Bramhall U3A Photography group have been running virtual meetings with changed themes since lockdown. This photo is from David Pechey.  See another photo from the group in Third Age Matters out next month.
Dear <<First Name>>,

U3As across the movement are working hard to stay open for business -even although its virtual and not face to face.

Everyone is working hard to stay connected and active during this period of restricted movement and, if our Keeping in Touch Facebook page is anything to go by, you are all doing it with energy, kindness and great humour.

Some of you are asking about whether it is time to resume some face to face meetings. From a U3A activity perspective it is really important that government and NHS advice is followed. The U3A movement has been guided throughout this time by that advice and should continue to do so – for the safety and wellbeing of all our members.

We have been advised by our insurers that this is crucial from a public liability insurance perspective.

I appreciate how strong you have all been maintaining social distancing and remote learning in this difficult time . You have carried on supporting, uniting and protecting each other – so please carry on doing this until the government and NHS guidance changes.

Many of you have asked us about the next steps and we want to work with you so that together, we can develop a plan for the future. Our Chair Ian has more details further down the Newsletter about how you can input into that process.
It is lovely to read so many of your stories and connections below. Please keep encouraging others to sign up to the newsletter so that we can keep sharing and staying connected with each other.

I hope you enjoyed our Mr Motivator exercise videos: please share with us how you found them.

For the first time, in an effort to join you in embracing technology, I have recorded a short message below.
very best wishes

In this issue...

Bite Sized PDF Newsletter
U3As Online
U3A Day - 1 October 2020

Staying Connected with Each Other

Through Your Door Bitesize Newsletter

Please encourage friends and colleagues who can, to sign up directly to the National Newsletter - during this time, it is more important than ever that all of our members can access news and information immediately when it is needed. 

We know there is a small number of members who don’t have email.  We don’t want them to miss out, so for the first time we are introducing a bite sized newsletter in PDF form that members who are signed up can download- print off – and pop through a colleague’s door. 

This PDF version has selected highlights and any important notices – so with or without email, you are included.  Find the button for the PDF newsletter further down this newsletter.

But please, for all those colleagues you know who can receive this electronic newsletter, encourage them to sign up
Download the Newsletter PDF
Your Stories 
Mary Waters, Chair of Lancaster and Morecambe U3A said, "Thanks for the April Newsletter.  It was very helpful.  I would like to forward a sign up link to the Newsletter to our members.

I also thought you may be interested in a set of Youtube videos our recorder group leader Marlene Phillips wrote and produced during the crisis for our members".

News From The Trust

Learning to Zoom

Thank you to our wonderful Trust Volunteers who have been delivering tutorials about how to use and access Zoom.

An Introduction to Zoom tutorial lasts for 1 hour and helps members use this technology.  Due to the popularity of these sessions, the team have created an advanced tutorial which covers more in depth topics.

To find out more, email

You can see more details on this in our news story here
Have you got a voice for radio?

We’re constantly looking at different ways of working and reaching our members and we would really like to speak to some of you about your experience of working in radio. We would love to interview you about your past experience in broadcasting for an upcoming feature on our learning blog -  Sources Online

Were you a disc jockey in a former life? Have you ever presented a programme or read the news? Are you a dab hand at writing, editing and producing shows?

If so, please do contact Janine Aldridge U3A Support Assistant


Join the Conversation

How do you keep your interest groups going ?  Have you got stories and ideas to share?

Join the chat in the U3A forum so that we can learn from each other, share good ideas and stay connected and join in sharing the fun things you have been up to.

Join us by registering for an account  - just press the ‘Need to register?’ link bottom right. 


Enjoying what we can of Gardens, parks and other outside spaces have become an important part of our lives during this time.

U3A members have been sharing photographs of their garden on the Keeping In Touch group and several more sent photos into us, demonstrating how much members are enjoying their gardens in this time.

(Photo credit to Jan Niezgoda and Pam Close.)

Passion for Flowers

Julie Pigula Southport U3A is passionate about flower photography. She recently had an article published in the magazine for the charity: The Disabled Photography Society – you can learn more about the charity here

Below is one of the photos she’s taken, and read more on this article in our learning blog - Sources Online 

Why not share your photos on our closed Facebook site Keeping in Touch? Press here
Your Stories 
Haxby and Wigginton U3A Chair Chris Jaques said,  "We created “Lockdown” pages on our website to inform and entertain our members whilst meetings are suspended. That includes:
  • The Garden Visits group leader suggested sharing photos of each others gardens - you can see that here.
  • The iPhone Camera Group, formed a WhatsApp group where members can show their photos, swap tips and suggestions and short “How to” videos.  

Trust Learning Projects

A Family of Robins made their home outside Malcolm Gill's backdoor - Ferndown and District U3A.  Please keep sharing your amazing videos photos and stories of the wildlife as part of our U3A project and the BTO Garden Bird Watch Project.   Find out more and get involved here.

