Burnham u3a Archaeology Group discovered a medieval building. Read more in u3a news.


Dear <<First Name>>,

This edition of the newsletter reflects new beginnings and protecting our futures.

We have an introduction from our Chair, Liz Thackray and an invitation to contribute your ideas to the vision and strategy of the Trust.

Part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations include the opportunity to buy a tree as part of an anniversary wood. You can start buying your trees from today - so find out more in News from the Trust.

Of course we also have the many ideas and stories from our u3a members across the movement as members get back to business "almost as usual."

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

Growing the Future
Love of Poetry Connects the Movement
Meet new Chair, Liz Thackray
Your Stories

"Islington u3a's Petanque group have been very busy. We had an open women's tournament in June to celebrate International Women’s Day, are entering two teams in the London Cup, and have three teams entering a big Memorial triples competition in October. 

We are a group of about 34 members and I try to encourage those who want to enter into these open competitions.

We have recently linked up with another enthusiastic group from Crouch End u3a so we are widening the circle of Petanque and meeting new players."

- Mary, Islington u3a

News from the Trust

Growing the Future

As part of the u3a 40th anniversary, we are creating a u3a woodland. It demonstrates the power of the collective u3a voice and the contribution that we are making for future generations. 

Read more on our website and buy a tree or copse on the brand centre. 

See more on the 40th anniversary further down the newsletter.
Any u3a member can sign up directly to the brand centre. Register here.

The Power of your u3a Voice

Thank you so much for your incredible response to our call out for your experiences and opinions of the design of walking frames. All the feedback has been collated into a resource pack which will be used to shape the Design Age Institute's project.
Feed into the u3a Vision for the Future

u3a is developing its vision for the future and we want to hear from you. You can comment using the email address or by completing the online survey on our website

Can You Help?

The u3a movement is only possible because of the time and commitment that you give to help our many committees run smoothly. One of those key committees is the Third Age Trust’s governance committee, which is responsible for overseeing the legal responsibilities and duties of the Board and the legal documentation, policies and guidance needed for u3as. 

The committee meets on average 4-6 times a year and meetings are via Zoom. The Third Age Trust wish to encourage one or two more people to join the Governance Committee. If you have knowledge on the legal requirements for charities, risk management or auditing, either financial or quality systems please consider helping us by applying for the role.

Happy Birthday Newsletter Community 

This edition of the newsletter celebrates 4 years of our newsletter community. There are 35,000 of of us signed up. Please keep encouraging members to sign up on our website; let's try and reach 40,000 by the end of the year.

Tell us what you think of the newsletter, and share your stories with us.

 Bitesize Newsletter 

Click below for the bitesize newsletter, a version of a newsletter made to be printed off and shared with members who are not online.

Bitesize Newsletter

Learning News

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

u3a Radio Podcast is Back

The u3a radio podcast has returned after its summer break. This episode, our talented team speak to a u3a member who chose to follow in the steps of Victorian Journalist Nellie Bly, and to new Chair Liz Thackray amongst other fascinating u3a members.

Listen on our YouTube Channel now.

A Celebration of u3a Creative Writing Talent

This month, we announced the winners of the u3a creative writing competition at a virtual STAR awards ceremony. Over 350 members entered the competition and it was a testament of the talent within the u3a movement.

Congratulations to our three winners, Crediton u3a member Lynne, Peterborough u3a member Jane and Bognor Regis u3a member Karen, who read their stories out at the event. Read more about the event and read all the winning stories on our learning pages.

Also get involved with...

Share your artwork to the theme 'Autumn' and have a look at the gallery for 'Cities' as part of our Paint or Draw initiative; share your pet photos and stories; and show us what you have been upcycling this month.

Photo: Clitheroe u3a member Jacqui as part of the 'Paint or Draw' Cities theme.
Your Stories

"Quite a few of the groups in our u3a never stopped. We just adapted to Zoom and carried on. We had a gap in our network events, but soon got going again, bigger and better than ever. Best bit? Lots of best bits. Seeing all those faces was lovely. Welcoming back some members who could no longer get to face-to-face meetings. 

Many of us have learned new skills along the way, and been surprised by what we can do when we put our minds to it. My own u3a, and our network, will continue to use Zoom and to explore new ways of using it as face-to-face meetings become possible again."

- Avis, Reading u3a

National Events

See all these events and more on our National Events page.

Love of Poetry Connects the Movement

Thursday 7 October, 10am - Celebrating National Poetry Day
Thursday 7 October, 2pm - Anglo Saxon Poetry 

For National Poetry Day on 7 October, we have two special events. South Bucks u3a member Hilda will be reading poetry from across the four nations of the UK and Jane from Guildford u3a will be talking about Anglo-Saxon poetry. 

On our Sources blog this month, our speakers Hilda and Jane discuss what it is about poetry that compels them. Read it on our Sources blog and we would love to hear from you about why you love poetry.

Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens

Wednesday 29 September, 10.30am

u3a members will be joined by Dr Andrea Clarke, the lead curator of new British Library exhibition about Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. She will provide an insight into the creation of the show and discuss some of the key objects.

Photo: The British Library Board

The Climate Emergency: is COP 26 'Our Last Best Chance'?
Thursday 21 October, 10.30am

This is the second in our series of talks aimed at raising awareness about the climate emergency.

With the United Nations COP26 climate talks coming up, Brenda, a member of Trust u3a group Countdown to COP26, will talk about the conference, climate change and how we can make a difference. Read more on what can be done on our u3a blog, Sources.

Live Cookery Demonstration - Autumn Warmers
Monday 18 October, 10.30am 

Our vegan recipes this month include Herby Tofu Scramble, Wild Mushroom Pudding with onion gravy, and to finish, Strawberry Bakewell Tart.

This is one of our regular events with Vegetarian for Life in which Roving Chef Alex shows us how to make delicious vegan food.

Connect with Other Cycling Lovers

Wednesday 6 October, 2pm

u3a Cycling enthusiasts will be meeting together on 6 October to discuss the possible creation of a u3a cycling network and how it might be used. 

Photo: Judith, Haslemere u3a
u3a members may be interested in the Chelsea History Festival,  
taking place between 17 – 26 September 2021, both in Chelsea and online.

 Check out the full programme and book now. 

News from the Board

At the 2021 AGM, three new officers were elected: Vice Chair, Michaela Moody, Chair, Liz Thackray, Treasurer, Derek Harwood 

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Liz Thackray

"A lot has happened in the last month, with the AGM on 26 August and a complete change in the officers of the Board, an opportunity for the new Board to meet informally and the laying down the foundations for a number of new initiatives. We all appreciated the opportunity to meet in person, particularly perhaps those of us new to the Board.

Working groups have been established to consider and make recommendations on our future digital strategy and to review the governance of the Trust. Another group is developing the proposals shared by Jeff Carter following the formal business of the AGM - see top of newsletter to find out more about the u3a strategy. More of this in the coming months.

It can feel that the work undertaken by the Board is a million miles away from the activity of local u3as, but it is important we all feel part of a single movement. One way in which we can demonstrate this is in our planning for celebrating our 40th birthday next year and in planning for u3a day/week 2022. The past 18 months has been challenging, but these celebrations offer a focus for us to demonstrate our life and vitality and to attract new members.

Personally, I am looking forward to working with colleagues on the Board and members of staff as well as meeting u3a members both over the ether and in person."

Hear more from Liz Thackray in her interview in the September episode of the u3a radio podcast.
A recording of the AGM can be watched on our YouTube channel now.

u3a News

Croydon u3a Summer Programme 

Croydon u3a celebrated a Summer Programme in August which included 21 activities ranging from Bridge to Belly Dancing; Sailing to a Zoom Pamper Night; talks on Financial Planning and Geology.

London u3a Summer School

The London Region of u3as ran a Summer School with the theme, 'The Twenties.' Most of the programme was virtual, with a one-day event to encourage members to meet up again face-to-face. Read more on Sources.

Burnham u3a's Archaeological Dig

Burnham u3a’s Archaeological Group discovered a medieval building in the grounds of Southminster Hall. They had chosen the site after spotting an unusual crop mark on Google images. The site can be visited this weekend as part of Open Heritage Days. Find out more on our website.
2022 Diaries are available now - get them on the u3a brand centre.

u3a 40 Anniversary

Calling all u3a quilters

u3a quilters are creating quilt squares based on the theme, 'active ageing', for our u3a 40th anniversary quilt. Members have until 14 November to submit a photo of their square. 

Join our dedicated Facebook group, share photos of your process with us - and most importantly, submit your photos of your quilt square on our website.
Ray, Leader of the Stafford u3a Ukulele Group, on u3a day

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. 

Save the Date

The Barclays Digital sessions are restarting in September on Internet Basics, Digital Safety and Entertainment. Book your place.

ClickSilver Connections

ClickSilver Connections provides trained mentors to give u3a members one to one support. Mentors connect with you over the phone and weekly support is provided over four weeks and sessions last 30-60 minutes. For more information, please contact u3a office by calling 0208 466 6139 or emailing us. 

Advice on Grants

If you're a committee member at your local u3a and want to see what financial support is available, the grants page on the website, behind your member log in, has been updated.
Join Our Volunteering Team

We are looking for a volunteer to provide admin support to the u3a training workshop programme. 

We are looking for someone who enjoys lists, ensuring data accuracy, creating email communications and working with others and can pick up online systems quickly. You will play an important role, working with u3a members, trainers, Trustees and staff to provide u3a training that supports committees and members to successfully run their u3as.  For further information – please email 
Belfast u3a's Scramblers Walking Group climbing Slieve Binnan earlier this month.


