What is the U3A (University of the Third Age)?

All U3As (Universities of the 3rd Age) are self-governing organisations; registered as charities under the auspices of The Third Age Trust, to enable people who are no longer in full time employment to meet, in an informal group environment, with others who share their interests and hobbies. Swindon U3A manages these groups as enjoyable activities, first and foremost - very rarely for formal qualifications. Members can choose from over 140 different ‘interest’ groups, ranging in categories from Arts & Crafts to Music; Languages to Health; History to Keeping Fit; in a wide variety of ways, as well as many more recreational and academic activities.

The Aim: to MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY, A HEALTHY MIND - and TO MAKE FULL USE OF OUR 3rd AGE.

Who can be members of the U3A?

Anyone not in full time employment.

How is the Swindon U3A Organised?

Into a series of groups running a number of activities. There may be one or more groups for a particular activity and there may be several levels for a particualr activity e.g. a language. A typical group has one or two group organisers, who organise the group. The groups run on the basis of everyone participating and providing a contribution and the group organisers are not intended to be permanent tutors. A management committee provides the co-ordination across all the groups and provides support to the group organisers in setting up groups and finding venues.

How can I find out about an activity group?

  1. For a summary of the when, where and what of an activity,
  2. Email the activity's group organisers using the email address.
  3. Arrange with the group organiser to attend for a 'taster' session to see what goes on.

Do I have to pay for each group session?

Your subscription covers the basic hire cost of any venue that is used. Any other resources used in a session need to be covered by the individual members of the group. Some groups also have refreshments and those have to be paid for. However no venue hire is paid for over the last six weeks or so of the year in the summer. The venue costs for any meetings in this period have to be funded by the members of the individual groups.

When do the groups meet?

Because the U3A is intended for people not in full time employment, the groups meet during the day.

How often do the groups meet?

This depends on the individual group; it may be once a week, once a fortnight or once a month, with the bias being to once a fortnight. Some groups don't meet during the school holidays.

When does a subscription year start?

The Swindon U3A year runs from 1st September to 31st August. New members are not accepted for the month of May. New members may join from 1st June and will be members for the next year starting on 1st September and also for the remainder of the current year.

How much is the subscription?

For 2017-18 the subscription is £32 per person. There are no discounts, except for members joining in March onwards. No members may join for the current year after the end of April, but new members may join for the following year from June and still attend meetings in the current year. Part of the subscrption is an affiliation fee to the Third Age Trust and if you join more than one U3A, you need only pay one affiliation fee.

How can I pay for the subscription?

By cheque, cash, standing order or BACS (direct bank transfer). Other methods are being investigated, but most have a significant charge which would have to be passed on.

How many activities can I do?

Your subscription covers you for as many activities as you would like to join. However if there are two groups which are essentially the same, these are to cater for the number of people who wish to participate in that particular activity, and try and eliminate waiting lists.

How do I start a new group activity?

  1. If you have a SUCAS account, look at the Group Support pack item in the member's menu under Miscellaneous
  2. Contact the Group Coordinator, who will provide you with further help and a hard copy of the Group Organiser's pack if you need it
  3. Prepare an article for the newsletter on your proposed activity
  4. If you get sufficient interest, discuss venues with the Accommodation Officer

What else do I get for my subscription?

See Membership Benefits in the Membership dropdown in the menu bar above for more details.

How do I contact individual people in the U3A?

There are facilities for sending a message to the major roles of the Swindon U3A, e.g. Chairman, in the Send a Message page. Where people leading activitiy groups have provided e-mail addresses, these groups may also be contacted via this website. U3A members have additional communication facilities, via Swindon U3A publications and the website.

How can I find out more about the Third Age Trust?

Visit their web site which can be found under Other Links in the menu bar above.

What qualifications are needed?

No entry qualifications are required, no certificates or diplomas are awarded and there are no examinations.

Who are the Group Organisers?

In the U3A there is no distinction between those who learn and those who teach.  Group organisers are themselves members and are often participants in other groups.  It could be you.

What does one get from the U3A?

The main aim of the U3A is to enhance the life of people not in full time employment and to assist them in pursuing their interests within a social environment.  It is run by members for its members.

What is Freshers' Fair

Once a year at the 'beginning of the year', usually on the last Saturday in August or the first Saturday in September, the Swindon U3A runs a Freshers' Fair to showcase all that we do.  If you are new to the U3A and want to see what we have to offer, come along to the Freshers' Fair.   More information can be seen by clicking here.