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In a new series of films launched last month, u3a members from the 'Do Something Brilliant Today' film share their stories in more detail. See more in News from the Trust.

April

Dear <<First Name>>,

Do something brilliant today sums up u3a life. The fantastic achievement of planting 8,200 trees in only 6 months demonstrates how when members mobilise, they can change the world or at least make a huge impact on the world's wellbeing.

We are all looking forward to sharing time together for the 40th Anniversary celebrations.

We are looking forward to hearing what you have planned for picnic in the park
We know many of you have ordered u3a picnic blankets so towns and villages will be in no doubt that it is u3a members living, learning and laughing.

The spotlight on Bob, is a real example of how u3a communities are a place to flourish and be yourself, while that spirit of mutual support is always present as Let's Talk Tech demonstrates. 

I wish you all a peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable April and I'm looking forward to hearing about you did that was brilliant today.

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

See the 40th Anniversary u3a Quilt
u3a News: Tree Special
Feed into our New Course on Ukraine

Bitesize Newsletter

Download the Bitesize Newsletter
Your Stories

To celebrate u3a's 40th anniversary and also the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, we’ll be holding a Picnic in the Park in Bingham on 2 June for our members and guests. There will be live music from a full-on Swing-era jazz band and vocalists and a Platinum Pie Bake-off Competition with prizes, and more!

-
John, Bingham u3a
Read more about Picnic in the Park further down the newsletter and let us know what you have planned.

News From the Trust

Let's Plant 10,000 Trees This Year


u3a members have contributed an amazing 8,200 trees to our u3a woodland in just 6 months. We now hope to reach 10,000 trees by the end of 2022, our 40th anniversary year.

The u3a woodland was launched in November 2021 as a way to create a lasting legacy. The movement quickly passed the original target of 5,000 trees, helping to support the environment and climate for future generations.

Help us reach 10,000 trees. Find out more and make a contribution.

Photo: the u3a woodland in the Brecon Beacons being planted

"With u3a, it's sharing of skill, sharing of talent..."


We've launched the first three in our series of films focussing on what u3a means to our members. Geoffrey, Lindsay and Alexander have all shared their stories - watch them on our YouTube channel and feel free to use the films on your websites as they showcase the benefits of being part of the u3a movement. The second tranche of these films will launch later on in the year.

Photo; Ayr u3a member Lindsay with her tree identification group, Alexander in his Ravenshead u3a Craft Group

Reaching 40,000 for our 40th


Thank you to all our newsletter community for your continuing enthusiasm and support. The newsletter has grown every year since it began four years ago and we think we can reach 40,000 members with your help by the end of this year. That's just an extra 2,000 people signing up - so please encourage members, potential members, friends and colleagues to join us.

Take 10 Minutes for Mindfulness with Nancy


Mindfulness and Meditation Subject Adviser, Nancy, is the latest u3a member to share her skills as part of our campaign promoting positive ageing in collaboration with Specsavers. Watch Nancy's video on Mindfulness on the Specsavers #GenerationWOW hub. 

We'd love to hear from you about the activities that you're involved in. Please get in touch with us.
Your Stories

We should celebrate this special year
To show our appreciation to the u3a
For their concept of how to learn together
In a unique and friendly way

They gave us the idea of learning groups
That members choose and run
Which encouraged us all to develop skills
In an environment of fun

An extract from a poem to celebrate the 40th anniversary by Jan, Epsom & Ewell u3a. Read the full poem on the 40th anniversary blog.

u3a 40th Anniversary

Find out the latest on how we are celebrating on our 40th anniversary page. 

See The u3a 40th Anniversary Quilt


Thank you to every member who contributed to our 40th anniversary quilt - it's a celebration of your talents, what you love about the movement and positive ageing. The quilt is being put together as we speak and will be revealed to the movement for the first time on 17 June at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. Book to be a part of the grand reveal.

