Bourne End and District u3a serves primarily the villages of Bourne End, Wooburn Green and Flaxwell Heath in Buckinghamshire with some members coming from High Wycombe and Cookham and further afield. We had our inaugural meeting in March 2018 when over 250 people signed up. Over 40 interest groups were started shortly afterwards and there are now more than 50 operating, from improving languages to lace-making, golf and bird watching. We currently have over 450 members and we’re still growing!
About the u3a
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 non academic 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, semi retired or not working. 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 is self financing and sets their own annual fee. Our annual fee is £15 in April 2021. It includes a capitation fee of £3.50 which is paid to the National Office, to cover Insurance and overheads, and £3.10 for a quarterly magazine ‘Third Age Matters’. 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 and pop up chats from members. At these meetings, which are held using Zoom, but will post Covid move back to the community centre. We are currently offering these meetings online via Zoom and a catchup is occasionaly available via YouTube.
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.