You’ve landed on the West Midlands u3a website. Those familiar with the u3a movement can skip the next part. Those who aren't may be asking "who or what is the u3a?"
Just like BMW and DFS, we like our initials to speak for us. We are a national organisation for seniors who have finished full time work and want to continue learning with like-minded people, in a very sociable environment. The u3a movement has members who draw upon their knowledge and experience to teach and learn from each other but there are no qualifications to pass – it's just for pleasure. Learning is its own reward.
It's all voluntary; a typical u3a will have many groups covering many different subjects - from art to zoology and everything in-between. Created nearly 40 years ago, there are now over 1,000 u3as across the UK, with over 450,000 members who join in thousands of interest groups.
The u3a national body – the Third Age Trust - looks after all the u3as in the UK, providing educational and admin support. The best way to understand what the movement has to offer is to look at any individual u3a website and scroll through the many interest groups that offer a wide variety of learning opportunities. Most u3as charge a token annual membership fee to cover costs, and many activities are free. If you want to know more, contact us, or go to the national website www.u3a.org.uk, or pick a u3a that's local to you.
West Midlands Region
This website covers the activities of around 35,000 members in 85 u3as in a region that includes Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands conurbation. Our region is very diverse, from rural village to city metropolis, from agriculture to service industry, manufacturing to technology….. and our members are diverse too!
If you're a u3a member and you want to know more….
At national level, National Office staff, Subject Advisers and many u3a members just like you and I work to put together ideas, activities and content, so that u3as around the country can still operate throughout the pandemic. There are tutorials on how to use most video-conferencing technologies, and there are many online courses about a range of topical subjects.
Information is circulated regularly to u3a Chairs and their committees through national and regional newsletters, and regular mailings. It's important that this information is passed on to all members.
The “Landing Page” of the National website shows the range of content available:
• The Learning Area of the website contains the National Learning Programme
• The Advice and Guidance section provides extensive help and support for u3as,
• Support is available for members wanting to become volunteers,
• An Events diary highlights forthcoming activities,
• You will be directed to a Brand Centre where logos and branded materials are available,
• There's a site called Sources that explores various aspects of the movement
Please encourage all your members to look at the national website
More and more u3as have been sharing their content online for the benefit of other u3as and members outside their own local area. There's considerable advice and help available for u3as wanting to hold hybrid meetings (face to face and online at the same time). Many u3as are also holding AGM’s online or combined with emails and telephones – again advice is available.
If you'd like to know more, please email me. If you need advice on recruitment, resources from the 2020-21 Retention & Recruitment Campaign are on the SOURCES part of the national website:
Trustee for the West Midlands