February ❤

Madeley U3A's Tree Planting Group - Read more about #UTreeA below
Dear <<First Name>>,

As you may be aware, the national office staff were recently forced to move because of a leak into our premises.  I’m delighted to let you know that we are now settled in temporary offices nearby while we look for a more permanent solution.

We have been overwhelmed by your lovely supportive emails.  Members up and down the country have shown such patience and understanding about the disruption. We cannot thank you enough - it is very appreciated by all of us.

We have had a number of enquiries from members about the advice to give on the coronavirus which you find in this newsletter below and in a separate mailing sent out to committees. 

Please continue to encourage your colleagues to sign up to the national newsletter – it is a delight to be able to share your wonderful stories and news from across the movement.

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

Film Premiere
Mary Quant Event

News From The Trust

U3A Members enjoying national summer school 2018

What's Your Experience?

Our ten year U3A survey (results in last month’s newsletter ) indicated some important membership trends most notably in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

Advice and Volunteer Manager, Jane Bailey said, “The survey noted an increasing number of members who face potential barriers to participation in terms of sight and/or hearing loss, mobility issues or dementia – and sometimes facing more than one of these.

U3Aplus is already doing great work in this area with its team of volunteers, dedicated to providing advice and information. 

Similarly the survey looked at whether U3As reflect the demographic in their surrounding community . The Trust’s Diversity Working Group are looking to develop a national workshop looking at how to facilitate participation which best reflects the U3As local area.

As always – we would really value your input.  Do you have any examples and stories from your U3A of encouraging participation?  Barnsley U3A Walking Cricket have a great example in U3A news below.

Contact me 
Thank you so much – your collective experience and advice is invaluable.
Croydon MOTO group (Members On Their Own) celebrated Chinese New Year with their China Interest Group members 


You may have read the feature in this month’s Third Age Matters Magazine about planting trees and its positive impact on the environment and climate change. 

Over the coming months, in future newsletters, there will be a series of articles about how you can get involved in this home grown U3A tree challenge!

In the meantime it might be worth having a look at The Conservation Volunteer’s (TCV) website  or the Woodland Trust’s events calendar  who hold planting days on their estates.

U3A Day

U3A Petanque (Boules) Championships Hayling Island 2018

Marketing Tool Kit Coming Soon

U3A day planning is well underway with U3As across the country organising different events to showcase all the wonderful activities that take place.
The Trust has been working to create a series of publicity material which will help promote and raise the profile of each U3A. It will not be branded U3A Day so is usable in the future.
Materials to order, including digital files to download, will be available from the shop on the national website. Hopefully by 2 March 2020.
Please note if you haven’t signed up yet to register your event – please do – it will help us keep track of the bigger picture across the country.  It is now on the website here.
The U3A Day Facebook is full of ideas:
From woven wall hangings, to exhibitions of groups, a Boules competition with the public, a family friendly trail and so much more 😀
You can join the Facebook group here

Financial Matters

As you are probably aware we have two entities to manage, The Third Age Trust and its subsidiary Third Age Trust Trading Ltd (TATTL)

We are very grateful that many U3As pay direct into our bank accounts as this reduces our workload and the risk of errors.

Just a gentle reminder to committees: the annual Membership Subscriptions (formerly capitation) will fall due on 1st April and you will still receive your Annual Return to complete. 

Payments for this are to be sent to the Trust and for those paying online the bank details are:

Barclays Bank, Sort Code 20-21-78 Account number 80892092

The trading company manages both the magazine Third Age Matters and the Beacon Licences.

Contributions towards the magazine’s costs, Third Age Matters, are payable to Third Age Trust Trading Ltd (TATTL) and you will be notified of the contributions payable in April. 

The trading company will also be issuing invoices for Beacon Licences for 2020-2021 in March.

Online payments for TAM contributions (formerly Direct Mail) and Beacon Licences  need to be sent to the following bank account:

Barclays Bank, Sort Code 20-21-80 Account number 03515370

Thank you all again for your help and support.
Another concern raised is about insurance cover and liability for members with disabilities attending groups. U3A does not provide personal accident cover, but the Trust does ensure we have sufficient liability insurance that will protect members from claims against them for accidents that occur in interest groups.  Always remember that whatever the activity we must always carry out a risk assessment to comply with the insurer’s expectations.

U3A News

U3A Host Film Premiere 

Camberley U3A celebrated the 12th anniversary of their Film and Media Group with a premiere of top British director Ken Loach's latest film, Sorry We Missed You.

The film was not shown in local cinemas so the course leader Murray Rowlands arranged with Ken Loach for the film to be shown as a premier to local U3A members.

The film deals with the hardship inflicted on families who have to survive on low paid zero hours contracts.

Image above: Ken Loach at 72nd Cannes Film Festival for Sorry We Missed You Adobe Stock 

U3A Looks East with New Culture Lectures

A new series of Culture lectures is being organised by Crewkerne & District U3A. The theme of the six talks will be the Eastern Bloc.

The new lectures follow the success of two series held last year - one on the Arts and one on Science. Chairman Shelia Seymour said, “We wanted to try something different and we were delighted how well they were received".

