❄Your National U3A Newsletter – December




Welcome to the December Newsletter.

I am thrilled to say that as we near the end of 2018, the national newsletter has hit the 10,000 milestone for members who have directly signed up to receive it.

At just over a year old, the newsletter shares news and stories across the movement.  I have welcomed your comments and suggestions and hope you will continue to encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up so that we can continue to grow the newsletter in the year ahead.  You can sign up here

The U3A message of inclusion, enjoyment and of pursuing interests together, chimes well with the festive period. If you are celebrating the period in an unusual way or are supporting people who may otherwise be alone at this time of year, do share your stories with us.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful break.

With regards,
Sam Mauger
Chief Executive


In this issue…

Social Prescription
Volunteering Officer
Festive Cheer


News from the Trust





U3A has had a really positive response to its national  advert promoting the benefits and impact of being a member of our UK wide charity.

The advert was placed on the front page of the supplement – Later Life-  which hosted a range of articles focusing on getting the most out of your Third Age.  It was distributed through the Sunday Telegraph on 9th December.  We had extra calls into national office, a spike in the website visits to find a U3A and a lot of interest on Social Media.

The supplement will also be placed in Age UK stores around the country.

A big thank you to U3As for supporting this and if you did experience any enquiries to your U3A from people who had seen the advert, we would be very grateful if you could let national office know.  It will help us judge its success.



Social Prescription


Members have raised the issue of social prescription and how the U3A can be involved. In response the Trust is investigating how to support and help U3As in any Social Prescription schemes happening in their area.
The Trust’s Vice Chair, Hilary Jones said, “Social prescription is for people who visit their GP but who would benefit from friendship, learning and exercise instead of drugs or medicine. People who may feel alone, unsupported and who would gain from the company of others to enjoy sport, walking or some of the many interests that U3A members enjoy.
“We are developing advice and a ‘toolkit’ to assist U3As who want to share with others the benefits of belonging to our organisation.”
Chief Exec Sam added “Its use is growing with the Social Prescribing Network predicting that social prescribing will be in every GP practice in the next two years. If your U3A is currently involved with a social prescription scheme please let us know as we would welcome sharing best practice across the movement.”



Using Plastic


National Office has been contacted by U3A members who are concerned about the use of plastic.

The Trust would like to share your ideas and thoughts on the use of plastic and its impact on the environment and would love to hear from U3As who may currently be developing policies on how they use plastic.

We hope to send out guidance to all U3As based on your programmes and good practise

Please contact Sam Mauger


Building Partnerships




U3A is partnering with the journalist Constance Knox on her brand-new Podcast – ALifeWellLived.
Broadcasting early next year, the Podcast will celebrate the stories and experiences of Third Agers.  It will feature anyone who has an interesting part of their life to share.

91 year old Tony from Hurst Hassocks and Ditching U3A, has already been chosen to talk about his experience in the Bronze medal winning GB field Hockey team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

ALifeWellLived will trial for five weeks – and involves an award winning BBC producer and is sponsored by travel company Cox & Kings.
U3A is featuring as the charity supporting this and would welcome members to come forward and tell their stories on any subject from sport, music, education, travel, work, health, and relationships.  Those that don’t make the podcast may feature on an accompanying website.

Contact National Communications Officer  Liz Drury





U3A was an official  partner of #Charity Week on Social Media.  Charity Today tweeted:

THANK YOU SO MUCH @U3A_UK for your support this #UKCharityWeek! Wishing you all a great Christmas and we hope to work with you again in the New Year x


News on Volunteers


Volunteering Officer


The Trust has advertised for a full time Volunteering Officer post. Interviews have just taken place and the new member of staff will be joining us in the New Year.

As part of the induction for this post, the new staff member will be contacting and meeting existing volunteers and Regional Trustees.

Part of the purpose of this post will be to expand and review the Trust’s offer to volunteers. An introduction to this staff member will appear in the next edition of the newsletter.



National Workshops

The national programme of workshops has had a very successful year.

The programme kicked off with the three national ‘Keeping it Legal’ pilots that were attended by over 600 participants. Since then an additional 18 workshops have been delivered to over 800 participants. The programme for 2019 is looking like it will be equally successful with requests already having been made for 14 workshops.

We continue to review the workshops that we offer and are looking to develop the offer as the demand is evidently there.

Details of the current workshops and a link to request one is available via the events tab on the website.


Committee Volunteer Recruitment

The Development Sub Committee (DSC) is looking for two members to join them.

Someone who has a good working knowledge of U3A, how the organisation works and who is interested in developing the movement.

They would be expected to attend 4/5 meetings a year, travel expenses will be paid.
If you are interested please contact Hilary Jones   


U3A’s in the Community



Health and Wellbeing


Members of Stockton U3A have been looking at issues of Health and Wellbeing including inviting  guest speaker – Professor Peter Dettmar – who developed the Peptest for early diagnosis of reflux.

