Windsor U3A Photography Group - "Holding a Reptile"
Dear <<First Name>>,

We are facing unprecedented times and U3A members have resolutely stepped up to make the coming months the best they can, given the circumstances we find ourselves in. 

We have many innovate and brilliant  ideas coming from U3As, we will be sharing these each week - please check the website and let us know what ideas that you have used and share your results.
We are trialling a number of remote interest groups options, developing guidance for using products such as Zoom, whypay. We are also collating online learning resources to share with you. We will soon be rolling out tech volunteers to assist local U3A group leaders who want to run remote interest groups.
We will be having a movement-wide Shared Learning Project asking members to keep a diary of the coming days and weeks. We believe it will be an amazing example of living history and already many of you have shown an interest in this project.
If you would like to take part please contact us at

We will be sharing wellbeing ideas from the members too, as it is important that members feel supported at home.

We now have a U3A: Keeping In Touch Facebook that received nearly 100 members as soon as it was launched and is growing all the time. This will enable members to share what they are doing with each other.
Our advice line is working hard to answer all of your queries, we are taking over 2000 a month in normal times, it is likely that for the moment we may have even more than normal but you can be assured that the advice line will be there to support you.
This newsletter is crucial in reaching out to members, as we have no direct contact with them. During this period we would be very grateful if you could assist members to sign up to the newsletter. 
Thank you to all of you members, U3A committee members, and to our volunteers, the team here at the national office and the trustees.

We have a movement of incredible people. You the members have shown your support, your empathy, your willingness to share ideas and experiences, and more importantly, to carry on learning, laughing and living.

With very best wishes,
Sam Mauger
Chief Executive
In this issue...

Keeping in Touch
Diary Project
Subject Advice

On the Air Waves

As we accustom ourselves to this new world, a group of Arun East U3A members have changed their monthly chat over a hearty café breakfast to a chat over the airwaves.
Arun East radio group leader Jim Dunn says, “We started almost two year ago after I met a fellow radio ham from Rustington and mused that there must be others within the U3A who would cherish meeting up.
"There are about ten of us with varying interests and expertise in radio communication, of which five or six have now decided to link up regularly using our VHF radio equipment.
It doesn’t quite make up for the Coffee and snacks or the face-to-face company, but as Pam Davidoff our Arun East U3A Chairman commented, “Amateur Radio is the only U3A group that can keep going in its usual format and observe the two metre space rule, as well!”
See this story in full at

News from the Trust

News From the Board - Chair, Ian McCannah

Other than those members who have recollections of World War II, COVID-19 is the most serious event in our lifetime. It is touching all aspects of life, particularly that of U3A members.
The postponement of Monthly Meetings and Interest Groups sessions - the beating heart of the movement - presents a challenge for many members, particularly those that have become socially isolated with the current restrictions on movement.
However, U3A members are very resilient and have overcome many setbacks in their lives by adopting a positive attitude.   I am delighted that they are carrying this spirit into making U3A membership still relevant.
Within this newsletter, and other Trust communication channels, we are highlighting some of the many positive initiatives that U3A members are adopting to keep interest groups going with, in particular, the use of technology.
These actions, once COVID-19 is no longer dominating our lives, will ensure that U3A continues to be a vibrant movement contributing to the wellbeing and health of older adults.
Please keep letting us know of your ideas and stories at

Keeping in  Touch

We have been talking with U3As and many members across the U3A community about the creative ways older adults can use to stay healthy, active and connected with each other. 

We will be sharing more on the website, in Third Age Matters (out in April) and in future newsletters.

Here’s a taster:

Ways to stay in touch without Internet Access - Suggestions have included phoning each other (setting up a rotating phone tree so each member of a group is responsible for calling others; telephone conferencing)

And the more traditional way such as writing letters, local newsletters.

Ways to stay in touch with internet access -
If you are more digitally connected then there  have been a number of suggestions to help you stay active:  Websites – ensuring U3A websites are up to date with details of all the virtual groups that are taking place. 

Running groups remotely using platforms such as skype, zoom or social media like closed facebook groups.  We will soon have to do sheets on the website for help with using digital platforms.

Please read more on Keeping in Touch and other stories at

Volunteer News

Supporting Each Other

Trust Volunteers are supporting the U3A movement to Keep in Touch during Corona outbreak
As Trust Volunteers your support will be needed now more than ever to keep the morale up and ensuring U3As across the land are given support with communicating and engaging their entire membership.
Volunteer Officer Mingma Norman said, “Currently, we are exploring with Regional Trustees the different support roles that would be needed during these confining times. We will be contacting trust volunteers to discuss the roles that will be most relevant to the current situation thereby making the best of the needs and regional volunteer distribution, geared to supporting groups, local U3As, individually digitally and remotely.
This will involve developing and remotely delivering training for potential new roles, reconnecting with volunteers and the support they offer U3As  and reframing the volunteer culture for the months ahead".

