East Renfrewshire U3A’s On Hand Gardening Group have started meeting again in a nearby walled community garden.

Read more on Myra Dyer, the group convenor, at the bottom of the newsletter.

Photo credit: David Gordon


Dear <<First Name>>,

Nothing holds the U3A movement back. This newsletter has many great stories about U3A interest groups as we all find our way through the journey of meeting again, whether through social distancing or on line through virtual meetings.

Almost every U3A across Great Britain is open for business within the Covid guidelines, and the U3A committees and interest group leaders have been galvanising action so that all our members can continue to share their skills and ideas and learning.

It is interesting that even during Covid new members have joined the movement, as the spirit of friendship and community so evident in the U3A movement is exactly what so many people are looking for.

I want to say a big thank you for every one of you who has kept the movement working during the difficult times of Covid. You have all kept the U3A alive.

Thank you to all of you now helping to engage with members and bring us back to full strength again. The U3A is ready to Learn, laugh, live even louder than before.

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

Recruiting New Members
U3A Virtual Choir

Pam Ayres speaks to TAM

Don't forget the Bitesize!

The bitesize newsletter is a truncated version of the newsletter made especially to be sent to those members not on email.
Bitesize Newsletter
Your Stories
U3A members have been creating art inspired by museum and art exhibits.
Washington Village U3A member, Tania La Marinel, created this plate inspired by a collection of tiffany glass at the Charles Hosmer Morse museum in Orlando, Florida.
Julia Wilkin, right, leads the Poole U3A calligraphy group and created this gilded letter for her daughter inspired by wallpaper designed by Walter Crane.

News from the Trust

Recruiting New Members

The U3A Recruitment Working Group is inviting your U3A to join a group of Pathfinder U3As to work out how to recruit new members successfully over the next weeks and months.

We will also develop a recruitment toolkit that can be of use to every U3A.

There are already many potential U3A members out there who are looking for opportunities to learn locally and in a social way - especially during these unprecedented times. 

If you are interested in finding out more, please email Paul Martinez, Chair of U3A Recruitment Working Group.


Adapted Sport Interactive Session

Join us for a talk and Q&A with Richard Hill MBE, the national lead for Walking Cricket with the English Cricket Board and all round ambassador for disability sports.

This event, taking place at 2pm on Friday 4 September, is  a great opportunity for anyone to learn more about accessibility and inclusivity within sport.

It will provide great knowledge and tips for those already taking part in a U3A sports group. Most importantly we hope it will inspire members to set up an adapted sport group in your U3A.

Join the free event here.

Online Survey

There's still time to have your say on what you want from the new online Learning Hub here. Your responses will help us to develop the new learning site.
The U3A Eye challenge continues with this fortnight's challenge 'angles.' See the gallery for the current theme, 'Summer', including this photo by Kathleen of Turiff and District U3A. 

Jeff Carter, one of the U3A Eye judges, has written an article for Sources about what makes a good picture. You can read that here.

Creative Writing Competition

The creative writing competition is drawing to a close. Winning entries have been identified for each of the regions/devolved countries and have been sent to a final panel of judges who will announce the top three stories at an awards evening. These entries will be made available on the Trust website in mid-September, following that announcement. 

Amateur Radio Interactive Session

The Trust has started an online interest group for members interested in Amateur Radio. Amateur Radio, sometimes known as ham radio, is a worldwide communications hobby that allows individuals to learn about using transmitting equipment and make contact with other enthusiasts.

To find out more and to join the group contact Janine Aldridge

U3A Virtual Choir

Join our U3A Virtual Choir. The first session, which took place on Thursday, was a great success - but it's not too late to sign up for the remaining sessions, which take place on Thursdays at 2pm on Zoom. Find out more  here. 
Your Stories

"Before lockdown and until I got the internet at home (mid June) I almost never, ever used social media.

For the last month since joining U3A Keeping In Touch Facebook group and getting the internet at home, I have been on social media everyday and I like, or comment on posts just about every day.

There are often things to make me laugh or amaze me. I have also been learning things.

So my experience of social media has been fantastic."

- Val Havard,  Solent U3A.
See Social Media News below for more updates about our social media platforms.

Volunteer News

New Zoom Tutorial: Zoom for Group Leaders

This new tutorial aims to provide group leaders with the confidence to run a virtual Zoom meeting for their members. 

