About the U3A.
The University of the Third Age is a unique self-help learning movement for people no longer in full time employment, and offers an opportunity for older people to pursue shared interests in many subjects within a sociable environment. It aims to encourage ‘third agers’ to engage in educational, creative and leisure activities at minimal cost by making use of the skills and knowledge of its members.
A university in the original sense of the word, the U3A is a collective of people devoted to learning, with members not students, and all of whom are in their Third Age.
The movement started in France in 1974 and spread to England in 1982 and to Scotland in 1987. There are currently more than 850 U3As in the United Kingdom, with over 290,000 individual members; There are over 40 branches in Scotland, with around 6,000 members.
How the U3A works
The members themselves run the Study Groups, serve on committees, provide administrative help, organise outings, study days etc on a voluntary basis. Everyone is encouraged to help in some way in the running of the organisation if they can, whether that is helping in a practical way (folding newsletters, making tea etc), or in running an event or joining a committee or offering to be a Group Organiser.