Basildon & Billericay University of the Third Age (U3A) is one of nearly 1,000 U3As nationally with a combined membership exceeding 365,000. We are a growing, dynamic and outward-looking movement which has a positive and creative approach to retirement. We aim to take part with others in informal learning and leisure activities - thus providing an opportunity to remain active and furthering good mental and physical health.
The “Third Age” refers to the period in life after the ‘First Age’ of childhood dependence and the ‘Second Age’ of full-time employment and parental responsibility, when time can be found for personal interests and creativity. The word “University” is used in its original sense - people coming together to pursue and share learning. Anyone in their Third Age in Basildon, Billericay, Wickford and neighbouring villages may join us. No qualifications are required and none are given. All you need is enthusiasm to share interests and skills, and to learn new ones, and the benefits will be self-fulfilment rather than degrees.
Membership We are a registered charity - no. 1012706 - originally formed in 1989 and self-managed by an elected Committee. We’re also self-funded by an annual membership subscription, which is £15 for the year from 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020 (£10 if joining after 1 October 2019). We have about 520 members and, if you would like to join us, you will be very welcome - please see the Contact page.
Our members receive Monthly Newsletters and we hold monthly meetings on the 4th Friday of most months, starting at 2:30 pm, in the Canon Roche Centre behind the Catholic Church at 21 Laindon Road, Billericay (with car parking available). They usually begin with a guest speaker (normally from outside U3A but occasionally from within it too), followed by a business session, and conclude with refreshments - free tea and biscuits - and the opportunity to mix and chat. See Events for this year’s programme of speakers. Occasionally we have a social afternoon with demonstrations of the work of some of our Groups. Visitors are very welcome and, if you decide to join U3A on the day, your £2 admission fee will be deducted from your first year’s membership subscription.
Members have the opportunity to remain active and involved by pursuing an almost endless range of interests in the company of like-minded individuals . They may join over 40 Interest/Activity Groups. These usually meet in mornings or afternoons in a member’s home but, if this isn’t appropriate because of a Group’s size or activities, local halls may be hired with the agreement of the Committee. Where possible, members help each other with transport. For more information on the current range of learning and leisure opportunities available, please see the Groups page
Basildon & Billericay U3A is a member of the Association of Essex U3As - which maintains links between neighbouring U3As. The Association organises study days, which all U3A members may attend, and is a network enabling members belonging to similar Interest/Activity Groups across the county to keep in contact with each other and share their knowledge and experience.
In U3A you are part of both a national & world-wide learning organisation. The Third Age Trust has been the national support and advisory organisation for the U3A movement in the UK since its creation in 1982. It maintains the national website. Members of Basildon & Billericay U3A receive “Third Age Matters” magazine published 5 times throughout the year by the Third Age Trust, and also can borrow from their extensive range of DVDs and other learning/study resources.
And U3A is not just confined to the UK. It’s a truly international movement, which began when the seeds for ‘Lifelong Learning for Older People’ were sown at a French Summer School in Toulouse in 1972. This led within the year to the formation of the International Association of U3As (AIUTA) and the idea quickly spread to countries all around the world.