to use cash. This might be something other members are passionate about too – if you are, you can get involved with the Freedom to Pay Campaign here.

Finance News

Finance Manager, Kevin Traynor

Scams and Fraud

Scams and phishing continue to be a regular nuisance in our personal and business lives.  If you ever need advice urgently then speak to your bank.  They are there to help and will never ask you to reveal your passwords or the like.
This is a helpful link for staying aware of the latest scans and fraud attempts. This is also interesting.
Online banking

Do you already to use online banking at your u3a and would you be able to co-ordinate responses from other u3as?  I'm looking for volunteers to work with the Finance Team and each of the main banks to help other u3as move online. Please contact me if you are interested.

Shared Learning Projects

1901 Postal Pensioners

Take part in a new project looking into the health of Postal Workers in 1901. Find out more about the project here.

The Pitman Project

Do you know Pitman shorthand? Get involved with a project to transcribe the journals of Clyde Sanger, The Guardian's first Africa Correspondent. 

Read more on our website or contact Jennifer Simpson, Shared Learning Projects Coordinator, for more details.

u3as in the Media 

A quilt created by Plymstock & District u3a’s Craft Group featured in Songs of Praise on Sunday 13 September.

The quilt, which commemorated the voyage of the Mayflower, featured in the Mayflower 400 Quilt exhibition held at the Church of St. Andrew in Plymouth. It was one of seven to be featured on Songs of Praise. The clip can be seen here (16 minutes in.)

u3a also featured in the letters section of the metro on 17 September as someone suggested it as a way to combat loneliness.

Member-Led Events

We're so lucky to have so many talented members who can share their expertise with others, as demonstrated in two upcoming events.

'Staying Safe Online': An Event about Cyber Security

Want to know the steps you can take to stay safe online? Join us on Thursday 24 September where Barry Linton of Thorpe Bay u3a will be sharing his popular presentation on Cyber Security which he created in liaison with Essex Police. Register here.

An Exploration in History - The Outback 

On Thursday 8 October, Michael A'Bear will take u3a members on a journey into the Australian outback looking at the transcontinental journey from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1860 by Burke and Wills. Find out more and register here.

Social Media

The Keeping In Touch Facebook community is continuing to be a place where members can share positive things going on in their lives as well as discuss situations in their own u3a, learning from each others' expertise.

Join the group here.
Social media is a great way to keep updated with the u3a movement. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Your Stories

"u3a members in Whitby have been busy during lockdown and over the summer months. Our members were regularly updated through a 15 page newsletter and Zoom groups included anything from Egyptology to Philosophy and Jazz appreciation to Travel. 

A popular Weekenders group, walking and kite flying groups are now all out and meeting again. 

There are several irons in the fire for the coming weeks, including a series of talks on Captain Cook and a possible new World Cinema group."

- Helen, Whitby u3a


Sherburn & Villages u3a's garden visits group has started meeting again.
See Sources for stories on Shared Learning Projects, u3as slowly meeting again and how u3as have adapted to being online.

Third Age Matters

Festive Submissions

What plans do you have for winter and the festive season?

Perhaps you will be making festive crafts or meeting up on Zoom for a glass of mulled wine? Or planning socially distanced wintry walks? Do you have a favourite festive cocktail recipe to share or a favourite festive book or film to while away those cold, dark, wintery afternoons?

TAM is looking for festive stories, tips and ideas to share for the Winter issue, which is out in November. Please email your stories by 30 September to the editor.

International News

"The International Committee are concentrating on establishing contact details  links with similar senior groups ‘sur le continent’ who wish to liaise virtually or email  with our members to improve their language skills, and vice versa. 

One positive side of Covid-19 has been that third agers across Europe and worldwide have adapted to virtual meetings, and it is great to be able to talk with our neighbours in Europe about how they are all dealing with lockdown and its various complications.

See a full update from the International Committee on Sources."

Auriol Ainley, International Committee Chair
Your Stories

Congratulations to Jean from Norfolk u3a who has just stepped down as Group Contact for the Social History group in Fakenham after almost 30 years in the role, having set it up in 1991.

When asked what kept her engaged so long, Jean said, Doing things I’ve enjoyed. u3a gave me a purpose and structure to life after my husband died when I was alone. I’ve enjoyed it so much and had fun learning new things. Being Group Contact never felt like a chore, it was just enjoyable.”  

The Scotland u3a Withdrawing Competition has announced its winner - Lindsay Hewitt. See more on our website.

Thank You and Congratulations

After putting a call out in the August National Newsletter for anyone who wanted to thank members of their u3a, we were inundated.

Thank you to everyone who has helped their u3a keep going in the last couple of months.

Go to Sources for the full story.
Is there anyone in your u3a who you would like to thank? Send us an email at

In Focus

John Suggett, Calverton u3a

Throughout lockdown, I’ve been creating ‘pandemic paintings’. This started when I had to pick up some medication.  I knew I would have to queue and so I took my sketchbook.
The sketch of the queue turned into the first of a massive burst of paintings. I wasn’t painting anything else. Ideas came in early hours of the morning and I was inspired by current events, adding newspaper cuttings to the paintings.

There are 17 in total, including one of my Song and Story u3a group, which has been meeting outside the last couple of months. A friend suggested turning these pictures into a YouTube video and I've had really positive responses.
Would you like to share your u3a experience, especially over the last few months? Please get in touch.
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