The u3a South East Forum recently held their Summer School this month. Read the highlights on our Sources blog.


Dear <<First Name>>,

Many of us have certainly experienced very different summer weather to an average British summer - but as usual u3as are making the most of every day. u3as are experts at changing and adapting and embracing new opportunities and this is the prevailing theme in this newsletter. We will be making the most of every minute.

Some members have called this the renaissance period or the reformation period, even the re-emergence period, following the last two challenging years. The energy is back and the Trust, u3as, volunteers and staff are ready to embark on this new stage of our journey.

We are in this together and together we will continue to embrace change and live u3a life to the full.

With very best wishes
Sam Mauger
CEO of the Third Age Trust
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In this issue...

What kind of u3a do you want to see in the future?
Burnham u3a in The Express
u3a office in focus - meet the Policy Officer

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News from the Trust

What kind of u3a do we want to see in the future?

A message from Chair, Liz Thackray;

Last autumn the u3a initiated a strategy review focusing on the future of the u3a – it’s image and direction of development. We know our membership took a hit during the pandemic but the good news is that many u3as are growing again.

If we want a growing and thriving movement that is fit for the future and relevant to those entering their third age, we need to ensure the wider movement is properly supported financially – and that means ensuring the national u3a is properly funded.

Increasing the membership subscription is something nobody really wants to do, especially at a time when we are all facing increasing costs that are putting pressure on all our purses.

The subscription paid by u3as to the Trust has always been contentious. Unlike most similar voluntary organisations, the u3a does not have the power to impose subscription increases on members. The members decide on any increases – and there is a resolution going to the AGM proposing an increase in the membership subscription paid by u3as to the Trust.
Liz Thackray, Chair of the Third Age Trust, and Eric Midwinter, founder of the u3a movement, in conversation
As Eric Midwinter, one of the founders of the u3a movement in the UK, wrote many years ago, imposing increases is not the u3a way: “True to its belief in the primacy of the local unit, the national u3a had never for a moment considered that over-mighty route.” He went on to quote a colleague:  “…it is one thing to be locally autonomous. It is another if autonomy is claimed in order to imply (local u3as) can feel free of any obligation to the larger movement.”

So, what kind of u3a do we want to see in the future and are we prepared to pay to make it happen?
Join us to find out more

There will be Trustee-led presentations on the proposed resolutions above and the thinking behind them. You will be invited to email questions or comments after the event to Please register to attend by clicking the links below.

Thursday 28 July, 10.30am
Wednesday 3 August, 10.30am
Monday 15 August, 10.30am
Your Stories

I am presently visiting my family in Ontario, Canada. I miss my friends from my local u3a in Seaton, but they kindly keep in touch.

I am kept busy in my daughter's lovely garden and in writing up my memoirs. Today, I am surrounded by black and grey squirrels, a variety of birds and an occasional rabbit and  chipmunk.

I really enjoy receiving the u3a newsletters and reading about the activities of members living in areas such as the north of England, where I was born and which I remember so well.

Sylvia, Seaton u3a
Where are you reading your u3a newsletter? Let us know.

Media News

Burnham u3a, and their archaeological discovery of a medieval palace, featured in The Express this month.
There have been over 100 mentions of u3a in the media since our last newsletter.

Nationally this month we had a double page feature in the leading independent monthly magazine for men and women over 50 - Choice Magazine as well as articles in Dignity Magazine and the British Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. 
Local highlights include Paisley & District u3a's Picnic in the Park, pictured, which featured in the Paisley Daily Express.

Lynne from Harrow u3a spoke all about u3a in an interview with Eddie Nestor on Radio London. You can listen to that on the Harrow u3a website.

Has your u3a had press success? Get in touch.

u3a News

Every newsletter, we share news from your u3as. Whatever you're doing, we want to know about it - get in touch.

The Art of Working Together

Long Eaton & District u3a's Art Group created a collage of watercolours based on a view of Matlock. There was a lot of laughter as members worked together to make their sections - the u3a way.
Chipping Norton u3a Craft Group created their own quilt for the u3a 40th Anniversary. Each Crafter made one section, illustrating their interest groups.

u3a and TfL Shared Learning Project Nominated for an Award

u3a members from across the UK have been working with TfL’s Corporate Archives to develop and deliver the Revealing the Past Minutes Transcription and Indexing Project. The project has been nominated for the Record Keeping Project of the Year Award. Read more on our website.

