Welcome to Lymington U3A
Lymington U3A is an association for the retired and semi-retired who want to share their educational and leisure interests with like-minded people in an informal, friendly atmosphere. We offer a wonderful way to make friends and develop old or new interests in the local area.
At the heart of Lymington U3A are our interest groups, where you can socialise, study, be creative and generally develop a fitter mind or body. We currently have nearly 40 groups, led by volunteer members, with meetings usually held in their homes or a hired room. There are groups where you can play card or board games, speak foreign languages, study geology, Shakespeare, or discuss philosophy and current affairs, as well as do yoga, table tennis, meditation, play reading, garden appreciation – and more besides. The only limit on the number of groups you can join is the amount of spare time you have, and whether there’s space available in the groups that interest you. You can always set up a new group yourself: we’d be happy to help you to organise it. For details of our current interest groups, see the page headed “Groups”.
We also hold monthly meetings with a speaker in the Lymington Centre (see map). Recent topics have included Commoning in the New Forest, the first World War and the Beeching Report on the railways. See the page headed “Events” for information about forthcoming speakers.
A recent introduction is “TED Talks”, also held at the Lymington Centre. This involves showing a short video on a thought-provoking theme, followed by informal discussions in small groups over tea or coffee. The concept originated in the USA, where the talks initially focused on Technology, Entertainment and Design – hence the name “TED Talks” – but they now cover a huge range of topics, from science to business to global issues. See the “Events” page for details of the next talk.
Our Questors group organises coach trips to places of interest, ranging from a strawberry farm just outside Lymington to the Met Office in Exeter, a tour of Sparsholt Agricultural College to a boat trip from Wareham. Prices vary according to the cost of transport and any entry fee charged by the venue. You can see details of forthcoming trips on the Events page.
We publish a quarterly Newsletter about recent and forthcoming events for members.
Set up in 2001, Lymington U3A, which is a registered charity, currently has almost 500 members, and new recruits are always welcome. See the page headed “Membership” for more details on how to join us.
About the University of the Third Age
The aim of the U3A is to encourage local groups of people in their “third age” to develop their interests and continue learning in a friendly and informal environment through self-help. The “third age”, if you’re wondering, refers to the period after you have finished working full-time or raising your family, when you have time to pursue your interests or just try something new. And “U3A” stands for “The University of the Third Age”, a registered charity, which was set up in the UK in 1981.
The reference to a “university” may be misleading, implying as it does an expensive institution of formal learning, staffed by paid teachers and providing courses of limited duration with a certificate awarded at the end. Our “university” in Lymington couldn’t be more different. For a start, membership is inexpensive – just £20 for the first full year (or £10 for 6 months) and £15 p.a. thereafter. Our emphasis is on personal development and having fun rather than formal education, and always in an encouraging atmosphere of friendliness and informality. We don’t have paid staff, so all group leaders, trip organisers, etc. are unpaid volunteers. While some group leaders are experts in their subjects, others are simply interested amateurs who are willing to share their own interest in exploring a topic with other people. We also don’t have any premises, as we meet mainly in people’s homes, which keeps costs down, although we do hire a hall where necessary, e.g. for our monthly meetings or the yoga groups.
It’s up to each individual member to join in as many or as few of our activities as they like: some just want to go on an occasional outing or to listen to a talk from time to time, while others are members of several groups. If a member is interested in a particular activity likely to be of wider interest, but we don’t have a group that caters for it, then we’d be delighted to help you set up a new group devoted to that topic.
There are now over 400,000 individual U3A members in the UK, spread across more than a thousand local U3As. The U3A national body, called the Third Age Trust, looks after all the U3As in the UK, providing some administrative support and guidance, but each local U3A is independent. Click MAIN U3A at top right for more information on the U3A movement.