POCKLINGTON & DISTRICT U3A: Information Sheet
The Principles of the U3A
A University of the Third Age (U3A) is a learning co-operative of older people, which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activities.
U3As are open to all in their third age, which is defined not by a particular age but by a period in life in which full time employment has ceased.
Members form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members.
What is the U3A?
U3A began in France where the Université du Troisième Age was founded by Toulouse University in 1972. They introduced courses for retired students and early developments were heavily dependent upon university sponsorship.
By contrast, due to the long history of Adult Education in the UK, it was decided that the British U3As would be more independent of the academic world, drawing instead on the wealth of knowledge and expertise available within the membership. This more informal ‘shared learning’ model has now been adopted by many countries. The original French name has been retained but we use the word ‘university’ in its original sense - ‘a co-operative of people devoted to a particular activity’. No academic qualifications are required, none are awarded and professional tutors are only occasionally used.
Members are encouraged to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience to shared learning. They may be a learner in one group and a leader, helper or tutor of another. They may have expertise from their working lives or an interesting hobby that they are willing to share with others. As well as educational subjects, U3A activities cover practical skills, social activities, physical activities and leisure pursuits.
The POCKLINGTON & DISTRICT U3A is a registered charity organised by a voluntary Committee of Trustees that is elected annually at the A.G.M. The Trustees take on the responsibility of ensuring that the organisation adheres to the stated aims and objectives of all U3As published by The Third Age Trust (see overleaf) and to the rules of the Charity Commission regarding governance and finance, as well as to the Constitution of their own U3A.
The core of activities is provided through interest groups that meet in hired rooms, members’ homes or out of doors. These groups run on a self-help basis and are led by members. An annual Information Booklet provides members with details of all the groups and their activities. Further details are then obtained by contacting the Group Leaders or at the monthly Drop-in meetings held on the first Thursday of the month at The Community Centre, Burnby Hall, Pocklington, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Here, members and prospective members can come along for a coffee and a chat and get up-to-date information about events and activities.
For those with access to the internet, our website www.pocklingtonu3a.org.uk provides information about the groups and the Committee. Certain information on the website, for example the Group Leaders’ contact details, is available only to members when they have Signed In. Anyone who is interested in starting a group should discuss the proposal with the Vice-Chair or any member of the Committee.
The annual subscription, which is due on 1st April, is currently £10 and includes a capitation contribution to the national organisation which covers insurance for activities and a quarterly national magazine. The subscription also funds local costs such as Drop-ins, the Information Booklets and capital items for use by groups. All members are issued with a membership card which they need to produce from time to time when attending groups and which gives entry to Drop-ins.
New members are invited to a welcome meeting that enables them to meet members of the Committee, along with other new members, and to ask any questions they may have about the organisation and its many activities. An invitation to this meeting is sent to out with the membership card.
The Third Age Trust
The Third Age Trust is the national umbrella organisation for UK U3As and operates through a National Executive Committee to support the network of affiliated U3As throughout the country. All U3As are members of the Third Age Trust and must abide by the Objects and Principles it lays down. It encourages the formation of new U3As, publishes the ‘Third Age’ news magazine and organises conferences at various venues in the UK.
However, all U3As are operationally independent with members organising their own activities and making their own decisions through their elected representatives. They are self financing on a non-profit making basis with no political or religious allegiance and develop according to the needs and resources of the area.
The Third Age Trust also offers Online Courses on various subjects, e.g. creative writing, art, digital imaging and historical topics. These are delivered over a set number of weeks and can be downloaded for private study at the convenience of members. Their website at www.u3a.org.uk has a range of resources and information available to members and members are encouraged to register, creating their own personal log-on, to make best use of these resources.
Further information on any aspect of Pocklington & District U3A activities can be obtained from any Committee Member or by visiting our website at www.pocklingtonu3a.org.uk
“Those who teach shall also learn and those who learn shall also teach”