Celebrities, Poems and Quilt Squares - On the Blog Now


Our 40th Anniversary blog is updated every month with new stories. This month, the Green Goddess and Don Maclean wish u3a a happy birthday, Ards and Peninsula u3a discuss the inspiration behind their quilt block (above) and u3a member Jan shares a poem about why our anniversary is worth celebrating. 

Visit the blog.

What's Your Favourite Picnic Food?


Ahead of Picnic in the Park in June 2022, Chef Alex from Vegetarian for Life will be sharing some of his favourite picnic recipes in a live online cookery demonstration. The recipes include bruschetta, Greek fritters and an orange, lemon and pistachio cake.

Get a taste of what's to come with a pasta salad recipe on our 40th anniversary blog, book your spot on our cookery demonstration and let us know what you'll be cooking for the day.
u3a week 2022 is between 17 and 25 September. Last year, members yarn bombed their towns, introduced members of their community to u3a through taster sessions, litter picked on beaches and more.

What are you doing this year to celebrate? Let us know. 

u3a News: A Tree Special

u3a members across the movement have been planting trees, both as part of our national woodland and in their local communities.

Gilwern u3a Sow the Seeds for Our Woodland's Future


In March, members of Gilwern u3a visited the u3a 40th anniversary woodland, situated in the Brecon Beacons. Along with other volunteers, they planted trees donated by members and in doing so, contributed to the u3a’s environmental legacy. 

Brechin And District u3a Plant Fruit Trees

Brechin & District u3a have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the movement by planting apple and plum trees.

The trees were planted in a community garden and they intend to share the fruit with members of the community.

A Grove for Forth Valley u3a

Forth Valley u3a have funded a tree grove with Trees for Life.

Members wanted to support a project dedicated to the rewilding of the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands of Scotland. The grove is a continuous project that allows new trees to be added by anyone at any time.


Read more on our Sources blog.

Your Stories
 
I'm running a new group for Trust u3a, 'How Trade Grew the World: A new Economic History.' Even in the last few weeks, huge changes have been happening to the shape of the global economy.

The group’s approach will be to choose some top-level topics and explore these by individual research with presentations. Together, we can learn and understand how our complex world depends on trade in all types of commodities.
 
John, Trust u3a
Read more on our Sources blog and you join John's group through Trust u3a 

Learning News

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

Supporting Ukrainian Refugees


u3a is developing an 8-week Ukrainian course designed for learning a few Ukrainian phrases, developing an understanding of the language’s tools and sounds and gaining an appreciation of Ukrainian history and culture. If you have opened up your home to Ukrainian refugees or are helping refugees to resettle in your community, then we want to hear from you so we can shape the course around what you want to know. Get in touch.

Photo: 'Thinking of Ukraine' by Jim, Balsall Common u3a, submitted into Found in Nature

Finding Joy in Nature


A new learning initiative, 'Found In Nature' has launched and we want to see the 'wild and interesting' things that you have seen in wildlife and nature. Have you seen something that has challenged your perception of nature and the world around you? Get involved now.

Photos L-R: Chris, Bracknell Forest u3a and Julia, Northampton u3a

Connecting Through Subjects


Subject Networks bring together members from across the u3a movement with similar interests and supports interest groups to grow.

The Subject Networks so far include Chess, Cycling and Climate Change - find out more about these existing Subject Networks on our website. If you are part of a network that is not listed or you want to help build a new network, get in touch.
Your Stories
 
Strollers and Wobbly Walkers are two of our popular groups. The routes are designed to suit all abilities. The camaraderie and opportunity to catch up are the great motivations. In the first picture, you can see members strolling around Dawlish Water ... and in the second, wobbling at crazy golf!

Peter, Teignmouth u3a

News from the Board 

Chair of the Third Age Trust, Liz Thackray


I guess like me you are looking forward to the long weekend and perhaps spending time with friends and family.

It is good to hear of u3a members beginning to meet together again, albeit cautiously, and of plans for the year ahead as we celebrate our anniversary.