Professor Dettmar said, “It was a pleasure to speak to a large and enthusiastic group at Stockton U3A who had plenty of questions on the reflux symptoms they had been experiencing.  Reflux is an issue especially as we get older and is associated with gastrointestinal, ENT and  many respiratory conditions.   It is therefore important to recognise the early symptoms and get an early diagnosis and treatment.”
Glen Clerk said, “I wanted this to be part of an initial wider conversation about Health issues and what matters to members of U3A.  I would really value hearing from other U3As who are discussing similar issues.

“If you think there are broad areas of Health and Wellbeing which you would like the U3A  movement to be discussing please contact me here 




Don’t forget BBC consultation


The BBC is proposing changes to the licence fees for older viewers/listeners within two years.  It may be that the concession for older clients not to pay the annual fee will be withdrawn.
David Jarvis (Chester U3A) wanted to let everyone know in case U3A members were interested to read the document and respond.  The link to the BBC website is https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-46274054
The Trust is happy to collate responses and put in a response on behalf of the U3A movement.

If you wish to share your views please send them to Sam Mauger together with the name of your U3A



Festive Cheer


U3As around the country have been celebrating the Festive season in their communities.   Here’s some examples. Thank you to Winsford U3A, Leas Valley U3A and Foyle U3A.



Lifelong learning


Changes to U3A Magazines

The changes to Third Age Matters (TAM) and Sources Magazines are now being finalised.  Sources is to become a dedicated section within TAM with each Sources section to have themes of an educational nature.

Please look out for a detailed explanation of all the changes in the next edition of Third Age Matters –  out in February 2019.
Sources Online has lots of new stories celebrating U3A learning including on the Welsh Coastline and Borders Shared Learning Project, research and wine.  See them at https://sources.u3a.org.uk/



International Committee

The U3A Report – Learning not Lonely has been presented by the international committee (AIUTA) at their International U3A Conference in Mauritius.
Maria Chester, AIUTA Secretary General and Ian Funnell, former AIUTA Treasurer presented it to U3As and to Prof François Vellas – AIUTA President.

Le UK Third Age Trust avec Maria Chester, Secrétaire Générale de l’AIUTA et Ian Funnell, ancien Trésorier de l’AIUTA ont participé à la Conférence Internationale et au CA de l’AIUTA à MAURICE. La nouvelle publication du Third Age Trust a été présenté par Ian Funnell au Professeur François Vellas, Président de l’AIUTA et aux Universités du Troisième Age. Cette publication s’intitule « Learning Not Lonely ». Elle est consacrée à une revue de la littérature et à un questionnaire portant.  Les conclusions montrent l’utilité des Universités du troisième Age qui se développent dans le cadre d’une auto gestion basée sur le bénévolat et le partage de compétences.



Learning Resources


Learning to be Retired

Carol  Ellis (Bromley U3A) and Julia South (Sheffield U3A ) have developed a five week short-course (two hours per week) called Learning to be Retired.


The course is aimed at U3A members who are experiencing some challenges with adjusting to life as retirees.

Carol explains, “It covers a range of topics including exploring our values; considering any limiting beliefs we may hold; looking at skills we have that we may wish to continue using; how we manage our time in retirement and the various opportunities open to us. It does not cover financial matters. But, the really important thing about the course is that it doesn’t try to ‘tell’ people how they should manage retirement but supports them in finding their own way forward.

“The course has been very successful and the groups that have run so far, have chosen to continue meeting on an informal basis every few weeks and, starting in the new year, we’re setting up follow-on discussion group called ‘Retirement Matters’ where we’ll continue to discuss issues relevant to us retirees.”

To find out more about the course contact Carol at:  ltbrU3A@outlook.com



Fire Safety

U3A national office met with representatives of the London Fire Brigade this month to hear more about the brigade’s efforts to disseminate information on ways to reduce risk from fire and visit homes to give advice and fit free smoke alarms.

As most fires in the home start accidently they have also developed a Fire Risk Checklist https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/carers-and-support-workers/fire-risk-checklist/ which helps people to recognise when there is an increased risk of fire, or of being unable to respond or escape if a fire starts.

The London Fire Brigade has information https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/carers-and-support-workers/

Most fire services in the UK offer similar services. Check your local Fire services’ website for details.



Research Retreat Dates


The successful U3A Shared Learning Project with Citizens 800 project has now released new Research Retreat dates for 2019. These are available on website for Citizens 800 and include links to the U3A page of the project website.
SLP Coordinator Jennifer Simpson said, “The retreats explore such topics as Suffragette militancy, reactions to the Peterloo Massacre and the response in the press to the first mass Chartist petition of 1839.