The programme begins on March 5 with the intriguingly titled ‘There’s a carp in my bath – life in Eastern Europe during the Communist Era’ by Dr Janek Gryta, a lecturer at Bristol University.

Batley in West Yorkshire welcomed five players from Barnsley U3A to support the fledgling match (only the 2nd meeting taking place) at the Al- Hikmah centre - with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF)
“Although not a U3A group, we at Barnsley U3A thought that it was very important as a movement, to be involved in a multi culture environment, using the game of cricket to forge links between communities.

"We were delighted to also welcome David Jagger, the Communications Officer for Tracy Brabin MP (Batley and Spen) who is the Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport".
BU3A’s Walking Cricket and Subject Adviser Mac Mckechnie

See feature on Walking Cricket in U3A in the Media below

Thank You

Marple Bridge and Mellor U3A want to thank Alan and Kitty who have been hosting our History group each month since our Inception some fifteen years ago. 
Kathy Williams from Hucknall and District U3A would like to thank Sue Spolton who has just recently resigned from leading their National Trust Group and organising some wonderful trips over the last 10 years.
A thank you to Sheila Flavell, St.Neots and District U3A still dancing at 85 years old and leading the Beginners Line Dancing Group  -Shelia's been leading U3A Dancing groups for more than 20 years.

Building Partnerships

FitMind50 Campaign

U3A is supporting Yours Magazine's FitMind50 Campaign, encouraging older adults to continue trying new things as they grow older. Of course, U3A members do this all the time: you can see examples of U3A members who tried new things in Third Age Matters this month and also in Yours Magazine.
Tell Your Story worked with us to create this video for free in which U3A members talk about what U3A means to them. Thanks to Lichfield and Olton & District U3As for helping us.

News From the Board of Trustees

Board Report, Ian McCannah, Chair

'How is the U3A addressing the climate change debate?' is a question I have been asked in recent months. The answer is in a number of diverse ways.

At a local level, U3As interest groups are discussing issues that are attracting global attention. At a national level, we have a new Climate Change Subject Adviser - Frances Halliday. Contact Frances to receive details of the many initiatives that she is currently undertaking.

Many readers of TAM have asked “why is the U3A behind  the magazines of other member organisations with its non-biodegradable wrapper?” I am very pleased to confirm that the Board have recently appointed a new magazine printer and publisher with the requirement for a fully recyclable wrapper from the April issue onwards.
In this newsletter, and in the February issue of TAM, are details of the tree planting challenge #UTreeA campaign. More details to come. I look forward to seeing the results as I travel around the U.K!
At the Trust’s AGM in August, I am delighted that Professor Averil Macdonald and Professor Alun Vaughan have accepted our invitation to speak on “Are we really ready for electric vehicles?” They come very highly recommended by U3A members.

Subject Advice News

Shri Sharma, Subject Adviser for Philosophy, said "The flowing waters of philosophy are difficult to dip our toes in because they bring challenges, and often give uncertain answers that lead us in unexpected directions.

But like Heraclitus’ ever changing river, once we step into philosophy, our worldview too, giving us new understanding.

Please read a thoughtful piece on Sources online from John Latham, Mawdsley U3A  who gives us very good reasons why we should engage with philosophy, and what insights our experiences can bring to our reflections and discussions.

I hope you will be intrigued enough to join a philosophy or discussion group in your local U3A after reading his article.'

Read the article here

Climate Change Advice

Thank you to everyone who has already responded to the request to get in touch with the new Subject Adviser, Frances Halliday at  Please do continue to keep in touch with her about your groups.

All subject advisers can be contacted via the website 
February's edition of Third Age Matters is now out. It is the first from new editor Joanne Smith and features a new column from Esther Rantzen, an interview with Holocaust survivor John Hajdu and much more.  You can hear the latest news on our twitter account - why don't you follow us?
Follow us on Twitter

U3A Learning

Join Forth Valley for Clash of Clans

Forth Valley U3A has started an unusual new interest group – Clash of Clans.

Clash of Clans is a mobile strategy video game set in a fantasy-themed persistent world where the player is a chief of a village. Clash of Clans tasks players to build their own town using the resources gained from attacking other players through the game's fighting features.

Forth Valley U3A member, Alan Blue said “We now wholly own and control the Clan called “Dragon Warriors” so it is free to play. We are looking for new members amongst UK wide U3As to join us.

It is a great way to learn more about digital games and you can learn, laugh and live in another dimension!

All you need is a tablet or a Smartphone.  For more information contact Alan Blue
Read more stories on Sources

Thanking Group Leaders

Peter Scaife Group Co-ordinator at Dorchester U3A said "Our U3A now has 60 groups, of which 14 are now language groups.

We are indeed greatly indebted to the Group Leaders for the time and effort that they put into running their groups, without them there would be no Dorchester U3A. To say a big thank you, a delicious hot buffet lunch was arranged at the local Golf Club".

Education Events


Behind the Scenes of Dame Mary Quant – Fashion Designer
Fashion & Textile Museum, London
1.30 pm to 4.15 pm

An exciting event is now open for booking - enjoy an afternoon of fashion talks about Dame Mary Quant, British Fashion Designer.  Learn about Mary’s motivation to open Bazaar in 1955, how she developed as a designer and hear personal memories and anecdotes of working with her.  

