Northumbria Region U3A

Focus on ...

This page is intended to give concise information about various and diverse topics that will be of general interest to members of the Northumbria Region. The most recent information is at the top of the page, the oldest at the bottom.

If you, as an individual or representing one of the U3As within the region, would like to submit a topic for inclusion then please click here website.


MOVING HOUSE and willing to Help with Research?

Dr Dominic Aitken at Newcastle University is investigating the housing preferences of homebuyers aged 50 and over. Participants just need to complete a questionnaire and return to Dominic in a pre-paid envelope. Participants will be entered into a prize draw – £100 and £50 intu shopping centre vouchers are up for grabs for the winner and runner-up, respectively.

To take part you need to be aged 50 or over, looking to move home in the next two years and looking to buy rather than rent. All information you provide will be confidential and anonymous and will be kept in line with General Data Protection Regulation and the 2018 Data Protection Act.

To take part or find out more contact:



Coquetdale U3A is proud to announce the first of what will become an annual public lecture series. We are pleased that our first speaker will be our President Dr Clive Wilkinson whose subject will be:

“THE REVENGE OF HISTORY - Nations and States: a geographical perspective on identity and conflict”

Friday 30th November 2018 at 7.30 pm
Rothbury Jubilee Institute
Bridge Street Rothbury NE65 7SD

For more information click here: Annual Lecture



The War Memorials group received a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the money has now been paid to us – in order to fund our last project:

‘Now This Lousy War is Over’.

Fool’s Gold Acoustic have written six songs; The Battle of Fatfield Bridge, Sketches, Postcards from France On the Stair, Roll Call, and Poppy Road. The war memorials group have written some connecting words. Performances will be as follows:

11th November 2018 at North Biddick Club at 12.00 noon
12th November at Usworth Holy Trinity Church at 2pm
13th November at Beamish Museum Band Hall at 11.30am (you will need Beamish entry for the day).
16th November at Washington Holy Trinity at 7.00pm
19th November 2018 at North Biddick Club – mainly for Wessington in U3A members

Tickets are free but admission to the events is by ticket only. For more information see the Wessington website, Groups - War Memorials Project page



Voice North has spread its wings and has now become Voice-Global.

Its new web address is

The following is a small extract from their website:

In contributing our experience, ideas, insights and vision, VOICE members become partners. They work with Universities and external organisations to:

  • Improve the focus, quality, relevance and impact of research
  • Stimulate and shape social and technological innovation
  • Enjoy lifelong learning and become research active citizens
  • Make a positive difference to the lives of older people across the globe

The involvement of VOICE members in research helps to focus academic knowledge, creativity and expertise on finding solutions and innovations that will make a difference to and have an impact on people's lives


GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

The following is a very small extract from the guidance on the main U3A website.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an update to the existing Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). GDPR will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018 and will replace the DPA.

What are the main changes from the DPA to the GDPR?

The main changes that affect U3As are the requirements relating to consent and accountability. U3As will need to gain consent from their members to obtain, retain and use their personal information. U3As will also need to evidence how you are complying with the principles of data protection which includes evidencing that members provided consent.

See the full advice by clicking on this link Data Protection Advice
However, you need to sign-in to the website.



Northumbria Region has run some Cyber Security courses recently, but in case you missed them or want to find out even more the Open University has released a free course in cyber security on their OpenLearn website.

The following is an extract from their site:

Our lives depend on online services. Gain essential cyber security knowledge and skills, to help protect your digital life.
We shop online. We work online. We play online. We live online. As our lives increasingly depend on digital services, the need to protect our information from being maliciously disrupted or misused is really important.

This free online course, Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online, will help you to understand online security and start to protect your digital life, whether at home or work. You will learn how to recognise the threats that could harm you online and the steps you can take to reduce the chances that they will happen to you.

With cyber security often in the news today, the course will also frame your online safety in the context of the wider world, introducing you to different types of malware, including viruses and trojans, as well as concepts such as network security, cryptography, identity theft and risk management.

This course has been developed by The Open University with support from the UK Government's National Cyber Security Programme and can be accessed free of charge.

Click here to go straight to the relevant web page: Cyber Security Course



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


Membership IT System - BEACON

In 2014, the NEC’s IT committee realised the potential for an online Membership Management System to help U3A committees manage their U3As and communicate with members. Some U3As were already using commercial online systems such as Wild Apricot. The IT committee’s then Chair, Antony Hughes, invited members interested in the subject to a meeting in London in January 2015. Some of the attendees had already created online systems for use by their own U3As. They agreed to come together to create a system that any U3A could use. This they did during early 2015.

The System goes Live
After extensive testing during the summer, in Autumn 2015 a few guinea-pig U3As started using the system ‘live’. It proved to be a big hit and soon there were dozens of U3As lining up to use it. The system was given the name ‘Beacon’.

Read the complete update on the Beacon system by clicking this link: Beacon Update pdf

To learn more, contact our Northeast Beacon Regional Coordinator: Alan Swindale (click the name to send an email)


Dates for your Diary
Sun Nov 11th
→Mon Nov 19th
Performances of Now this Lousy War is Over
Fri Nov 30th Coquetdale First Annual Lecture