The University of the Third Age started in France in 1972; ten years later the first U3As were established in the UK. The number of groups have risen steadily over the years, to currently over 1,000. Group membership numbers vary from 20 to over 3000.
The term “university” is used in its original sense, a group of people coming together to share their love of learning and the only qualification to join the U3A is to be retired or semi retired. It has a set of core principles.
With the U3A you can expand your knowledge and skills in a wide variety of subjects, while at the some time having fun and making new friends.
Each U3A group is self financing and set their own annual fee. Our annual fee for the first year is £25.00, this will be reviewed at the end of our financial year and hopefully reduced slightly. It includes a capitation fee of £3.50 which is paid to the National Office, to cover Insurance and overheads, and £2.40 for a quarterly magazine. The National Office also provides advice on starting new interest groups, as well as guidance and information on many group subjects.
Apart from the various interest group meetings, each U3A holds a monthly meeting for the whole membership. At these meetings there is a Speaker. Also they provide the opportunity to catch up on current news about your U3A and the opportunity to chat to other members over a cup of tea.
The U3A depends upon the enthusiasm of its members getting together to form interest groups on any topic. Topics could be academic subjects, languages, craft subjects, physical activities, the list is endless. Besides being self funding each group requires a leader or a convener: he or she does not need to be a subject-expert, the role is to organise the group and liaise with the Committee. It is up to the members of the group to promote the learning or other activities of the group.
Bourne End & District U3A is Registered Charity Number 1178428.