U3A Eye

U3A Eye - the U3A photo challenge -  has a new theme, ‘Non-selfie – This is me.’

This theme, open until Thursday 21 May wants to capture creative ways to represent youself without images of people in it - even reflections.

Buoys' by Gerard Hayes of Witham & District U3A - entry for Connect U3A Eye

"I used a wide angle lens to capture this image where the buoys connect to each other via the rope along the beach".

See more photos here
Did you know?  Every week on the national website is our series of Ideas to Keep Learning – which shares ideas on how to keep active during this time.  You can also see the weekly quiz, maths challenges and a craft series - make it, made it!  See it all here.
Your Stories
Campbell Montgomery, Oldham and District U3A  said, “Our bird watching  group came up with a creative project coordinated by Margaret and Geoff from the group.
They invited members to do an individual but coordinated bird watching session, either in their own gardens, from an open window, or while out on an exercise walk.

You can see all the details on Sources Online
Did you do something similar with your birdwatching group? We’d love to know – contact us here

Living History

Jenny of Exmouth U3A created this cover for her diary in the Diary Project. Read her entry, and other members', experiences on Sources Online and in Third Age Matters - out in June.

VE Day

Many of you have been sharing how you marked the 75th Anniversary of VE Day this month in inventive ways whilst socially distancing.  Using music and art -  members marked this significant day. 

We've shared some of those stories on the News Section of our website. See that and other stories here.

News from Trust U3A

Keep Joining During Lockdown

Trust U3A has been created to accommodate the continued demand for older people to join the U3A movement during this period of social distancing.
Chris Winner, Interest Groups Coordinator said, “Over 30 people had signed up within days of the official launch and it also means that people can join a U3A even if their local U3A is not currently open. When face to face contact resumes, we will assist TU3A members to join the nearest U3A to where they live. Existing members can also join Trust U3A".

How about leading an interest group? Are you considering joining the new Trust U3A? If you are, would you also consider running an online interest group. You could help broaden the menu of options. Email to discuss the possibilities with no obligation.

Find out more details on the Trust U3A Website or email 

On Twitter join the conversation @TrustU3a
Trust U3A has received start-up funding from the Barbara Lewis U3A Fund. Barbara, a past Chairman of the Third Age Trust, created the fund as a way to promote the life enhancing experience of U3A membership.  Barbara’s hope was to establish a sustainable fund to assist in the development of the movement.  Contact to find out how you can help with the fund.

Financial News

Finance Manager Kevin Traynor 

I won’t tire of thanking you all for your continuing support and the kind wishes you have sent us.

E-mail addresses
We recently sent out via email to Treasurers the TAM and Beacon requests for payment.  I wonder if there is support among you for using generic addresses?  This would avoid the need to update and would allow new committee members to have an audit trail of what has gone before.

Online Banking
Just a reminder that NatWest are continuing to host webinars to help U3As move to online banking.  You can find out more at See more detail in the button below. We are investigating whether any other retail banks are offering similar support.

Feel free to speak to Kevin if you have an queries

Download Bankline for Communities Fact Sheet
Your Stories
Stella Furlong from Sandbach U3A has written about her personal experience of mental health in the Third Age and being a member of U3A.  You can read it on Source Online 

News from the Region


Keeping motivated to draw and paint is difficult when you don’t have the stimulus of a physical art group to fire up your enthusiasm

Apologies but we cannot accept entries from outside of Scotland - the work must be an original piece, produced by yourself, and can be done in any medium but must be post card sized or smaller. 

Please submit your photo here  You can see more on the U3A in Scotland Website.

There are no monetary prizes just the satisfaction of knowing that your work was chosen by the judges whose decision is final. The deadline for submissions is 1pm on 31 July.
Mike Forrest from Ormskirk and District U3A shared his pictures of when a squirrel invaded the bird feeder and got a bit unstuck

News from the Board

Chair Ian McCannah
After two years of consultation with members, the Trust announced the results of its medium term Development Plan last August. Implementation commenced in the autumn. To varying degrees, COVID-19 has obviously affected delivery since March of the Plan’s four key proposals.

• Raising the Profile of U3A – work continues via virtual meetings, and its plans will be announced over the coming months.
• Developing the Movement proposals are evolving and should not be too delayed. Thanks to many very imaginative ideas from members
• Some Learning proposals have been launched earlier than planned due to COVID-19 others will be closer to the original timeline.
• Plans to upgrade the Trust's technology resources have been deferred a number of months until the Trust assesses the financial impact of the current crisis.

 The U3A movement will not be immune to the impact of the current crisis. Therefore, the Trust is starting to think about its consequences and impact on our current operations and practices.