Social Media 

Social Media Post of the Month - Ilkley & District u3a

📷 On 1 June our Photography for Beginners Group held an exhibition of photos, with votes cast for the best picture 

📷 Most of the group had little or no experience of photography when they started 

📷 They've made great progress!


Ilkley u3a showcased photos from their Photography for Beginners group (by members Paul and Kay) on their Twitter page. 
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.
When visiting Eccles Library, Salford member Margaret took this lovely photo of a quilt made by Salford u3a Craft Group.

Learning News

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

What have you seen in nature recently?

Our learning initiative, Found In Nature, celebrates the incredible things seen in the natural world. Get involved on our website.

Photos: Lorraine of Melbourne Area Derby u3a, James of Lymm Thelwall u3a who took the photo on a u3a Wellbeing Birdwatching group outing.
In this episode, Tricia from Ashbourne u3a talks about dancing with her u3a disco group, Keith from Gloucester & District u3a discusses robot programming, and Ken from Havant u3a's Bus Pass group shares the places the group has explored.

Bridge Network 

We have a new Subject Network to connect members who love bridge. You can find Bridge partners to play with online, discover online u3a tournaments and keep updated with bridge news. Find out more on the Subject Network page.
Did you know that the Romans started building Hadrian’s Wall 1900 years ago?

Wouldn't it be amazing if the u3a movement could play a role in the history of the Wall?  A team of trustees and volunteers are planning a special day, probably in Spring 2023, which could feature activities from wide ranging groups across the movement. We would love to hear from any u3a groups who might be interested - and we know many of you are already involved in activities relating to Hadrian's Wall. Please 
contact trustee, Ann Keating, before the end of August.

Subject Advice News

Learning More About: Crown Green Bowling with Subject Adviser, Andy

How did you get started in crown green bowling ? 

In 1966, I had a brain aneurysm which finished my interest in football but provided me in 1968 with a lifeline in Crown Green Bowling. I needed to find something that occupied my mind and I have been hooked ever since.

What three things can u3a members gain from getting involved ? 
An active outdoor interest; a team atmosphere with a healthy dose of competition; and a wonderful way of enjoying a local sport and making new friends. There is no time like now to get started.

How can you help members and u3as to get started or progress their interest group?  

As Subject Adviser, I can put you in touch with a u3a bowling group. I have also produced a basic coaching manual; a guide on the “laws of the game of crown green bowls”  and a section on etiquette and green awareness. 

Read more, including newsletters that highlight local competitions, on Andy's Subject Advice page, where you can also get in touch with Andy.

Our Impact

u3a is developing the movement's voice to make a social impact and change, both nationally and in your local communities. We're developing a page on the website and will keep you updated in the newsletter.
A Message from Sam Mauger on our u3a Impact

u3a Office In Focus

This is a new section putting a spotlight on the staff who work at u3a office and what we're doing.
Meet Harriet
Policy Officer

Hello! My role is to create and support initiatives to develop the u3a voice to have a greater impact and raise the profile of the movement. 

Recently, I’ve been collaborating with organisations including Centre for Ageing Better and Design Age Institute on projects to change the narrative on ageing.
I've also been connecting with policymakers and supporting u3as to take action in their communities on issues of importance to them. 

If you have any suggestions or comments about our u3a voice, please email 

Our 40th Anniversary

Find out the latest on how we are celebrating on our 40th anniversary page. 
Mapperley & District u3a, which is known as MaD u3a, are combining their 40th Anniversary celebration with their AGM by holding a Mad Hatters tea party. This is one of the table decorations created by the craft group.

Join the 40th Anniversary Facebook group

The u3a 40th Anniversary and u3a Week Facebook group is a place for members to share their plans and gain inspiration from others. Join the conversation.

Calling u3a Walking Group Leaders in East of England

The East of England region will be contributing to u3a week by creating a booklet of the walks completed by all East of England u3as in September.

Barbara Cordina, Trustee for the East of England, says, "If you're in the East of England and would like to take part, all I would need is a brief outline of the walk, the date, the distance covered, the number of participants, and if possible, a photo or two." Contact Barbara.
After the 40th Anniversary Quilt Reveal last month, the u3a quilt will be on display at the Witney Blanket Hall for a year, starting Wednesday 10 August 2022. Find out more on our website.

National Events

Here is a snapshot of some of the exciting events for members that are coming soon - see more on our online events page.