This time of year is a time of new beginnings as the natural world wakes up and I trust it will be a year when we can truly demonstrate our strapline of learning, laughing and living in ways that attract others to join us! 
Tiptree u3a had a stall at their local Garden Club Show - an example of how they are using local events to publicise themselves.

Subject Advice News

Subject advisers are u3a members who volunteer to share their expertise on their specialist subject. Discover more on the u3a Subject Advice page.

Learning More About: Bridge with New Subject Adviser, Steve


When did you first start playing bridge and what do you love about it?

Over 40 years ago. I love bridge as it is "Friendly Competitive" - it combines the best of both worlds by keeping your brain active (particularly important as we grow older) and it is played in a social, friendly environment.


What projects are you currently involved in?

I am presently involved in the national competitions and social Bridge games planned to celebrate the movement’s 40th Anniversary in September.


What can we expect from you now that you are Subject Adviser?

I am in the process of setting up a dedicated website for our 40th Anniversary Bridge Games and for u3a Bridge. So I'm promoting the game and encouraging members to play Bridge and have some fun. I am also open to any ideas from our membership as to how we can promote the benefits of Bridge.

If you have ideas, questions or would like support with your Bridge group, you can contact Steve through his Subject Advice page.
Your Stories

I had the pleasure of joining Haverhill & District u3a for their AGM, along with a member of my regional support team, Marilyn.

What a happy bunch they are and what a successful u3a – they should all be proud of their recent achievements and I wish them every success for the future.

Barbara Cordina, Trustee East of England

National Events

Every month, we run a programme of special events for members - many hosted by u3a members themselves. Here is a snapshot of what is coming up - see more on our online events page.

Do All Religons Lead to the Same God?

Wednesday 20 April, 10am

Hosted by Subject Adviser Dr Peter as part of his Exploring World Faiths series.

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - and Your Energy Bills

Wednesday 11 May, 10am 

Brenda of Cotsgrave & District u3a presents this panel discussion.

Pre-War Blues

Thursdays in May at 10am

Explore and hear extracts of the origins of Blues music with Lee of Ilkley & District u3a, with the next series on Post-War Blues following in June.

Japan: Lasting Impressions

Tuesday 24 May at 10.30am

Hilary of Flintshire u3a is joined by her son Dan, who will be Zooming in live from Japan to share his experiences.

Regional Events

East of England Regional Conference
Thursday 19 May, 10.30 - 3.30 pm
Christchurch, Chelmsford

A full day of meeting other u3a members and the opportunity to meet u3a Chair, Liz Thackray. Book your place now.

North West Region Summer School

Tuesday 16 - Friday 19 August
University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street Campus, Carlisle

At the North West Summer School, there are opportunities to learn Archaeology, Art, Geology, Literature, Ukulele, Art Appreciation and Colourful Knitting. Find out more. 

Third Age Matters

Watch Out for the Spring Edition of TAM


The Spring Third Age Matters Magazine is another great read -  filled with tasty recipes to make your u3a 40th Anniversary Picnic go with a swing, members' inspiring stories, your favourite walks and much more...... Please note that the magazine will be hitting doorsteps in early May due to the Trust moving to a new printer.
In the June issue of Third Age Matters magazine, find out how u3a members are using circus skills such as juggling and hula hoop as fun ways to keep physically and mentally fit. Picture by Tony Cross
Your Stories

Our Photography Group, with Convenor, Adrian, has been successful in organising a photographic Exhibition in a shopping centre in Belfast. It ran for two weeks from 18 March to 1 April. Each member presented two photos, one displayed each week.

- Pauline, Belfast u3a

Media News

Can You Spot A Story?


Over the past year, u3a has been putting together a network of PR Advisers across the regions to shout about all the brilliant things that you do. The PR Advisers help to raise the profile of u3a in regional and national media, which in turn encourages new members to join. 