U3A Diary Project

Living History in Unprecedented Times

U3A members are being asked to help craft a shared learning project where they create living history of this extraordinary time. 
Jo Livingstone and Jennifer Simpson are leading the project which will look for personal thoughts, ideas and reflections on how this feels to you and what you are doing to deal with it.  

You may wish to write something each day for example, or once a week or simply when something of note happens.

If you want take part - please read more on our webpages here. You can contact us at 
We look forward to hearing from you 😊
Jean Pye, Gateshead U3A, knitted this Bear for U3A Day.  Now members of the Facebook group are planning on knitting more like this for a possible Teddy Bear Picnic!

U3A Day - 1 October 2020

The decision has been made to postpone our first national U3A Day from 3 June 2020 to 1 October 2020 which is International Day of Older Persons.
Many U3As have invested time and energy into planning creative and informative events to raise the profile of the movement.  We have a long lead-time for this new date so plans can be reviewed and rearranged including venues and guests.
As you are aware, U3A Day is planned to maximise the opportunity to raise our profile nationally. We will work towards signposting media attention to 1 October 2020, once that date is confirmed as safe and appropriate.

We will continue to update resources and advice on the national website. This helps us keep each other up-to-date with what is happening. The U3A Day closed Facebook site  has a wealth of ideas and discussion points and is a very positive community.
Let’s look forward to a time to celebrate the wonderful organisation that is U3A!
Iolo Williams will be in April's TAM. Photo credit: df management/Keith Morris

Third Age Matters

In the April issue of Third Age Matters, TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams talks about how his U3A mum inspired his love of nature, how we can all do our bit to help the environment and describes life growing up roaming the Welsh valleys with his dog.
Also Brian Fowler describes his route to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's highest mountain - at the age of 79 and how he went on to help form an adventure group at his U3A
And much much more …. Please don’t miss it

Financial Matters

Payments Direct to our Bank Accounts

Finance Manager, Kevin Traynor said, "Thank you to everyone who responded to our request to try and pay direct into our bank accounts.  I realise not all U3As are able to do this so if you don’t use online banking then please send a cheque as usual. 

As a reminder the bank details are:

For payments of:
• Annual Membership Subscriptions

Barclays Bank, The Third Age Trust, Account number 80892092, sort code 20-21-78
For payments of:
•  Contributions to Third Age Matters magazine distribution costs
• Beacon licence Fees to be paid

Barclays Bank, Third Age Trust Trading Ltd, Account number 03515370, sort code 20-21-80

NatWest Bank

We met recently with Nat West which is looking to launch a free on-line tool to help smaller charities move to safe online banking with dual authorisation (Nat West already offers free banking for smaller charity accounts). Ultimately this could produce a product at no cost to charities, which will allow them to accept card payments at events etc.  Its pilot scheme is already under way and they have asked if any U3As would be interested in joining the pilot scheme.

If you would like to take part and already bank with Nat West then please let me know:


Holiday Bookings

Various issues have been raised in recent weeks including members becoming potentially liable for increased travel costs.  Whenever you book a trip or a holiday you should whenever possible:

Use an ABTA registered travel company
• Pay by credit card, a failure to supply should be recoverable from the card provider as well as the tour operator
• Members should pay the tour operator direct and not through the U3A
• If the U3A books the trip then non-members should not be included in the travel party


Financial Scams

We are still receiving reports of U3As falling victim to scams.  We recommend the use of bank accounts with dual authorisation, please look around because they are available, see also Nat West above.

Please do not make payments on the strength of emails alone, speak to the other person before processing a request for payment as the email may not have originated from who you think.

You may also find some useful information here:
Great Ideas
Hold a painting, drawing or photography competition online which could include asking people to guess the name of the object or the place a photograph is of. Or you could share a ‘photo of the day' online.

U3A News

Time on Your Hands - Get Knitting

Barbara Cordina from Lea Valley U3A Crafty Fingers group is working on a project to keep busy over this period.

Barbara said, “I am working on a project to encourage U3A members to use their craft skills, whilst everything is quiet in the U3A world, to make things for charity -  as a  donation from individual members.

You can find charities that are looking for items by google searching on ‘Knit for Charity’ and this covered knitting, crochet and sewing. 

If this is something that interests you contact Barbara Here 
Congleton U3A Chair, Sue Ward said “Our U3A is really pulling together.   Members are invited  to contribute ideas for activities that they can circulate - like new recipes to try, using the kind of ingredients you can still find available on the supermarket shelves! Other members have expressed a willingness to be part of a telephone chat line team - calling up members who may be very lonely now that they can't attend their group meetings.  One of Congleton U3A’s committee members has got a little team together to compile a puzzle page which they are hoping to send out to members on a regular basis.
We had a member join our committee meeting for the first time via Facetime call and for future meetings we’re going to try Zoom.  This difficult situation we're in could result in many changes to our way of conducting daily life in the future some of which could be beneficial".
Teignmouth U3A are trialling virtual coffee mornings using Zoom as well as a way to continue interest group meetings.