The crisis has brought with it both challenges and opportunities, particularly those relating to connecting members remotely.

As well as the lessons learnt by the Trust it is important, in order to reach the right conclusions, to receive the thoughts and experiences of members as well. Please send them to me

U3As Online

U3A Zooms

During this period of reduced face to face contact – so many of you have embraced technology to stay connected with each other. Here’s a few examples:

Newark and District U3A

Maggie – the Membership Secretary said, “Most of us had never even heard of Zoom beforehand, but we've successfully managed to set it up (the free version) for our two book groups, ukulele, recorders, Tai Chi and the group my partner and I run, Ballroom dancing . 

My partner lives 4 miles away so creatively used his photography tripod as his new dance partner! 
Over Zoom, we’ve managed to cover basic Cha-Cha, Ballroom, Waltz and Rumba.

We've also set up a mobile phone dedicated to any members who are not able to access the internet".

Ferndown and District U3A

Ferndown and District U3A has kept in touch with its more than 600 members through Beacon, the website, phone, email and video conferencing. Their website had a complete makeover – with  a section on activities for Self-Isolation. 
Judith runs the 'Really Awful Singing Group' set up for those people who love to sing - but really can't!  Singing for health is very important and some of the group have continued to meet via Zoom during these troubled times.   
Colchester U3A's Knitting Group knitted these hearts for care homes. For each pair, one is given to a care home resident, whilst the other is given to their family.
Meanwhile, the Sketchbook group at Lymington U3A are keeping connected by sketching at home and then group leader Yvonne sent around.  Photo: Artist, Ann Hacking

Stone U3A

Stone U3A holds Zoom sessions on evening book group, Reading Shakespeare
Global Politics, Modern Wisdom and French, Latin.

The History of Painting coordinator sends out daily paintings and resulting comments and the group leader now holds a half hour discussion on Zoom
Lymm and Thelwall U3A's German Group met by Zoom and all brought old things  - including these old badges.

Bicester U3A

Bicester U3A has a coronavirus section its website has an inspiring list of learning and supporting members. You can see it here  
Causeway U3A
Causeway U3A’s SWIG (Senior Wine Imbiber’s Group) have been continuing via Zoom. The group convenor asks everyone to bring certain kinds of wine and they try them – explaining to the other group members what they do and don’t like about the wine they’re sampling.

Ilkley and District U3A 

Ilkley and District U3A's photography competition has gone ahead despite coronavirus.  Normally gracing the walls of Ilkley's Manor House during May, the 2020 exhibition is taking place on the U3A's website. Visitors are being asked to vote on their favourite photo and at the end the winner will be chosen.  See more here

Learning News 

Ten U3A Co-Authors of Dementia Study 

Ten members of U3A have had their research paper on Dementia accepted for publication by– Dementia: the International Journal for Social Research and Practice
The paper is entitled - Carers Create: Carer perspectives of a creative programme for people with dementia and their carers on the relationship within the (carer and cared for) dyad. 

Co-contributor Rona Hodges Canterbury U3A said,  “I contributed at the design stage, other members were trained and ran the focus groups, most of us were involved in the analysis, and one member - the main author - wrote the first draft and subsequent drafts after some comments.

"It was really a team effort and upskilled our members. This was totally a U3A  production. The article will be available online in a week or so in the journal which is very exciting”.
The National Subject Adviser for Mindfulness, Nancy Taylor, has been running weekly sessions hosted on the U3A YouTube channel

Mindfullness and Meditation

Judy, the group leader of Mindfulness and Meditation at Wellingborough U3A, is offering free thirty minute downloads of her Island of Peace and Relaxation/Visualisation to all Northants members and would like to extend the offer to all members of U3A. Please see it here 

Mask Making

Arthur, the Webmaster of Houghton-le-Spring U3A has made a short video on how to make a Face mask at no cost whatsoever in under three minutes.  He wanted to share it with everyone in the movement.
Your Stories

U3A Scrubs up to help Combat Covid
Following on from our news feature about Ilkley U3A members making scrubs for key workers, more U3A members from across the country have got in touch to tell us about how they are also involved with local efforts to make PPE for the NHS.
You can see this story on our website here 


Subject Advisers

Our subject advisers have all been extremely busy since lockdown.

Magic and Walking Cricket Subject Adviser Mac McKechnie has, along with releasing regular videos on magic has secured, under the pen name Rogan Collingwood, a publishing contract with prestigious publisher Austin Macauley. 
You can see more books and submit your own work on our Facebook page -
 In Your Own Write 

Memory Maintenance subject adviser, Arthur Maltby, along with colleague John Bews, are completing an e-version of their of their popular workshop. You can contact Arthur at

Climate Change Subject Adviser, Frances Halliday, has collated environmental interest groups across the movement on her new website For advice on setting up a new interest group, contact Frances at

Genealogy Subject Adviser Stephen Dyer wants to share that the National Archives is seeking volunteers to help transcribe First World War Royal Navy service records for a free online database. No prior historical knowledge or training is necessary. For more information and to register your interest, email

New Subject Adviser for Golf, Martin Pugh, has been putting together a possible competition for all golfing groups around the group in the country in the week leading up to the 1st October, U3A Day. He has also put together some top tips for golfers during lockdown.

