Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am a member of another u3a. Can I join in your activities?

A. Members of other u3as need to join York u3a in order to take part in our activities. Our u3a has decided, for ease of administration, to charge our normal membership fee to members who belong to other u3as as well.

Q. Can I find out if an Interest Group has vacancies, before I join?

A. You are able in most cases to email a group leader to make enquiries. Please bear in mind, even if one Group is full, there are many other interest Groups in our u3a, and lots of other benefits of membership too, such as monthly lectures and travel. Membership is just that, joining our community, a space in a group cannot be guaranteedd.

Q. Can a new member start up a group?

A. Yes!! We are a self-help organisation of volunteers, and we welcome any member, however new, to start up an Interest Group by advertising for interest in our newsletter and website. The Groups Coordinator, or other committee members, can offer advice and assistance.

Q. Where do your Interest Groups meet?

A. Many Groups meet in the Group Leader's home (or in the home of another Group member who is happy to "host" the Group). Others use the Meetings Rooms that we have next to our office, or other rooms in the Friends Meeting House. Finally, a number of Groups meet in village halls, churches or other locations, or use facilities such as the York Railway Institute or local swimming pools.

Q. Can I get a qualification with u3a?

A. No. All our groups are run by members and are for the joy of learning. Local u3as are learning cooperatives which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members to organise and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership. The teachers learn and the learners teach.

Q. Who runs York u3a? Do you have paid staff?

A. York u3a is run and managed entirely by volunteers. A committee manages the day-to-day administration, and they, together with Group Leaders and other volunteers who assist in the office and in other ways, are all unpaid.

Q. What if I join late in the year?

A. You can join York u3a at any time. Our year runs from August to July. If you join after April, there is a reduced membership for the remainder of that "year". Bear in mind that after the start of a year, quite a number of Groups will fill up quickly.

Q. Is u3a just for older people?

A. The original concept of the "Third Age" was to allow older people to continue learning, and the enjoyment of learning, after they retire. The majority of members are in this category. However, there is no lower (or upper!) age limit, the only requirement is that members are not in full-time employment.

Q. Who can be on the committee of York u3a?

A. Any member is eligible to serve on the committee. New members are welcome to be considered - there is no "length of membership" requirement. Committee members are elected at the AGM, and retire on rotation. Re-elections are possible to a maximum of six years. All committee members are volunteers and most are Trustees of York u3a (as defined by the Charities Commission). Our committee is very active and positive, and it's a very worthwhile way of making a contribution, through one of the committee roles, to running our u3a.