Live Cooking Demo - Summer Recipes

Thursday 21 July, 10.30am

Chef Alex is back, this time serving up spinach & sweet potato pancakes, spanakopita, satay tofu and sponge cake with apricots.

Book Groups Discussion Forum

Friday 22 July, 2pm

Get together with other members who are in u3a book groups to network and share ideas to help with running your group.

40th Anniversary Special - Science Network Meeting

Tuesday 26 July, 10.30am

This special learning event will cover three presentations; 'Blowing hot & Cold in the 1980s', 'The Carbon Imperative' and 'Human Colonisation of Space.' 

Staying Safe Online

Wednesday 27 July, 10am

Barry of Thorpe Bay u3a & Essex Police leads a presentation on how to stay safe in an electronic age, followed by a Q&A.

Cryptic Crosswords: A History

Thursday 28 July, 10am

This talk will explore cryptic crosswords; how they work, where they came from and how you can learn to solve them.

External Events

The Wisdom Hour

Thursday 21 July, 3-5pm
The Design Museum, London

Join this free event facilitated by This Age Thing and the Design Age Institute.   

This session will explore the Future of Ageing, an exciting new display curated by Design Age Institute and the Design Museum, followed by an interactive workshop led by This Age Thing’s George Lee.

Book your ticket on the Design Museum website.

Group Tours of 'Outwitting Cancer'

The Francis Crick Institute, London

The Francis Crick Institute in London are inviting u3a groups to a free behind the scenes tour of their latest exhibition "Outwitting Cancer: Making sense of nature’s enigma."

There are limited slots available so to book a tour for your u3a, email  
Your Stories 

At the heart of lockdown, the u3a woodland really caught Matlock u3a's imagination. It seemed like something positive we could all do to ensure that the future would be brighter and more sustainable.
I decided to visit the Brecon Beacons and our trees. Our trees are VERY tiny. I gave them a good talking to and told them to get on and grow.

Liz, Matlock Area u3a Chair
Read more on our u3a blog, Sources

Members can visit the u3a woodland in the Brecon Beacons by footpath. Please be aware that the woodland is in a remote location without access for restricted mobility and without facilities. At present the saplings are between 30cm-60 cm tall. To find out more, get in touch.

Advice News

Are you a group leader or a new committee member?

The Third Age Trust has an established workshop programme to support you in whatever role you have in your u3a. It might be that you have joined your Committee, started a new group, want to know how to support volunteers or need a refresher on the legal aspect of running a u3a.
Learn more and book onto a workshop


A technologist from Slow Ways, the project to connect the UK through walking routes, gave a talk to Settle u3a this month. Read about the event, and much more from u3as across the movement, on our u3a blog, Sources.
Your Stories

The more than fifty u3as and over 9,000 u3a members in North East England want to thank u3a Wooler member Mo for three terrific years as Chair of Northumbria u3a (the 27-year-old formal Network for all u3as in the region).

 In Mo, members of Northumbria u3a recognise skilled leadership, motivating management and effective delegation. Thank you Mo.       

Kelvin, Northumbria u3a

Spotlight On

Sue, Wyre Forest u3a (pictured, left)

I come from a showbiz family but when I was younger, I had no confidence. I had no belief in myself at all – certainly not when it came to singing and dancing, although I loved to do both. 

In 1966, my father was playing piano for the-then-Gerry Dorsey [who went on to achieve worldwide success as Englebert Humperdinck.] At the end of the show, he asked me to go on stage and I agreed to sing while he played piano. I opened my mouth but nothing came out.  After the sixth go he said, “Sue, you will be able to sing on stage at some point in your life. Just be patient.”
In 2012, I joined Wyre Forest u3a and the What A Performance group. I wasn’t brave enough to sing but told supernatural stories instead. However, being in the group unleashed the frustrated producer-director in me. Everything I had seen as a teenager growing up in musical theatre came to the fore as I began putting on shows for our members.

Reluctantly I was eventually convinced to sing in our “60’s Recall” show. My friend David was Sonny and I was Cher and we were both scared to death. But this time, when I opened my mouth, the words came out.

Englebert’s words came true and it was all because of u3a. I told people, “This is the moment Englebert said I would have: If only I’d had the courage to get on stage back then!

I have become a lot more confident with myself as a person – it's actually very noticeable. And It’s totally down to u3a. If I had not joined u3a I, quite frankly, would never had had the opportunity to do the things I have done.
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