For more detail on this story go to sources online

Virtual Newquay U3A 

Newquay U3A have set up a Virtual Newquay U3A blog through which their interest groups can continue to interact.

It's only in the early stages of development - you can find it here

News from the Board - Vice Chair Hilary Jones

I have been lifted by the response to the recent changes to our lives, from the members and my colleagues on the Board.
I have been surprised and delighted by the ideas, the enthusiasm, the need to look after each other – that have ‘pinged’ onto my laptop. I am writing a diary as suggested – not every day but three or four times a week. My husband and I are rediscovering secluded walks locally, N Wales is a great place for that. I am phoning rather than emailing people – to hear their voices.
I don’t like things to beat me and this will not. I am making it a time to re-establish contacts, to finish projects, maybe even start new ones. I hope members will join me in rising to this challenge.
Great Ideas

Hold a ‘before and after’ garden or window box competition within your U3A
Take photos now and be ready to take some more in three or four months when your activities are likely to start up again.

There is advice from the gardening Subject Adviser here:

Subject Advice

Keep Learning

Lots of ideas and suggestions for keeping learning in these times - here are a few examples from our Subject Advisers.
  • Involve people in puzzles, challenges, crosswords or quizzes for general interest.  There are resources available from the Subject Advisers including: Cryptic Crosswords   Or Quizzes
  • Hold a creative writing competition with members sending a written submission via post or email.  One suggestion was to work within your interest group for someone to start a story and all take turns to write a chapter about what happens next. There is advice from the Trust Subject Adviser 
  • Take up yoga or learn how to be more mindful. Both pages have links to helpful resources and you can get in touch with the subject advisor for more advice. 
  • The Genealogy Subject Adviser April newsletter will feature information on free online tutorials for 'genealogy/family history' 
  • Check out the links to YouTube videos of short Qi Gong related exercises and Tai Chi Form reminders from the Qi Gong Subject Adviser
All have provided information on their subject areas and links to resources at


MOOCs and Free Online courses.
One way to keep active and keep learning is to try learning online.  There are free courses such as:, and there are many others.

If you do not want a certificate, then it is free. A course typically lasts for about 7 weeks.


It was such fun. Her clothes were life-changing for a generation that had just lived through the war.‘ - Heather Tilbury Phillips on why Mary Quant's clothes had such an impact.

Heather Tilbury Phillips Interview

As U3A national events have been postponed, Heather Tilbury Phillips, Bury St Edmunds U3A, a key speaker for one particularly popular event celebrating the life and career of Mary Quant, gave an interview to Sources Online.  

Events will be re arranged in the Autumn - keep watching for updates on the website and in our National Newsletter. 


Social Media News

A camelia from the garden of a member of Reading U3A's garden group.
U3A members have taken to social media to share some of the unique, amazing and fun ways that they’re staying in touch with each other now that face-to-face contact will be limited.
A gardening group from Reading U3A had been planning to go on a visit to a House and Gardens specifically to see the camelias. When this was cancelled, they all took photographs of the camelias in their gardens and shared them with each other instead, maintaining the shared appreciation of flowers and connection that they would have got from the visit.
Baz Aveyard took to Twitter to share the plan Bailgate U3A has to have an exhibition once social-distancing is over.   They're encouraging members to bring something that represents their time social distancing.

Other members have been helping others with technology, recommending useful apps, and sharing jokes that are making them laugh.

U3A Keep in Touch - Facebook Page

A new closed Facebook group has been set up to enable members to share their ideas about how to remain connected with their U3As. 

As Sam said, there has been overwhelming enthusiasm: over 100 members joined on the first day and are using the group as a place to spread positivity and good ideas.

A group will enable U3As to continue learning, sharing interests and connecting with each other, despite not be able to meet face-to-face.

Join the group here

U3A In the Media

Sam was on Radio 4 You and Yours this week talking about U3A
You can hear it
here at 27:10

In Focus

Tim Davies hosts podcasts for Farnham U3A History Group

Tim spent his whole career working for BOC, the industrial and medical gases company. In 2017 his wife noticed an item in the local paper about someone setting up a community podcasting organisation. Tim, who in his youth had run a mobile disco and presented on hospital radio, joined. When he said that he’d be on holiday, travelling by train across the USA, when they launched, he was persuaded to make the travelogue ‘US Rail Journeys'.
He joined the Farnham U3A History Group in September 2017 and soon realised that most people missed some of the interesting talks. He suggested to the group leader that the talks would make an interesting series of podcasts. They give people a chance to catch up on the talks they missed, potential new members the opportunity to get a taste before they join and also give non-members access to interesting talks.
There is a time lag between the talk and the publication of the podcast because Tim is also editing and publishing a number of other podcast streams including a second series of US Rail Journeys and a series of environmental podcasts which are part of the Surrey’s Greener Future initiative.

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