The Wider u3a
The wider u3a The national organisation, the Third Age Trust, has as its motto Learn, Laugh and Live. The aim is to have fun whilst pursuing your interests and, as a consequence, stay fitter, healthier and fully engaged in your local community. There are over 1000 u3as in the UK with over 420,000 members.
The University of the Third Age. What does that mean?
The "first age"of life is the childhood years up to when you start work, the "second age" is the years at work, and the "third age" is the years of retirement. L'Université du Troisième Age, was founded in Toulouse in France in 1972 where universities began to provide educational opportunities for older adults. The experiment met with almost immediate success and soon spread to other European countries. By 1981 it had come to Britain but here it was adapted by a group of Cambridge enthusiasts to become a movement based on self-help and mutual aid, a kind of 'intellectual democracy'. British u3as use the word "University" in its ancient context, meaning a "Community of Scholars".
The u3a wants older people to remain active in their retirement and continue lifelong learning. Everyone is encouraged to contribute to the running of their u3a in some way.
Here in Britain, each u3a is autonomous but there are regional groupings of local u3as and a national administrative body called The Third Age Trust. The Third Age Trust produces a quarterly magazine titled "u3a News" and organises an annual conference in the summer for delegates from the local u3as.
Around the world u3as now have millions of members. They are called "Seniors Universities" in China and in the USA they are called "Institutes of Learning in Retirement". The international body is (called AIUTA) is based in France, and holds an international congress every 2 years.
The u3a is one of Britain's fastest growing organisations. There are over 1000 u3as nationally with about 420,000 members (2018). Our Evesham and District u3a has growing rapidly since it started in 2001 and now has 80 Interest Groups with over 1000 members.