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.

If anyone in the vicinity of Newton Aycliffe - Darlington, South Durham - is interested in Craft please click here for information about the Crafters Companion


The Messenger

The Messenger is your newsletter so may I urge you all to think about writing an article about what your U3A has been doing and including a photograph or two.
Would you please arrange to let me have your contributions for the newsletter by 12th April
Mary Barlow Sunderland U3A



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
The platform which they spoke about at the quarterly meeting is not up and running yet, and if you wish to submit ideas for research which you think would be helpful for people, please email them at


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 the Beacon Coordinator: Lesley Asman (click the name to send an email)