(see Events page for details and Dates for your Diary)


What do we mean by "the foreseeable future"? Given the current official advice, we think we should plan for it meaning until September, after our normal U3A summer break in late July/August, but if the situation improves sufficiently earlier, then we will of course restart activities as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

What is Suspended? This suspension covers all U3A activities that involve meeting people: e.g. our U3A drop-ins, monthly meetings and all group meetings/trips. this means that: -

  • the planned Drop-ins on March 31st, April 22nd and in May and June are cancelled.
  • the planned monthly meetings on April 14th, May 12th, June 9th and July 14th are cancelled.
  • we are advising Group Leaders to also suspend all group meetings for the same period, and plan to resume activities in September. If this causes some groups significant financial issues, then we'll discuss it with the group leader.

What about Membership Renewals? We are also suspending membership renewals for the same period, since members won't be getting the benefits their membership provides (it would also be difficult to organise membership renewals during this time). So your existing U3A membership will continue, and the normal 2 month period allowed for membership renewal will not even start until after the coronavirus situation has improved enough for normal U3A activities to restart. We will then also review whether a reduction is appropriate to this year's membership fee, to reflect the extraordinary year that it might turn out to have been.

We're naturally very sad to have to do all this. But this extraordinary situation demands it.


As well as having to cancel meetings and trips, our group leaders and members have had good ideas on keeping us in touch and our minds active until we can meet again. Other groups might be able to adapt some of these: -

Casual Striders group: are asking their members to submit photos for a newsletter that they've dubbed "virtualwalks". E.g. walk leaders’ photos from walk recces they've done, or members just submitting photos from their dog/exercise walks.

Birdwatching group: The planned 3-day trip in April has been rearranged with the hotel for April 2021 instead.

Questers group: The planned trip to Beamish is cancelled, but Sheila Bull hopes to rearrange it for a future date.

Natural History group: are hoping to do a group ‘newsletter’, with photos their members take “even if it's just something in their garden that looks nice”

Friday Walkers group: Linda Marshall the wonderful idea of asking group members to email her Radio 4-style 'Thought for the Day' ideas they’ve had, on staying positive and coping in these testing times, which she’s then regularly emailing to the group, along with other updates and information.

Drawing group: have asked members to photograph completed drawings to group leader Paul Kelly, who’s circulating them to the group and passing back feedback to the originator, and they’ve had a great response.

Industrial History: One of their members had the idea of them all watching a history TV programme that was coming up, and then sharing their thoughts on it.

Food for Thought discussion group: are emailing to the group topics/issues to think about, and inviting comments for sharing between the group.

The Visiting Gardens group (before we went into "lock down") visited the gardens of the Matson Ground Estate. The day was bright but cold and we had a lovely look round including the topiary and the little stream with about three bridges, running down through the rockery to the large pond. A few of us had some fun on the swing which was hung from the highest branch I have ever seen a swing on. Spring had definitely arrived as was saw snowdrops, daffodils, primroses and cowslips, to name but a few. Hope you all manage to keep safe and sane, I'm doing gardening instead of just visiting!!!!




The U3A was treated to a fascinating talk by Steve Halliwell on the history and geography of the isles of St Kilda (Click on a picture to enlarge)

Steve Halliwell Remains of Village on St Kilda St Kilda Dwellings
St Kilda Parliament Spinner on St Kilda Fisherman on St Kilda

Advance notice of the 3rd U3A Energy Conference

Cumbria Network of U3As is planning the 3rd Energy Conference : “Strategies for Tackling Climate Change” which will take place at Rheged, near Penrith on Thursday October 8th 2020. A host of eminent speakers will cover current progress and the actions needed at international, national and personal levels to reach the IPCC target of net zero carbon by 2050 . Watch this space!

North West Region of U3As Summer School Newton Rigg College near Penrith Monday 24th to Thursday 27th August 2020

The north-west U3A Region’s annual residential summer school at Newton Rigg College near Penrith is now open for booking. There are nine courses on offer and previous summer schools have been very much liked by our members who went on them. For full details see the Summer School 2020 page on the NW Region website. For booking details see the links on the right of that page and note that bookings made by 31st May get a £30 discount.
Please note, this year it will run from Monday 24th August to Thursday 27th August, to avoid travel close to the bank holiday weekend. The nine courses on offer are:

• Archaeology: “Exploring the archaeology of the borders”
• Art: “Memories of Childhood”
• Art Appreciation: “Iconic Artists”
• Geology: “Lakeland Ice and Fire”
• History: “Wars of the Roses, England from 1450 to 1485”
• Music Appreciation: “Making Friends with the Great Composers”
• Philosophy: “Literature: North-North-West”
• Ukulele: “a course at intermediary level”
• Science: “Famous scientists and their stories”

Further information and booking forms can be found at NEWTON RIGG SUMMER SCHOOL 2020


U3A Day

We are planning a significant publicity event in Barrow; Update: it is now planned for October 1st, coronavirus situation permitting. This is a new annual national U3A Day that national office is promoting, and U3As all around the country will be supporting it by holding events that same day.

Your U3A needs U and your ideas

We also need to raise the profile where we can of the U3A in advance of the U3A Day and it would be helpful that where you identify locations where we can put up our generic U3A posters that you put them up for us, such as in your local library. I can supply the posters and even the drawing pins if you want. Again email or phone as above. Thanks in advance for your ideas and actions.
Harry Knowles, Publicity Officer



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