During the meeting, items covered will include hosting arrangements, co-hosts, controlling the meeting, screen sharing, video and audio sharing, and use of breakout rooms.

See all upcoming Zoom tutorials, including ‘Zoom for Beginners’ and ‘Zoom for Large Meetings and AGMs’ here.
Don't miss our tutorial on Running Large Meetings and Virtual AGMs - 8 September 10am and 2pm

Please register here.

Online Workshop Resources for Members

We have created a series of training videos on Communications, Governance, Trustee Induction and How to Use Video Conferencing for Large Meetings.

See the videos on our Running your U3A playlist. We will be adding more, so watch this space.  
Your Stories

"During lockdown, several members of the Andover U3A (Advanced) French group and of a similar French group started talking online, writing to each other and exchanging articles published in their local and national media. 

The International Committee has decided to encourage the renaissance of international online pen friends. Please do get in touch if you have similar arrangements, or would like to be involved."

- Dr Marie-Elisabeth Deroche-Miles,  Andover U3A
Member of U3A International Committee

Read this full story on Sources and see more International News below.


U3A News

Cockermouth U3A’s Art Group meet once a week outdoors and socially distanced to paint the landscape.

Farnham U3A Survey

When Farnham U3A surveyed its members to find out how they had coped during lockdown, it found many had adapted well to dramatically changed circumstances.  Seniors are resilient it seems.
Farnham U3A Chair Mike Love said “Over the summer we sent a ‘Life in Lockdown’ survey to almost 1400 members. Lockdown deprived many members of our specialist interest group activity which underpins their normal lives. However, our members were quick to adapt and the 133 who responded online provided some very positive feedback.”

Has your U3A conducted a survey recently: we'd love to know.

Barnsley U3A

Barnsley U3A’s Walking Cricket team met for the first time since lockdown. See news story here.

The ‘Writers of the Third Page’ group is also producing a book of the creative writing they’ve written during lockdown, with the profits going to Age UK. The group has been communicating via email, each writing a chapter meeting a weekly prompt.

Croydon U3A Creative Writing

Croydon U3A's Creative Writing group have been meeting on Zoom. They've challenged themselves by asking each writer to use a particular word that isn't a part of their normal vocabulary.

What creative exercises have you been using in your virtual meetings? Let us know.
Carlton & Gedling U3A's Cycling Group has been meeting together again.

Rotherham U3A 

Rotherham U3A have been very active over the last few months. By mid-March almost every member with a smartphone had downloaded and was using “WhatsApp” to keep in touch with fellow group members.  Telephone and e-mail groups mushroomed.

Many groups have been “Zooming” and Trustee Meetings have gone virtual, each Trustee bearing a wooden spoon or similar implement as instructed to signal their wish to speak. 

Following a comprehensive risk assessment and splitting into two separate groups, the Grow Your Own group have also started meeting in person. 
Barnet U3A Ukelele Band

Barnet U3A's Ukelele Band have been meeting in a park for a socially distanced play along once a week. They've also been continuing to meet on Zoom (right) for those who do not yet feel comfortable meeting in person.

News from the Board

Ian McCannah, Chair of the Third Age Trust

In the early summer, I asked members to send their views on where the movement may be when COVID-19 is a matter of historic record. The response was excellent and the results have been consolidated into  "Planning for the U3A movement post lockdown." Click on the blue button below  for the full report.
"Planning for the U3A Movement Post-Lockdown"
Over the last few months, great efforts have been made by U3As and their members to keep activity going during lockdown. Recently, the Office has provided advice on restarting outdoor activities such as walking cricket and the more conventional walking groups. Keep a regular eye on the National Website to see the latest advice.
There has been an exceptional response to the “High Street project”. This is a unique piece of research, particularly at a time when the pandemic is forcing major changes in the retail sector. Two hundred and sixty U3As have signed up ...... and counting! The final results of the survey will form part of the movements 40th anniversary celebrations in 2022."
Your Stories

Dumfries U3A’s Gardening Group has started again.

Carolynne, the group convenor, said, "The second gathering happened yesterday with a further four families meeting together at a different garden. We have 15 members in the group and so a third meeting is happening in a fortnight with a further five members."