Find out more and book tickets here
U3A Member Jo Robinson from Olton & District U3A has suggested that U3As take part in the Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham.

Former Textile Manager, Jo said, “I was reading last month’s Newsletter and noted the quilts that various U3A groups have made, which are really beautiful.  I was wondering if anyone attend the Festival of Quilts which is held in August at the NEC Birmingham.  It is a great event and it would be great to have some sort of exhibition and raise the profile of the movement.

 Are any U3As planning of exhibiting? Please let me know  at Jo Robinson

Do you want to host the next Robot Competition?

Cannock Chase U3A are asking if any U3A wants to host the 2020 Robot Constructors Challenge later this year.
Launched by Cannock Chase, the inaugural Robot Constructors Challenge has proved a huge success with 72 participants from 11 U3As. Challenges included an Egg & Spoon Race, a Crazy Golf Course, a Skittle Alley and a Maze to be navigated.

Open to all U3A members nationally this event often generates interest across the wider U3A Science & Technology community, not only for specialist robot builders & coders but also for others generally interested in technology.

For more information and to sign up here or contact

Regional Events

North West Summer School
The North West Region Summer School is open for booking.  You  can find all the details and information by clicking the button below.
Alternatively go the NW Region
Your Invitation

Research News

Royal College of Occupational Therapists want your help

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists is conducting a survey which wants to make sure people aged over 65 with experience of occupational therapy have a say in how to prioritise the questions that are most important.  This online survey will be live between end of February and beginning of April.

See more information about our project here

International News

New Members

The International Committee recently welcomed new members Marie-Elisabeth Deroche-Miles, Andover U3A and Allan Walmsley, Kings Norton U3A.  Plans are in being put together for a future French Residential Summer School, and  a Language Study Day. 

The approaching meeting with EFOS in Dresden will enable contacts to be made with U3As in Germany and other European countries.
We are in the process of finalising short powerpoint presentations explaining the U3A in the UK in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian which we hope will be useful for anyone to use – watch this space!
If you are arranging U3A visits internationally, please do get in touch
We look forward to hearing from you

Community Connections

Pen Pals Needed

Arnie from Sandbach U3A let us know about an initiative by Cheshire police to combat isolation in the surrounding community.  They are asking residents to become pen pals – writing to  people in a local care home.  If the scheme is successful it could be spread across South East Cheshire.  The initiative hope to bring joy and reduce isolation and loneliness. 

We wondered if your area does something similar?  Let us know at 

U3A in the Media

U3A featured in the Letters Section of the Guardian

ITV News Hub Barn Dance with Wyre Forest U3A

An ITV News Hub Reporter visited Wyre Forest U3A's Barn Dance group last week. It was great effort form the West Midlands Trustee and the U3A to organise the visit within short notice and lots of fun and dancing took place.

Arun West U3A featured in the Telegraph

Masha (Publicity) and Glyn White (Chair) of Arun West U3A helped out when National Office was contacted by the Sunday Times doing an article on the best places to retire. 

The article requires a Telegraph subscription to read but you can sign up for a free subscription which enables you to read two articles a week.

Walking Cricket on TV

Subject Advisor for Walking Cricket, Mac McKechnie, was on That's TV North Yorkshire talking about walking cricket last week.  Watch the video here

Round and About 

Round and About magazine featured U3A in its magazine and online, with information about local groups.  

U3A Celebrations

In February 2020, Lincoln U3A Quiz group celebrated the 100th birthday of one of their active members, Marjorie Myatt.  
Yvonne Speet from Waterloo U3A celebrated her 100th birthday in December - she was presented with a bouquet by Waterlooville U3A.

Wellington Shropshire U3A celebrated its 5th birthday with an afternoon tea and again at its annual Christmas meeting in December 2019.

Havering U3A celebrated its 30th Anniversary, Bridgend U3A and Sleaford U3A both celebrated their 20th anniversaries.


Peter Harris talks about being in Cheshunt U3A's Jazz Band

Through my life, there has been one dream: to play in a band. I played as a child but retired my instruments when I went into fulltime work.  I was tempted when I discovered a group of saxophone enthusiasts met locally, but my lack of confidence got the better of me and an opportunity was lost. 

On retirement I joined Cheshunt U3A and leapt into various activities, becoming the group leader of a Musical Appreciation group. I was approached by Bud Leech, now our trumpeter, who was looking for U3A musicians to form a Jazz band. 

That sparked a very distant light and for the first time I thought that just maybe I could fulfil the dream. 

We formed a group of U3A members and have been together for three years performing two or three times a year.

None of this would have be possible without the U3A banner.  It generated the catalyst for what I believed was an impossible venture.  If you wish to follow a similar dream, don’t believe you are not good enough.

OK, probably you aren’t, but practise and belief will change all that.  There are many good musicians who are only too willing to help.  Within U3A there are Ukulele, brass, country and many other groups.  If you cannot find like-minded souls within your U3A look further afield, after-all our band consists of members from four local groups.
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