Northumbria Region U3A

Research / Shared Learning Projects

Hello my name is Mary Dunning and I have taken over as Shared Learning Projects coordinator with a view to encouraging and supporting all our u3as to develop more SLPs, and to help with understanding of shared project work.

A good place for me to start would be to take stock of our current position in order to see where we are in the region. So to that end could you let me know if your u3a has :
a) Any projects that have recently been completed, are ongoing or have been halted by the pandemic
b) Have ideas for new projects, both now and when we are able to recommence more normal activity
c) Would like to be involved in a session with other u3as to explore and share this issue.

I will collate the responses and I am hoping to organise a Zoom meeting late January or early February to give us all the opportunity to explore and share information, thoughts and ideas about SLPs and the way forward.

Mary Dunning SLP coordinator, 10/1/21


High Street Research Project

Please read about this here: November Update

Kelvin Rushworth, 24/11/20


Shared Learning Projects – What are they?

Shared Learning Projects have been part of the U3A movement since 2002 and form part of the National Research Network. They are all varied but all must have the following characteristics:

• Shared: typically means two or more U3As or/and an outside institution are involved**

• Learning: learning should take place either in the form of new skills to complete the task or in the research findings and ideally should be both

• Project: the project is agreed between the various partners. It is a clearly defined piece of work which has a beginning, middle and end lasting anything from 3 to 12 month. Projects provide stimulation and enjoyment for members and bring individual members and U3As together as well as raising the profile of the U3A.

• Shared: the results of the findings should be outlined in some sort of presentation, report, web page, book, or display. Projects can also be reported in Third Age Matters magazine or Sources Online to share with other U3A members. All projects should be submitted to the U3A National Research Database, via the self-reporting form or by a SLP Coordinator as they commence and updated on completion.

Shared Learning Projects are supported by the Shared Learning Projects Committee (SLPAC) chaired by the SLP National Coordinator. Each Region aims to have one or two SLP Coordinators. Trustees and Project Leaders can help by keeping their regional coordinator informed of projects as they happen. Coordinators in return can offer advice, circulate information to networks and U3As within their region and visit U3As to encourage and support new projects. SLP Coordinators also help to develop suitable projects for U3A members in partnership with outside institutions, such as Museums and Universities and other organisations.

**Sometimes as many Interest Groups as possible within a U3A choose to work together on a single project. This can be the feature of an Open Day. This is not strictly a SLP, but Coordinators also encourage this type of project. Projects undertaken in a single Interest Group should also be encouraged in the hope that this will result in a presentation to their U3A, a display, website entry, leaflet for local interest etc.

For more information click this link:
SLP Coordinator


There is a guide produced by the National Research Subcommittee. Download or view it here Research Guide

The National Research Subcommittee has produced a database with the aim of recording any research that involves the U3A.

Find the database at


21st Century Northumbria Herbal

This project has its own page, click on the name above.



If your project involves external communications or interaction with the press then look at this document (in 3 parts):
Communications 1
Communications 2
Communications 3