About us

Our twice monthly meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of the month at 2pm at the Methodist Centre, High Street, Witney. After an introduction by the chair, the speaker is introduced. After the talk, there is an opportunity to meet fellow members. You are welcome to attend two meetings, for £2 each meeting, before becoming a member.

The u3a is a world-wide movement which started in France at the University of Toulouse. It became international by 1979 and introduced to the UK in Cambridge in 1981. The original French system was intergrated with Universities which provided both tutors and venues. However, in the UK members organise and run their own activities.

----- Witney u3a is a registered charity, No. 294071, and a member of the Third Age Trust. It was established in 1985 and became the 35th branch of the u3a. In March 2017 there were 1004 U3As in the UK, with almost 385,000 members. Witney u3a has a membership of over 550 and 65 different interest groups. Witney U3A is an autonomous, self-financing organisation, which relies on members' subscriptions. The membership fee is currently £20 for the year April 2020 to March 2021. If you are a member of another u3a the membership fee is reduced by the Trust membership subscription of £3.50.

The u3a movement is non-religious and non-political and has three main principles:
The Third Age Principle: the self-help Learning Principle and the Mutual Aid Principle.The Third Age follows the age of Dependence in the first age as a child, the Second Age with occupational and parental duties, and precedes the Fourth Age when you again become dependant on others.

The u3a consists of a group of men and women who are no longer in full-time employment and meet together to study a wide range of subjects. We are not a university in the modern sense of a body which awards degrees, but in the original sense of a community of people engaged in learning - and learning from each other. Members promote the value of lifetime learning and the positive attributes of belonging to a u3a.

The Witney u3a is committed to this by drawing on the knowledge, experience and skills of our members and a vital aspect of our u3a is the specialised group learning. We have a very full programme of events including two talks a month, around 10 different trips a year and over 60 special interest or study groups (see our Events page for details. A mutual interest in learning leads to new friendships based on an expanded social experience, with many study groups meeting in members' own homes, adding an important social dimension.

Members can also take advantage of and contribute to the many other activities that are organised by other u3a's, especially via the u3a Thames Valley Network. The u3a also organises online courses, Study Days and events mainly in London. Details are always available at speaker meetings or via the u3a National Website.

Each u3a is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent, but a member of the Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the u3a movement. All administrative and study group activities in each u3a are carried out on a purely voluntary and unpaid basis. Each u3a is self funded, with membership subscriptions and costs kept as low as possible. Local committee members, responsible for the day-to-day running, are also volunteers, who offer themselves for annual election by their fellow members at their local AGMs.

If you are offered a lift by a u3a member the driver should be reimbursed at 35 pence a mile shared between the occupants of the car.

If you are unable to visit a u3a meeting in person there is a Virtual u3a group available to join online.

If you have an idea on how to improve our u3a please put it in the Suggestion Box on the Publicity Table in the Lower Hall at Thursday meetings.