“The retreats are open to all U3A members and aim to be a good introductions to using online documents for research.

To find out more please go to https://www.citizens800.org/u3a/




News from the Subject Advisers


Convenors Meeting


National office was delighted to be invited to attend Dulwich U3A convenors’ meeting to discuss the development of online resources to support Interest groups leaders in their various subjects.



Subject Adviser updates


The latest updates and news from the national subject advisers such as Mahjong are now available on the Subject Advice section on the website here:


Education Events


National Summer Schools – hold the date


Dates have now been confirmed for the national Summer School programme 2019.  The two schools will take place on:

• Monday 12th to Thursday 15th August – Aston University – Birmingham

• Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th September – Royal Agricultural University – Cirencester
More details including the courses available will be coming to the national website soon.



Science Network Meeting 2019


Aston University in Birmingham is the venue for this year’s exciting meeting which will take place between 5-8 August 2019.  The programme this year includes topics on

• The Fascinating World of Radiology : Fifty Shades of Grey
• Mysterious Water
• The Science of Frankenstein
• Scare Stories: Risk and Perception
• Liquid Amps
• Why doesn’t your nose grow an ear?
• As old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth (Robotics)

Organisers this year have an interesting challenge planned and are asking members to let them know if they’re interested in Robotics.

Please contact chair@u3asciencenetwork.uk

Find out more https://u3asites.org.uk/u3asciencenetwork/home


Brandenburg concerts


U3A Members attended exclusive concerts at the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy featuring the Brandenburg Singers and conducted by Bob Porter the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London’s Artistic Director.


News from the Board


Chairman of the Third Age Trust, Ian McCannah

“At the December Board Meeting a number of important decisions were agreed.
The most significant one was the decision to create a successor to the existing Beacon membership system that has proved very popular with U3As. Full details will be sent to all Beacon subscribers, and the main contact on all U3A Committees, after a Beacon meeting in Birmingham on 17 December.
Another decision was to create a trading company as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Third Age Trust. In order to comply with charity law, all secondary trading activity (such as Beacon, TAM, Sitebuilder, merchandise, etc) needs to be carried out in a subsidiary company as they do not meet our primary charitable objectives.
Although it is seems a long way off, we are turning our attention to the AGM and Conference in Nottingham next August. We are hoping to book an inspiring key note speaker on the broad theme of “Learning”. If any Newsletter readers can recommend such a person, please contact fran@u3a.org.uk
Finally, on behalf of the Board, I wish all our members a Merry Christmas and a Happy U3A New Year.”



Other News



Get Creative

U3As throughout the UK are being  encouraged to Get Creative.

Get Creative Festival from Saturday 11th – Sunday 19th May 2019,  shines a light on all the great cultural activity that takes place right across the UK on a regular basis and encourages people to try their hand at something new and creative. This huge national celebration of creativity aims to give everyone the chance to get actively involved in a creative event in their local area.

This is a perfect opportunity to promote your U3A and the whole movement.  Go to the Get Creative website and see what it is all about.  If you plan an event please let us know: info@getcreativeuk.com


Your experiences of retirement


BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour is hosting a feature  tomorrow on what it feels like to be newly retired or thinking about retirement.

A member of U3A got in touch to say this would be a good opportunity for U3A to get involved with any feature that may be happening on retirement.  National Office’s Communications Officer has contacting the programme separately.
There’s still time to get in touch with the programme via their website here
You can hear the episode where the request is at 21.09 minutes.





Great British Bake Off

Applications for The Great British Bake Off are now open.

The team are looking for a gourmet selection of amateur bakers to enter the tent for the tenth series of The Great British Bake Off.

If you or someone you know could rise to the occasion, then why not apply now.  Visit www.applyforbakeoff.co.uk

If you would like any more information or help in applying, please do get in touch on text at 07940 464 720.




In Focus


Indu Kumar (Barnsley U3A)


It was a cold November day when I first arrived in UK . I was fascinated by the snow till I had to walk on it! That was 40 years ago.

I was born in Calcutta, India where I obtained my medical degree  I trained and initially worked as an Anaesthetist.  I moved to the A/E department in Barnsley and thoroughly enjoyed working there, till I retired in September 2015.  I joined the U3A the very next day!

At the 20th anniversary of Barnsley U3A, inspired by the displays and chats with coordinators I joined 6 more groups. Now I am in 14 groups and counting!
I have learnt to make jewellery, perform magic, paint , sequence tap and line dance, edit photographs and write stories costing not a penny.

U3A provides motivation to be active,  mentally and physically . I’ve learnt new things, made new friends and listened to life experiences of members from different walks of life .

But most of all  U3A has given me a purpose to get up and live life!







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