We already have a strong, talented network of volunteers across the UK, but there are gaps in the following regions: 

 
South West 
West Midlands
South East
North West

If you have a background in PR, journalism or marketing, and would like to be involved in promoting u3a by highlighting the great things that are going on in your area, please get in touch with Chris Winner, the Chair of the PR Advisers.
Building international links in u3as

The Development Committee now has responsibility for international links. Jean Hogg, Chair of the Development Committee, says "There may be opportunities to develop international links through language based threads of activity, culture based interests, or twinning arrangements." Read more on the Sources blog.

Join an open, Zoom meeting on Friday 6 May at 11am to discuss how these international links could be developed. Contact Jean to register your interest or share your experiences.

Sources

The winning was not what was important; it was the enjoyment of playing together.

- Bradford u3a member, Philomena
Ilkley, Settle and Bradford u3as met together for a friendly Snooker competition. They shared how it came about and the success of the tournament. Other stories this month include how Barnsley u3a's High Street Project developed into an opportunity for them to have a voice in their community.
There are lots more member-led stories on our u3a blog, Sources.

News For Committees 

Annual Budget Approval


This notice recently went out to all u3a committees from Derek, Treasurer of the Third Age Trust.

"The Trust Board approved the budget for the Financial year 2022/23. This includes an expenditure of just over £2million.


Apart from continuing with all our normal operating services, with coming out of the pandemic period, we expect to be able to progress on many developments that have been on hold for the last two years. These development projects support the Trust’s overall Strategy for this year and beyond. One area will be to support raising our profile with projects like ‘40th Anniversary’, ‘One Foot in the Future’,  ‘Age Friendly Cities’ and ‘Future Lives’ which all should support your recruitment efforts. There are also funds available for development of our Member Services with the replacement of the SiteBuilder website programme, ongoing support for Beacon and more coordination and development of our Learning services.

With regard to Internal Services we have brought in new accounting software and will expand on its use (as you will see by this year’s Annual Returns process) and development of a Digital Strategy to keep up with technology possibilities. All these developments will be made possible with an increase of the staff in the u3a Office from 17 full time equivalents to 24 and ongoing support from our volunteers.


We hope you will soon start to see some of the results of this increased spending"
 
Let’s Talk Tech

This initiative has proven very popular. Primarily created to help u3as set up and run ‘hybrid’ meetings, the team now deal with a wider range of IT issues when possible.

There are three forms of support:

Advice News

ClickSilver


The ClickSilver scheme offers support to members who may need IT help. It matches members with mentors who will guide them through the basics of IT through four one hour sessions. If you or a u3a member you know could benefit from this, get in touch with us. 

More Tutorial Dates


See all the upcoming tutorials to help you with the running of your u3a on our Online Tutorials page. New workshops are added all the time so do check back.
In response to feedback from members we have restructured the advice pages on our website under the Support for u3a tab. Check it out now.

Spotlight On

Bob, Oban u3a


It was a little while after retiring that I got involved in u3a. I joined various groups, including: Geology, French, Spanish, walking and the wildflowers and garden groups.
I also became a member of the committee, and then eventually became the Chair, which I continued until two years ago. I think one of the great things is the way people, certainly here, are very friendly and open. This was demonstrated when, shortly after I became Chair, I had an accident and damaged a nerve beside my knee. It was very painful when touched and therefore very difficult to wear trousers.

I went through a terrible time of thinking, “what can I do now, I can't wear shorts as the Chair of the u3a in the middle of winter.” I was considering whether I should give up. It was somebody else in the u3a who said, part jokingly – 'you could always wear the kilt you know.' At the next u3a monthly meeting, in January, I did that and the response was positive. Everyone was very supportive and didn't make me feel embarrassed. People just said, ‘good idea’ and ‘we wouldn’t really care what you were wearing anyway.’ 

The u3a is wonderful, you learn things, you meet people, and you enjoy passing things on to others. I think that’s probably one of the most rewarding things – not just for me but for lots of others in the u3a. It is the sharing; people get a lot out of doing that, of passing it on and when you are the one learning, you enjoy it even more.
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