About the u3a

The Third Age: a time of creativity and fulfillment for older people.

What is the Third Age?
The Third Age refers to the period of time after the First Age of childhood dependence and the Second Age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. One in four of the UK population is in the Third Age.

What is u3a?
u3a stands for The University of the Third Age. u3a is a learning cooperative of older people which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activities.

Why are we called u3a?
A u3a is a university in the original sense of the word: a collective of people devoted to learning, with members not students, all of whom are in their Third Age.

Who can join u3a?
Anyone in the Third Age can join u3a and this includes people who are working part time. No qualifications are required, and none are given. There is no lower age limit for membership. Join an exciting self-help learning organisation!

The Third Age Trust
The Trust is the national representative body for the u3a movement in the UK providing a wide range of support services to the individual u3a branches and members, for example: insurance, copyright licensing, legal advice, resources for group activities, on-line tutored courses. Their website is worth a visit: www.u3a.org.uk.

How are u3as organised?
The u3a branches are democratic, self-funded, self-managed organisations which exist to provide education and leisure activities for men and women, no longer in full time employment, at minimal cost.

All of the activities indicated in the group descriptions are conducted on a voluntary basis of mutual help. Even if you don’t see yourself as a teacher, it’s expected that all our members will give as well as learn. In joining a group you are giving your cooperation to the successful outcome of that group’s activities; the opportunity will always be there for you to give more by organising the occasional activity; helping with group administration; starting a new group; serving on the committee; and so on.

All our group conveners plus u3a Committee Members act in a voluntary and unpaid capacity and, in all cases, give of their time freely and most generously. They are the essence of u3a because without them there could be no u3a.

Please do not under-estimate the amount of planning, organising and administration involved in running groups and arranging group outings. If plans go awry during an outing – which they are bound to do on occasion – please support your convener by cooperating in getting things back on track. Particular problems can arise when an activity is run to a very tight timetable – bus time, lunch time, admission deadline etc. Make sure that you’re aware of the timetable and please stick to it!

Constructive suggestions are always welcome. We hope you understand that negative criticism has no place here. If you can think of a better way of doing things, please put it forward.

Teesdale U3A was established in March 2007, and membership has grown steadily, numbering over 380 members.