Ver-Colne Valley

About the U3A

The U3A concept was launched in France in 1972 and was followed by the creation of the International Association of U3As. The idea then spread throughout the world. The first British U3A was formed in 1982 and there are now over 1000 local U3As throughout the UK.

Ver-Colne Valley U3A was formed in 2009 and is an independent self-financing charity (Registered Charity Number 1156215). Its Trustees are elected annually by VCV members and form the Executive Committee which is responsible for managing its affairs in accordance with a Constitution approved by the Charity Commission.

There is an national organisation, the Third Age Trust which is the representative body for U3As in the UK. It underpins the work of local U3As by providing support to their management committees and to individual members and assists in the development of new U3As across the UK. It provides summer schools, conferences and a magazine, Third Age Matters, to all members who would like it 5 times a year.

The ethos of the U3A is that older people should have access to education in all its forms by providing it for themselves. Membership of the U3A is open to all people over the age of 55, who are no longer in full-time employment, irrespective of race, religion or politics.

Although the U in U3A stands for University, anyone can join if they are retired or semi-retired. No educational qualifications are required or given. Those who teach and those who learn are all members of the University of the Third Age.

People with a lifetime of experience, expertise and know-how through their occupations or hobbies are encouraged to form groups and share their knowledge with fellow members. A mutual interest leads to new friendships. Many Groups meet in members' homes, adding an important social dimension.

VCV is also a member of the Hertfordshire Network of U3As which provides a forum for discussing subjects of mutual interest with other local U3As. The Network also organises inter-U3A activities such as workshops, study days and recently, a Quiz and a Bridge competition.