Group Leader Notes
Bridport & District U3A - Group Leader Notes
About these guidelines
Whether you are an established Group Leader, taking over an existing group or interested in setting-up a new group, these guidelines are intended to help you establish and facilitate your group.
The U3A was set-up with the main aim of supporting and encouraging life-long learning for people in their third stage of life, with an accent on members sharing their knowledge and experience freely. Therefore, the availability to U3A members of a wide range of different interest/activity groups is the life-blood of the movement. A list of the current groups within the Bridport and District U3A is available on our website (https:/u3asites.org.uk/bridport).
The Group Co-ordinator
The Group Co-ordinator is appointed by the Committee to oversee the operation of all groups, to help set-up new groups and be available to support and advise all Group Leaders.
The current Group Co-ordinator is Paul Tebbutt firstname.lastname@example.org or 01398 425945. Sylvia Henry is the Assistant Group Co-ordinator (01308 426581).
The Group Leader
It is important to mention that the role of the Group Leader does not necessarily require you to be a specialist in the subject/activity offered nor to feel obliged to run every session. Rather, the role entails taking responsibility for discussing and co-ordinating the arrangement of the programme of activities, who is to take responsibility for their delivery, communication with current and potential members and resolution of any difficulties that may arise.
Starting an interest/activity group
Anyone wishing to start a group relating to an interest or activity not currently offered should in the first instance, notify the Group Co-ordinator with details of the proposed subject matter or activity and the level, if appropriate, at which it will operate e.g. “beginners”, “improvers” or “advanced”. A notice can then be circulated via the available communication channels including our website and notices at the monthly general meetings, inviting those interested to add their names to a list. A meeting can then be arranged to discuss and agree the group's formation. It is suggested topics for discussion include:
• Who is to lead the group and if required, a deputy
• The purpose of the group including the range, content and nature of the
• When, how often and where* the group will meet
• The optimal size of the group
• What skills, expertise and knowledge relating to the proposed activity
exist within the group
• What additional resources may be required
• Study/learning methods to be used e.g. books, DVDs, online
material/courses, volunteer experts
• Sharing of responsibility for organisational matters, such as room
• An indication of any likely costs
- A list of public meeting places is available from the Bridport Tourist Information Office.
Some general pointers about learning & facilitating your group:
• Use of a variety of learning/study techniques avoids the risk of members
• All members should be encouraged to participate
• Everyone's opinion should be valued and respected, even if people differ
• Allow time for socialising, some of the best discussions take place over
a cup of tea!
• Keep to start and finishing times
Group Leaders are requested to observe the following points:
• Notify the Group Co-ordinator of any changes in group arrangements such
as time of meetings, venue or cessation of the group
• Ensure website information relating to their group is accurate
• If a member stops coming try to find out why, as there may be a reason
which can be overcome e.g. difficulty with transport
• If a member fails to attend the group for a period of three months
without a reason being provided, it is reasonable to advise them that
their place will be offered to someone on the waiting list, when such a
• Keep a note of any U3A member interested in joining your group to whom
you cannot yet offer a place and contact them when a space becomes
• If the waiting list increases encourage the formation of a new group,
with support from the Group Co-ordinator, if required
• At beginning of May, email a current list of group members to the
The national recommended contribution towards refreshments provided by the host, if meeting in a member's home, is 30 pence.
Hall and venue hire
Whilst many groups meet in members' homes (sometimes in rotation), some larger groups may require alternative accommodation for which a fee is payable. In the case of the latter, any rental agreement must first be agreed by the U3A committee (via the Treasurer, Valerie Gierth on 01308 420301) before signing. In all cases the agreement must be in the name of Bridport & District U3A. Invoices for room hire rental should be sent to the Treasurer for settlement. Bridport & District U3A pays the total sum, group members contributing the balance, which the Group Leader is responsible for collecting and passing onto the Treasurer, preferably via cheque.
Some groups may require special equipment/resources for which there is a charge. Although all groups should aim to be self-funding, some support with the certain types of expenditure may be considered on the basis of exceptional circumstances. All such applications must, however, be referred to the Committee via the Treasurer for a decision before any expenditure is incurred.
All other expenditure relating to U3A activities such as the cost of outings and refreshments are paid by the participates directly.
Record of spending
Whenever expenditure is incurred by any group, it is important that the Group Leader keeps a record of all receipts and payments.