Welcome to Thanet U3A

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a National Organisation for people aged 50 and over.

Our Thanet membership year runs from April to April. The cost is £16 for Single Membership and £28 for Joint Membership (2 people living at the same address). To join a group or attend a U3A event you MUST be a Thanet U3A Member! As a member you will receive our Thanet Newsletter and Third Age Matters Magazine 4 times a year, plus, you can attend all our U3A talks completely free! You may also like to join an Interest Group or apply for a Course, go on an outing and attend various U3A events.

To join THANET U3A, please email via the Contacts Page. Your membership will begin straight away and you won't need to renew until April 2021. We always welcome new members who are willing to help run groups, courses and events.

Please note, everyone in Thanet U3A is a VOLUNTEER and sometimes we have holidays or family visiting and cannot always respond to your enquires immediately. Our new Membership Secretary Chris Read is now up and running, for information on joining please email Chris via the Contacts Page.

Renewal forms will be sent out with the Spring newsletter to all members, this redesigned form will also include a gift aid declaration for those members to complete who are eligible. Please remember our membership year runs from April to April.

We aim to treat all members of Thanet U3A equally, irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, faith, disability and other circumstances. If you have any concerns or special needs that you would like us to cater for or to be aware of, please do not hesitate to let us know.


'ON THE EDGE' an interesting new Group, please see the listing on the Groups Page, to join, please email Adrian Everix via the Contacts Page


We now have a new U3A 'GO WITH' Group organised by Ross Holding, for more information please email Ross via the Contacts Page.


We have a Thanet U3A Facebook page looked after by our Vice Chair Jacqui Wellbrook. All members are welcome to join the Facebook Group for up to date information.

Our U3A TALKS are held in St. Peter's MAIN Church Hall at 2pm for 2.30pm start. Come at 2pm and enjoy refreshments and a friendly chat first. FREE to all members. Our next talk is by our Thanet U3A Biographies Group on Thursday 26th March. They will be talking about various people connected to Thanet.


For links to other local organisations, please click on the LINKS Page.

Jo Renton is our current Thanet U3A Chair until May 2020, when she will be standing down, having completed her 3 years as Chair. Members can read her regular reports in our Newsletter.

An Introduction to Thanet U3A by our past Chairman Colin Harvey

U3As are self-help, self-managed, lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work which provide opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups. Not for qualifications, though, but for fun or personal satisfaction. Each U3A is autonomous and different.

Peter Laslett, the driving force behind the setting up of the U3A in Britain in the early 1980s, was determined it would be a self-help, self-financing organisation that would never be dependent on public funds. Envisaging a membership made up of retired people who after a lifetime of experience would collectively have acquired a vast amount of knowledge, he summed up the philosophy of the new organisation succinctly:

"Those who teach shall also learn and those who learn shall also teach."

Unlike earlier models of similar organisations that had already been set up in other countries, his vision for the U3A in Britain was of groups of people getting together to learn about a common interest or topic. Rather than having a single teacher, each group would instead be organised by a group leader or convenor to co-ordinate and help guide the efforts and studies of the group’s members.

After ten years’ affiliation with Canterbury U3A, by 2003 there were sufficient numbers of members in Thanet to set up our own independent branch. Since then Thanet U3A has developed its own identity and thrived. Under the chairmanships of Margaret Fairbrass and Janet Pitt membership rose to more than 400. Hardly surprising, given the staggeringly wide range of courses and activities that now regularly take place under the aegis of the branch. When a lady interviewed on BBC Radio’s Woman’s Hour recently was asked how she had eventually fought off the overwhelming crushing boredom and consequent depression that had descended on her following retirement from a successful professional career, she replied, quite simply, ”The U3A.” By providing her with fresh intellectual stimulation and opportunities to learn new skills while also bonding with a range of new friends, she explained, her life had been reinvigorated and given a renewed sense of purpose.

Our mission as a cooperative in Thanet U3A is to create just such opportunities for local people and we are proud that last winter members participated in 20+ study courses and, in addition, the 40+ Interest Groups which met regularly for members to practise and develop their skills in a wide range of activities (country dancing, gardening, drawing and painting, to name just three).

Then there is our programme of bi-monthly talks organised by Bev Whitehead, the high quality of the speakers and fascinating range of topics regularly attracting large audiences. Former Chairman Margaret Fairbrass, on the other hand, organises a programme of regular coach trips throughout the year to places and events of cultural interest (such as the London art galleries’ major exhibitions, for example).

Although the U3A ethos of shared learning will always be our major inspiration and raison d’etre, we also value the comprehensive programme of social activities that take place throughout the year – the summer Strawberry Garden Party, for example, and the ever popular Cheer in the New Year & Quiz Night. Then there are the convivial gatherings of the Lunch Club, organised by Mike Baker and Geraldine Stone, whose members come together to enjoy good food and the lively conversation in local restaurants.

That’s why with so much going on, with so many life-enhancing opportunities available to our members, we are proud to belong to Thanet’s thriving U3A . Proud, but not complacent, for we are constantly on the lookout for new avenues to explore and recruit new members to bring fresh ideas to enhance our programmes and range of activities.


To read about the Origins of Thanet U3A by Our President Margaret Fairbrass, please click on the LINKS Page.