Finance Matters

Finance Manager, Kevin Traynor

Once again I would like to thank you all for sending in your payments and Annual Returns.  You have been most helpful.  Despite the problems caused by lockdown I believe we have had a regular flow from the Post Office and I think only a few items may have gone astray.  Thank you to those U3As that sent in replacement documents and payments.
None of us know when or how the current restrictions will end and I understand how difficult many of you have found the last six months.  Although online facilities allow us to work from home it has many drawbacks.  We all miss meeting with our colleagues, but we also miss meeting with you, our members.  Before lockdown we had a steady stream of members visiting the office and we all miss that too. 

Fraud and Scams

Yesterday I received two invoices in the post, both were scams, and while I think I can spot them, none of us are immune from attempted fraud so please remain on alert.  It is good practice to change your passwords regularly and never click on an email attachment or link unless you are certain of its origin.  Please follow the links to read more:


The audits of the Trust and trading company have just ended.  Being audited remotely was a very different and time consuming experience and we have all learned a lot from it.  As well as thanking my office colleagues I would also like to thank those U3As that were contacted for further information, you were a great help.

Online Banking
From your emails and letters it is clear that many U3As would like to have online banking.  All the banks offer this so we will be doing what we can to help move this forward.  NatWest are already in direct contact with a number of U3As so we will see what we can do to open contacts with the others.

Credit cards
Another issue that you have raised is that some banks are reluctant to issue U3As with credit cards.  I know they may issue debit cards but these do not offer as much protection as a credit card.  Given that online suppliers, ticket agencies and many others will only accept card payments it would seem that we should address this too.  I would be grateful to hear from U3As that already have a credit card and from which bank.

Social Media News

Photo taken by Helen Elliot, Eastbourne Meads U3A and shared on the U3A Keeping In Touch Facebook Group.
Are you following us on our social media? Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a great place to find out about the amazing things going on across the movement and to tell us what you are doing too. Click the icons below to follow us on those platforms.

Social media has become a community, as our Keeping In Touch Facebook group demonstrates. Read below for Anne’s experience – and tell us how social media has connected you to the U3A movement. 
Your Stories
"Communication has been so important during these strange times. I have used the Keeping In Touch Facebook group as a resource where I can ask questions and learn from what others have done.
I started a discussion with someone about a piece of software. They sent me useful information on Facebook Messenger and then to try and explain better she called me.  Only when she asked me what the time was in the UK, before she rang, did I realise that she was a U3A member from Sydney, Australia.  
The situation in lockdown has forced our hand to try new things and has definitely widened our environment to those outside our immediate areas and in my case to another area of the world!!"

- Anne Baylis, West Cheshire Rural U3A

U3As in the Media

The editor of Barnsley U3A’s newsletter has written an article about how the U3A has been continuing to thrive for a local free magazine, ‘The Darton Arrow.’
The national newspaper ‘I’ featured a letter written by a Croydon U3A member about the benefits of her U3A Yoga group.  We've transcribed the letter for you to read below. 
Margaret Wilson's Letter as it appeared in "I" Newspaper

"I was most interested to read Clare Vooght's article regarding the benefits of yoga and I fully endorse them myself. (I, 14 August.)

I am in my eighties and belong to Croydon U3A where we have been having chair yoga sessions for the past three years.

Throughout lockdown the leader has contacted all class members by email and Zoom, and sent us all a list of exercises. This has been a lifeline during this bleak time and I have eagerly awaited my weekly sessions which I have carried out and have felt it was of benefit to me both physically and mentally."
Do you have a background in media? Why not become a regional PR Advisor?
PR Advisor Role

Third Age Matters

In the Autumn edition of Third Age Matters, Pam Ayres shares how she got hooked on making people laugh, what’s she’s really enjoyed under lockdown, her new book and her plans for the future.

Read more in the magazine, out September, including the story of a U3A member who chose to spend lockdown with a local family in Morocco.


How does a German group become a Creative Writing group? Why are U3A members planning to survey our high streets - and how can you help?

See these stories and more on Sources.
Your Stories

"My grandson (aged 10) and I have written a children's book together. We live 200 miles apart so emailed paragraphs to each other in turn and after two weeks around Easter we had 10,370 words (6 chapters). To surprise him I have had it printed and posted to him.

