Cambourne & District

Welcome to the Cambourne & District U3A!

(NOTE - we are based in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire not Camborne, Cornwall!)

U3A (The University of the Third Age) is a well-established (over 40 years' old!) UK-wide movement which brings together people in their ‘third age’ to develop their interests and continue their learning in a friendly and informal environment. If you’re wondering what we mean by the third age – it is a time after you have finished working full-time or raising your family and have time to pursue your interests or just try something new. U3A has a 'university' of members who draw upon their knowledge and experience to teach and learn from each other but there are no qualifications to pass – it is just for pleasure. Learning is its own reward.

It’s all voluntary; a typical U3A will be home to many activity groups covering hundreds of different subjects – from art to zoology and everything in between. Formed over 30 years ago, there are now over 1,000 U3As across the UK, with thousands of interest groups between them and more than 400,000 members nationally – plus we’re growing every day. The various U3As operate independently, under the umbrella of the Third Age Trust. The U3A movement is non-religious and non-political and has three main principles:

The Third Age Principle

  • Membership of a U3A is 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 promote the values of lifelong learning and the positive attributes of belonging to a U3A.
  • Members should do all they can to ensure that people wanting to join a U3A can do so.

The Self-help Learning Principle

  • Members form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members.
  • No qualifications are sought or offered. Learning is for its own sake, with enjoyment being the prime motive, not qualifications or awards.
  • There is no distinction between the learners and the teachers; they are all U3A members.

The Mutual Aid Principle

  • Each U3A is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent but a member of The Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the U3A movement.
  • No payments are made to members for services rendered to any U3A (other than refunding previously-authorised expenses).
  • Each U3A is self-funded with membership subscriptions and costs kept as low as possible.
  • Outside financial assistance should only be sought if it does not imperil the integrity of the U3A movement.

Formation of the Cambourne and District U3A

The Launch Meeting for the Cambourne and District U3A was held 27 June 2018, giving potential members a chance to find out about the U3A and the plans for a local group. Encouraged by the response, the steering group formally applied for affiliation on the 11th of July, and the inaugural meeting was on the 20th of July in The Hub (main hall) from 10.30 – 12.00 pm. Refreshments were available first and those attending were able to sign on as members and join interest groups (see Groups page). This was followed by the formal announcements, and ended with a very interesting talk by the CEO of Wood Green Animal Shelter.

Members' Monthly Meetings

The inaugural meeting established the pattern for our monthly meetings: first, a time for signing-in, then refreshments and chat; next, any formal announcements; and finally, a talk from an invited speaker. In normal times the meetings are held on the third Friday of the month, except there is no meeting in August, as many members are tied up at these times. In addition, there will be no monthly meeting if it would coincide with Easter (as happened in 2019), and the July meeting normally doubles as our AGM. For a list of upcoming meetings, please see the Events page.

Guests are welcome to attend a meeting to find out more about us!