South East U3A Region



Ideas for running interest groups at your u3a whilst coping with the current Pandemic.

Group Leaders Handbook – have one available in case anyone comes forward to lead a Group.
Larger groups could split themselves into groups of six and that group can decide how to meet. You could have Zoom only groups, groups that are happy to meet in someone’s house as we did when the organisation was formed all those years ago, groups happy to meet outside. You could have what is being called ‘hybrid’ groups. 6 in a house could connect with more by Zoom etc
Trust u3a – is running 30 Interest Groups online.

Zoom Talks
Are you looking for ideas for talks on Zoom? Here are some Zoom Talk Ideas.

Live performances of songs BUT with the histories and stories about the songs told supported with fascinating visuals: all shared through zoom.
And there’s plenty to join in with! Over 90 U3As nationally (and internationally!) have so far enjoyed a show: if you would like to receive full information, please get in touch:
If you wonder what a show is like, please have a look

Steve & Carol Robson
Fool’s Gold
Acoustic Music - Acoustic Musicians
tel:0795 7948116

Zoom Plays
Reigate & Redhill U3A have produced several Zoom Plays -Gallery Reigate & Redhill U3A Surrey The most complex was the "Zoom play "The Front Window". It was scripted, rehearsed and recorded, cut re-rehearsed all on Zoom and then heavily edited. A link to it was included in the June U3A national newsletter.
Other shorter individual pieces have been rehearsed on Zoom, recorded on laptops or tablets then edited with titles, music, images etc.
The keys are scripting, rehearsal and editing. Quite a lot can be done using imovie or equivalent. For the more complex piece (The zoom play) I used Final Cut Pro X on my iMac.
A number of other pieces are in preparation including autobiography, monologues, sketches and so on. Our intention is to keep a rolling programme going for as long as we have the energy - Mike Cockett, Chair.

Chis Wright is the u3a National Subject Adviser for Quizzes – he has lots of quizzes available if you ask – ( TVN recently ran a Quiz Study Day – including the History of Quizzes.)

Future Learn course - free
( The added value of the interest group is to make the
course into a shared learning experience where members can discuss their ideas, impressions
and reactions e.g.. How to Adjust to retirement etc.
There are lots of other sources of free on line courses, including the Open
University, Ted Talks etc.

Jokey prizes. Members can Invite their families and friends along to an event – award jokey
prizes for new recruits, who can attend 1 or 2 group meetings before they join.

Treasure Hunt/s – around your town/neighbourhood.

Murder Mystery – in the local park – small groups – however many is allowed. (currently 6)

Family History – you don’t have to be an expert or have an expert to do research in your Group.

Tai Chi - you don’t have to be an expert or have an expert to do research on line with your Group and help each other.

Poem Exchange
Send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know them), with the email subject ‘ A Poem Exchange’.[ It should be a favourite text/ verse/ meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Or not. Don’t agonise over it. If you’d like to send a poem in your own language and provide a translation.]

After you’ve sent the short poem/ verse/ quote etc to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter in to a new email. Move my name to position 1, and put your name in position 2. Only two names should show in the new email. Send it to 20ish friends, BCC (blind copy).Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new pleasures. The turnaround is fast as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once.

Swap Shop
Swap ideas with other local u3as as to which groups work at the moment

Zoom Talk
Mark Thompson .Mark Thompson co-presented BBC Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara O’ Briain. He now covers science news on GMB, writes books, hosts a podcast called ‘The Pocket Astronomer’ and perform science theatre shows. He can be booked to perform an astronomy talk via Zoom to your members. It would last an hour and take you on a guided tour of the Universe.The charge is £50 for the talk and numbers would not be limited. ----------------------

National Learning Initiatives


There is now a radio podcast on the u3a YouTube channel. Check it out here radio u3a More to follow !!

There are a number of national learning initiatives as well some national ways of keeping in touch and some ideas to keep interest groups running. We have the Trust Facebook group at: which we use to promote our various learning initiatives as well as discussion forums, which you can join at: you can sign up to the National Newsletter which is the best way of keeping in touch with everything that is happening

Digital ‘How to’ Guides
Click here for latest updates.

National Learning
You will find under the ‘learning’ tab on the yellow menu on our website (
The diary project 2020 which is a way for members to record their experiences during this unprecedented time – we will be publishing a selection of these for each of the days the lockdown continues
A fortnightly photo gallery where we select up to 15 unusual and/or interesting photos that members have sent in on a particular theme. The theme at this time is ‘connect’. We are also launching an interactive interest group to talk about what makes a good photo and why the photos were chosen
A weekly quiz with another round and answers every Tuesday
A weekly golf challenge with another round and answers every Wednesday
An invitation for members to join the BTO Birdtrack initiative and to submit their own pictures and sighting to our site.
A weekly maths challenge with another round and answers every Thursday
Guided sessions of yoga light and chair yoga sessions as well as advice from the yoga Subject Adviser
A weekly mindfulness session with a link to a new practice every Friday
Daily sessions from Mr Motivator and ideas to keep up physical exercise.
Keep learning updates with ideas from u3as across the UK as to how they are staying in touch and carrying on interest groups
A Made it! Make it! initiative to showcase the craftwork of members during this period and to give other members tips on how they could make their own
We also have a lot of content from Subject Advisers who have updated their pages in light of the current situation to encourage people to participate from home, for example there are links to YouTube videos, ways to practise table tennis skills, links to free web resources.

u3a Photography and Affinity Photo
Hamble Valley u3a. ( HVu3a) Photography Group now has a sub Group for Affinity Photo (using the photo editing tool). Both groups have been meeting monthly on Zoom for the past six months is looking for other u3as that
have a Photography or Affinity Groups. They would be interested in having cross Group Zoom meetings to share experiences, expertise and challenges.