I lead our U3A Creative Writing group as well as one of our Reading Groups which we've managed to sustain during lockdown by email."

- Dorothy Nelson, Parbold, Newburgh & District U3A

International News

New Committee Member

The International Committee is delighted to welcome Marilyn Moylan, who is a recent member of Weston-Super-Mare U3A.  As an Italian speaker, she will extend the committee's knowledge of languages to the already existing team of French, Spanish, German and Hungarian.

She replaces Jenny Carley, who has been a valuable committee member since its inception in 2015.
Covid-19 has contributed to an increased usage of Zoom for many groups to continue their learning and  has also enabled involvement with U3As across Europe.  To this end, Ulm U3A in Germany established a regular Zoom meeting with their Danube network members, and all EFOS (European Federation of Older Students) members were invited to attend.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details – we will be delighted to help!


There are still spaces available on 3 and 10 September for our event about the David Livingstone Birthplace Project. Find out more about the event.

Copyright: David Livingstone Trust

Subject Advice

We have new subject advisors

Mario Molinari is the new Subject Advisor for Etymology. Mario said, “Etymology explores the origin of words and from there on tracks down their development over time. 

You can read about me on my page – which has five files which are all recommended reading. The paramount importance of learning in our lives, the lives of all, is the primary focus of my work.”
U3A Summer School Learn Ukulele 2019 - photo credit Mark Thomas
Ken Cockburn is the new Ukulele Subject Advisor.

He says, “I learned to play a ukulele at my local U3A, Warrington, and I understand the challenges of learning to play an instrument in later life from first-hand experience.  I have led beginners and improvers groups for several years and helped many perplexed players. If you have a question, try me, your problem may not be unique.’ See more on Ken’s Subject Advisor Page.

New Yoga Newsletter

Peter Barton, the Yoga Subject Advisor, has published the first U3A Yoga Newsletter on his page. He hopes that future editions will be even more collaborative to reflect the diversity of U3A Yoga and the interests and passions of those who teach. Read the Yoga newsletter here

There’s new content on Boating, Golf, Genealogy, Maths & Stats, and Crown Green Bowling. See all of this on the Subject Advice Pages

Research News

Life in Lockdown Survey

Researchers from the University of East Anglia  are currently conducting a survey on life in lockdown and have asked for our help. The survey aims to find out how lockdown has affected people's personal relationships.  Find out more and get involved here.

Congratulations and Thanks

Congratulations to Jack Berkovi, right, Chair and founder of Hampstead Garden Suburb U3A, who has been awarded a Civic Award by Barnet Council for his work in the suburb.

Louisa Sewell wants to thank
Phil Joiner, Chair of Wanstead & Woodford U3A and his colleagues for sharing their regular cheerful activities and quizzes over the past few months.

Does a member of your U3A deserve special thanks for their efforts over the last few months? Email us and we will give them a shout out in the next National Newsletter. 
Your Stories

Till we joined U3A

 “Then we joined Sutton Bridge U3a
And everything was merry down our way.
Lunches, dinners and fun by the score.
Keeping us going till we could do no more.
Table tennis, Bridge and Theatre too,
Anything we might fancy to do.
All underpinned by support and aid,
People to meet and friendships made.
Suddenly the scenery isn't so dull,
We had been experiencing a temporary lull.
Till we met all you guys with your shades of grey,
And you made us really want to stay.”

- An excerpt from a poem by Heather from Sutton U3A.

Case Study

Myra Dyer, East Renfrewshire U3A

My husband and I joined East Renfrewshire U3A seven years ago and our Hands On Gardening group began in 2017.
Then this year as the garden was starting to blossom and spring bulbs were beginning to come into flowers, we were instructed to lockdown by the Government.
Once Scotland moved into Phase 3, we started planning how the group could return to the garden. We received guidance from the committee regarding Risk Assessments for the members, we also bought a non-contact, infra red thermometer to test people as they arrive. In addition we take a register and record attendance together with their temperature. This is to comply with the Scottish government, “Track and Trace” system.
We returned on the first Friday in August, exactly 5 months since our last meeting. We brought our own hand tools, gloves and refreshments. We are so lucky the garden is large enough to easily social distance and even when we stop, as a group we can stay 2 metres apart and chat.
It was, “Such Fun” and I can’t wait for our next outing in September.
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