Download Martin Pugh's Golf Tips

You can see more updates and news from all the Subject Advisers on the national website


Building relationships


As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme, NatWest are working with a number of charities. For the U3A NatWest has provided a new series of talks and lectures on a range of topics especially for us .

It kicked off last week with regional sessions on Scams.  The lectures series will take place every today at 2:30pm - and each sessions will be delivered by NatWest staff with expertise in the topic.

Any U3A member is welcome to join the lecture which will be live streamed on our Facebook or on NatWest's YouTube

Tune in this Thursday for a lecture on Investment Shams.

Agile Ageing Alliance

U3A is proud to be a member of the Agile Ageing Alliance (AAA) which aims to help create a brighter future for our elder selves.
May 27, AAA is bringing together 40 of the world’s leading cross-sector experts and thought leaders, in a united effort to flesh out a new international standard (ISO) for multigenerational neighbourhoods and communities.
Sam Mauger U3A’s CEO is representing the membership at the online forum

U3A Day - 1 October 2020

Embracing Digital for U3A Day

Are you getting ready for U3A Day?  Even if by October it is a remote one – U3As are exploring ways to celebrate how your U3A community are using creative stories to tell about how they stayed healthy, active and connected with each other during these times.

And why not use 3 June 2020 to get in touch with your local media to let them know what you’ve been doing over this time?

Thousands of members are practicing languages, exercising together, “attending” virtual lectures and making presentations, singing and playing instruments together.

All these demonstrate third agers have met the potential negativity of lockdown and are still being vibrant and purposeful. 

Download Press Release

Third Age Matters

June Edition of TAM

In the Summer issue of Third Age Matters, Dame Esther Rantzen writes about life under lockdown, missing her grandchildren and Zooming with her That’s Life colleagues.

Mr Motivator, who has made exclusive exercise videos for U3A members, reveals how determination and the Boys’ Brigade made him a TV star while U3A member Diana Moran, who has returned to our TV screens as the Green Goddess, tells how keeping fit keeps her going at 80.

Plus, how a U3A helped two NHS doctors get back to the UK after being stranded in Peru due to Covid-19.

The Summer issue of TAM is out on 15 June.

Social Media News

We'd love to know if you've set up a new social media platform for your U3A in this time, or if you've started using a new social media on a personal level. Let us know at

We're also planning some content with advice for U3A's setting up new social media - if you've been running a U3A social media account since before this crisis, or if you have social media experience, please get in touch and share your tips.
Our Keeping In Touch group has been active for two months now and we have over 3,500 members. Join here and share the ways that you're remaining connected with your U3A.

U3A In the Media

U3A Member, Margaret Fiddes was interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds  - you can hear it on iPlayer - 1 hour and 8 minutes in.  
Flintshire U3A member, Wyn Jones, featured in a BBC Wales article about people using this crisis to be creative with the wood carving pieces he’s also submitted into Made it! Make it! 
Ilkley and District U3A members featured in a Newsnight clip about community sewers making scrubs for NHS workers.
And thank you to Members of Sutton Bridge U3A who answered a request from Anglia TV for case studies.
U3A got a shout out in a tweet from comedian Matt Lucas. View it here


Stratford Upon Avon U3A have persuaded the local newspaper the Herald to include an article to keep in touch with our members and mark their 20th Anniversary.  The Herald is hoping to cover the eventual celebration at a later date when social distancing is lifted.

Georgette Vale, Wymondham U3A

Georgette Vale, Wymondham U3A

At the beginning of March, just before lockdown, our IT person said, ‘perhaps we could host meetings by Zoom.’ I said, ‘what’s Zoom?’

Then suddenly we were in this situation where I thought we should start doing this. It was the history group who first took it on board. To be honest, the first couple of meetings were how to get used to the technology and how to get onto it.

And then we had our usual meeting and, apart from the fact that we had to do our own tea and biscuits, it was virtually the same as if we were in each other’s houses, or holding a meeting as usual.

We’ve had committee meetings by Zoom. But I’ve had all kinds of other meetings by Zoom now as well – family wise.   I even caught up with some college friends. A lot of us had lost contact.  We had been saying, ‘oh we must meet up’ but people are all over the country – one’s in New Zealand. Now we’re doing it every week! We could have for two years but we just never thought of it! We’ll still do it once a month.

It’s opened up the world.
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