The U3A is an
International organisation for retired people (3rd agers), with
leisure time available to meet like-minded members, to expand their
knowledge, share interests, acquire new skills, and make new friends.
a University it does not concern itself with qualifications, examinations
or testing. It is a place for all, a place where everyone with an
interest in enjoyable lifelong learning can come together. In the
UK all U3As are local and autonomous. This is it's strength, in
that each local U3A can decide what it would like to do and then
arrange it. All the 870 UK U3As are linked together through the
Third Age Trust, and there is a national membership of over 295,000.
Each U3A is
essentially a cooperative, self-help, voluntary organisation with
membership open to everyone beyond full-time employment and/or parental
responsibility. There is no lower age limit. The sole source of
funding for each U3A is the members' subscriptions.
The ethos of
the U3A is to share our knowledge and experiences, and develop our
own individual capabilities by learning from other members.
France in 1972, the movement has now spread worldwide. It began
in the UK in the early 1980s and has gone from strength to strength.