Find this and more on Sources now and contact us with your stories.
This month on Sources, Jacqueline from Croydon u3a talks about a group formed to try new world cuisines together, Max from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee discusses what it means to be an ally and the Trust u3a Countdown to COP group explore what can be done about climate change. Read it all on Sources.
Do you want to make a difference?

Join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee's Coffee Morning on 19 October to find out about becoming a member of the committee. Find out more on our u3a blog, Sources.

Social Media News

Our u3a Facebook group, Keeping In Touch, continues to connect members as they share their resources and experiences with each other. This month, members shared their experiences of hybrid meetings and relaunches - including Wakefield u3a, above. Join our Facebook community.

Elsewhere on our social media platforms, we shared stories of groups connecting through Zoom, the most recent u3a eye photos from our u3a photographers and stories of u3a groups reconnecting face-to-face.
Click the buttons below to see our social media profiles and connect with us.
Your Stories

"I'm convener of Skiddaw u3a's German group and have been using Zoom since the first lockdown, which members are enjoying.

We have been concentrating on reading and translation together, but have also enjoyed chatting about aspects of life in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We're looking forward to meeting in person again soon, Covid willing!

- Alyson, Skiddaw u3a
Third Age Matters is out this month so look out for it. If you don't receive a copy, talk to your committee.
Approved by the u3a research committee

A PhD student within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton is conducting an online study which aims to investigate the effectiveness of an online training programme for drivers of Level 4 Automated Vehicles (also known as self-driving vehicles, autonomous vehicles or driverless vehicles). To find out more about the study and how to take part, email
Your Stories

"Though a belated u3a day, Orpington u3a put on a two day display in the outdoor market in the Walnuts Mall. Around 40 of our members shared the u3a message and its host of activities with visitors both local and from a distance.

This very friendly and informative event attracted many new members joining on the day. All-in all a great two day event blessed with good weather and a prelude to happier times in the future."

- William, Orpington u3a 

Media News

We always love hearing about local u3as' success at getting into the local media - if you have got into local media, please get in touch with us.

Evesham u3a member Sophie, an evacuee from war-torn Europe, featured in the Evesham Journal, the Evesham Observer and had interviews with BBC Hereford and Worcester.

A snippet of Sophie's interview:

My credo is where would we have met if it had not
been for the u3a.
Fun, friends and social interaction makes you feel good.
It is life enhancing."

Whitby Whalers u3a featured in the Whitby Gazette, in which they have a monthly half page feature. In this article, they discussed their groups getting back to face to face.

Burnham u3a's Archaeology Group featured in the Maldon and Burnham Standard, Maldon Nub News and other local websites.


Venie, former Chair of Causeway u3a, and David, former Chair of Foyle u3a, were invited to a garden Party at Hillsborough Castle where they had the opportunity to talk to HRH, Princess Anne about how both u3as have risen to the challenge of keeping members connected throughout the pandemic.

Sheffield u3a had a celebration at the Commemorative Garden at Whirlow Brook Park in Sheffield to mark 10 years of their work on the garden and the anniversary of the park being opened to the public in 1951.
Congratulations to Mawdesley u3a who celebrated their 15th anniversary with Pimms in the Park, left, and to Benfleet u3a, right, who celebrated their 10th anniversary this month with an afternoon tea overlooking Benfleet Creek. The organiser, Maria, says "Benfleet u3a continues to flourish from that little acorn back in June 2011 to the lovely full grown tree that it has become, with 38 groups.'
Your Stories

"Eithne, one of our 10 strong creative writing group, and a winner of a short story competition, had an idea that would keep us ‘on the go.’  Why not start a joint story and we all agreed.

So Eithne started off  the first joint story and the sequence that followed was from names drawn from a hat with a co-ordinator sending her version to the next person.

In memory of Eithne, we have carried on with her idea and we are now on our 10th joint effort.

- Val, Dyfi u3a
Read the story on Sources

Spotlight On:

Paul, Carlton & Gedling u3a

pictured here with his u3a cycling group, Paul is the man kneeling

I chair the u3a’s Recruitment Working Group, which is a national u3a working group set up to support, inspire, enthuse and encourage u3as to recruit new members. 
We are all active in our own u3as and regions and we also work closely with a group of over 60 u3as – Pathfinder  u3as – who are trialling different ways of attracting new members.

I became involved with this project as I am very active as a leader of six groups in my own Carlton and Gedling u3a and in our Nottinghamshire Network of u3as. I wanted to assist the movement at national level as well. I get really excited and enthusiastic working with such a talented and energetic group of u3a members in the Working Group and in the Pathfinder u3as. 

Together with the Pathfinder group we have developed a Retention and recruitment toolkit, which is available on the u3a website, or you can find it by searching u3a recruit on Google. This has 35 tools, including a checklist, guides, videos and presentations. There are lots and lots of concrete examples, stories and mini case studies to illustrate the tools and share effective practice between u3as.  

This may sound like a rather big toolkit, but every u3a is different . The toolkit  offers something for all, where you can choose the tools which are best for your own u3a. 
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