Sandwell

Welcome

SANDWELL UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE [SU3A] - NOW IN OUR 15TH YEAR

Our motto is 'WE GLADLY LEARN, WE GLADLY TEACH'.

Welcome to our website which is updated regularly providing readers with an insight into not only what we do, but what we hope to achieve in the future. We aim to provide you with as much information as possible to encourage you to join us.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an update to the existing Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). GDPR applied in the UK from 25 May 2018 and replaced the DPA. In accordance with updated regulations, Sandwell U3A confirm that members’ personal details [home address, telephone numbers, email address] are held securely by our Membership Secretary and Chairman, and are not passed onto any other individual, outside organisation, or other U3A without your prior consent. This also applies to any information you give to Group Leaders – this is held securely by them. Membership Application Forms allow you to consent, or otherwise, to your photograph being published on the Sandwell U3A website. If you have any questions or concerns about GDPR, please see one of our Committee members.

Sandwell U3A was formed in 2004 when Bob Tidmarsh, and a small group of enthusiasts, set up a Steering Committee to develop a new U3A. We became a charity in our own right in November 2006 and we are part of a large national organisation with over 1,000 groups in the UK and more than 400,000 individual members. SU3A is an entirely independent local group reflecting the aspirations of older people in Sandwell and we now have over 140 members.

Here are a few questions and answers that might help and be of interest to you:

WHAT IS THE THIRD AGE?
The period of time after the First Age [of childhood dependence] and the Second Age [of full time employment and parental responsibility]. One in four of the UK population is in the Third Age.

WHY CALL IT A UNIVERSITY
It is a university in the original sense of the word: a group of people devoted to learning, with members, not students, all of whom are in their Third Age. This includes not just retired people, but people [usually over 50] no longer in full time employment.

WHERE IS SANDWELL?
The Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell was formed in 1974 and is one of seven local authorities making up the West Midlands conurbation. There are six towns in Sandwell - Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich, and it is an ethnically diverse area with an ever-changing population. Sandwell is situated at the centre of the motorway network and local conurbation and has the highest proportion of its area given to parks and open spaces, particularly Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve and Bird Sanctuary. Sandwell is also home to West Bromwich Albion football club.

FAMOUS PEOPLE BORN IN SANDWELL
These include: Denise Lewis, Robert Plant, Frank Skinner, Dame Julie Walters, Cat Deeley, Liza Goddard, Josie Lawrence, Steve Bull, Carlton Palmer, Richard Wattis, Matthew Marsden plus the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and the actress Madeleine Carroll.

WHAT DO SANDWELL U3A DO AND WHAT DO WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
We learn, and by teaching and serving the six towns of Sandwell, we aim to provide day-time educational, social and creative activities for older people no longer in full-time employment, offering an enjoyable way to meet new people whilst learning new things without any pressure. No qualifications are needed to join, and no exams are taken. SU3A offers an enjoyable way to meet new people whilst learning new things.

CHARITIES WE SUPPORT
Sandwell U3A supports SANDWELL YOUNG CARERS. Rather then members sending Christmas cards to each other we ask them to donate a gift for a young carer at this time of year. This has proved very successful with both the U3A and the Young Carers and gifts have been gratefully received. Please see the LINKS page to access their website].

We also support the 'HELP FOR HEROES' campaign and have donated treats for our troops whilst out in Afghanistan and the 'YELP FOR HEROES' campaign to which our members very kindly donated toys, dried food and treats for the doggies out in the war zone. On behalf of the soldiers and doggies 'THANK YOU' for your generosity. [Please see the LINKS site to access the website].

The charity FORCES SUPPORT provide general maintenance around the home and garden, the work the lost family member would have done for his or her family, or the jobs that have built up while a family grieves. For more information on this very worthwhile charity, which has a base in Carters Green, West Bromwich, please go to the LINKS page and check their website.

WHERE AND WHEN DO WE MEET?
Our monthly general meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at the Town Hall, West Bromwich [1.30pm for a 2pm start], and we finish about 3.30pm. The venue is easily accessible from West Bromwich town centre by bus, metro and train between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Our meetings give members an opportunity to get together in a pleasant social atmosphere; listen to speakers who talk on a wide range of topics, many of particular local interest, and fulfill our vision that we would provide social, cultural and educational activities for older people in Sandwell every day of the week. Potential new members will be made very welcome, hopefully with a view to a lasting relationship.

Our Annual General Meetings are held in February when Committee members can be proposed and elected by all members. However in 2020 our AGM will be held in April due to room availability.

WHAT INTEREST GROUPS DO WE CURRENTLY HAVE?
In addition to our general meetings we have 17 special interest groups involved with Art, Computers, Crown Green Bowling [spring/summer only], German, History and the Environment, Holiday Greek, Indoor Bowls, Italian, Latin, Line Dancing, Literature, Music Appreciation, Play Reading, Swimming, Tai Chi, Ukulele and Yoga. The majority of our interest groups meet in the Central Library or Town Hall, West Bromwich, and others meet in the Pavilion, Dartmouth Park and Kenrick Park Community Centre. Please check the individual group page on this website for further information. Our members are also very warmly welcomed to attend Ancestry sessions in Wednesbury library, although it is not part of Sandwell U3A.

We also organise regular visits to local theatres and outings to places of interest, and we have a lunch club where we visit local pubs/restaurants etc. In the last five years we have taken our members on holiday to Shanklin, Cromer, Tenby, Bournemouth, Torquay and Eastbourne, and our 2019 holiday will be to Newquay in Cornwall.

We are always keen to hear from potential members prepared to pass on their interests and knowledge by forming or facilitating new Interest Groups. More details of current Interest Groups can be found in the 'Groups' section.

HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?
By contacting our Membership Secretary [see Contact page], or come along to one of our monthly meetings and take it from there. Every effort is made to make new members welcome, and above all the aim of SU3A is to cater for the older people of Sandwell, so it is run entirely BY local members FOR local members.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN SU3A?
The criteria for our membership is clarified as follows:
Annual Membership is for a period of 12 months, January to December.
Anyone joining between 1 January and 30 September - membership fee is £15.00.
Anyone joining between 1 October and 31 December - membership fee is £7.50.
A member of another U3A will pay £11.50 per year [Capitation Fee of £3.50 is paid by that U3A].
Non-members of Sandwell U3A may attend up to three monthly meetings and interest group sessions. If they then wish to continue attending they will be required to become a member and pay the relevant fee.
We do not have reciprocal arrangements with any other U3A's.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I WANT MORE INFORMATION?
If you need any information about membership or any other enquiry you may have about SU3A then please go to our Contacts page.

WHO IS ON THE SU3A 2019 COMMITTEE [elected at the AGM on 11 February 2019]

Chair - Ann Hobson
Vice Chair - Ivan Wyle
Treasurer - Mavis Catchpowle
Secretary - Ann Wyle
Speakers Secretary - Alan Hobson
Membership Secretary - Mike Matthews
Communications Officers - Sue Clothier
Group Liaison and Membership Officer - Peggy Desorgher
Other members: Peter Beasley, Norman Hares, Cath Mills, Pat Stevens

Please check out the other pages on our website for further information and if there is anything you would like to ask then please contact our Membership Secretary whose details can be found in the 'Contact' section.

We have lots of photographs on various pages on our website taken by members past and present.

Thank you for taking the time to look at our website which we hope you find interesting and useful.