South East U3A Region


What's an SLP?

A Shared Learning Project involves a team, usually from more than one U3A, exploring a specific topic and, more often than not, the team works with an outside institution.

A Shared Learning Project Coordinator is needed to act as a contact point for information about SLPs in the South East Region.

You need to be someone who doesn’t mind talking to U3A groups or offering advice to any U3A interested in starting any type of project. You might be someone who could develop links with local museums, galleries and universities, so that project partnerships are formed within local communities.

If you are interested in exciting projects delivering the concept of lifelong learning in your region, then this volunteer role might be just for you.

If you think you might be interested in joining our team of regional SLP coordinators, please contact the national coordinator for more information and role description or just for a chat to find out what is involved.

What is a good subject for a project?

Wherever your interests lie, there is scope for an SLP. You might approach a museum or a stately home to see if they can propose a topic: it could involve researching local history or objects in a museum or the family in a stately home. Or you might get together with other U3As to explore a theme (a river, a town, a person, a philosophy or an idea).

SLPs provide an ideal opportunity to meet new people and to enjoy new subjects.

The SLP Concept

SLPs were first conceived in 2002 and started with a British Museum project. Over one two hundred projects have been completed by U3As across the Regions. Reports and articles on many of these projects appear in ‘Sources’ or in Third Age Matters (back copies are on the U3A website See Sources June 2011, June 2013 and January 2014, February 2017 for write-ups of South East Region projects).

Projects can be of any duration but usually last for three months, finishing with a meeting or informal get-together to discuss the findings. U3As colaborating on an SLP usually prepare a written report or a booklet which they may sell. For example the South West London U3As recently researched places of interest in South West London and produced a booklet 'Out and About in South West London' which local members purchased. Copies of all SLP reports are available from the Resource Centre on request.

Citizen 800 at Royal Holloway University, Egham, Surrey

Research Retreats in 2019

The third year of this project is offering research days open to all U3A members. Previous experience is not required and work uses Royal Holloway equipment with full instruction given. Parking is available on the campus or a short bus ride to the campus from Egham rail station.
Please go to this link to look at the days offered and book your ticket. Just look under U3A on the website.

Local Shared Learning Projects

The following projects have been completed in the South East Region More are in progress or expected to start:

Salisbury:Looking at collections at Salisbury Museum
Andover:Changes in Andover between 1945 and 2000
Canterbury:Aspects of the town's history for Forwich Visitors Centre
Lymington:Lymington U3A working with St Barbe's Museum on oral history
Sarum:Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum's archaeological collections
Wokingham: Researching the Berkshire Records Office to provide information for production of a Gazeterre of Education in Berkshire 1770 – 1830
Thames Valley Network:(1)Walking the Thames Path, researching wildlife with final conference
Bognor Regis:Holidays in the Bognor Regis in the 1950s leading to book
Sun Network:South Downs
Gillingham:Helping the Industrial Heritage Group research Fairford Gas Works
Crawley:Working with museum to research development of town with coming of railways
Shoreham:Life in the Arun Valley an archaeological study together with 4 other organisations
Sussex area:Sussex Myths and Spirits

A great opportunity

SLPs offer you an opportunity to:-

  • Join in and make new friends
  • Enjoy yourself and get out and about
  • Be useful to the wider community
  • Broaden your interests