University of the Third Age (U3A) aims to encourage men and women no
longer in full-time employment to join together in educational
creative/leisure activities. The word 'University' is used in its
original sense of people coming together to share and pursue learning
in all its forms.
concept of a place of learning for older and mature citizens, with more
leisure time at their hands, was developed in France in 1972, followed
by the creation of the 'Association Internationale des Universités du Troisième Age (A.I.U.T.A.)
idea spread throughout the world. The first British 'Universities of
the Third Age' - U3As - were formed in 1982, under the aegis of the
Third Age Trust (T.A.T.) which became an associate member of A.I.U.T.A.
There are now more than 700 local U3A groups throughout the UK, with a
growing total membership, now in excess of 200,000 men and women.
U3As are affiliated to the Third Age Trust, a registered charity. Local
U3A groups are autonomous self-help and self-financing units, each with
its own charitable status, where local activities are planned and
undertaken according to their members' own wishes and resources. All
administrative and study group activities in each U3A are carried out
on a purely voluntary and unpaid basis. Local committee members,
responsible for the day-to-day running, are also volunteers, who offer
themselves for annual elections by their fellow members at their local
called a University, no academic qualifications are required or given.
Those who teach are also those who learn. Men and women from all walks
of life, no longer in full-time employment, have the opportunity to
meet like-minded members to expand their knowledge, share interests or
acquire new skills. Members with a lifetime of experience, expertise or
know-how in professions, occupations or through hobbies are encouraged
to form study or interest groups. A mutual interest in learning for fun
leads to new friendships based on an expanded social experience. Many
study groups meet in members' own homes, adding a very important social
dimension. It has been scientifically acknowledged that keeping ones
brain 'working' can contribute to the health and wellbeing of older
people, particularly those living alone.
JUST AS IRON RUSTS FROM DISUSE, EVEN SO DOES INACTION SPOIL THE INTELLECT. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)