The University of the Third Age

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What is the U3A?  U3A stands for the University of the Third Age but does not require any qualifications; it does not have a syllabus or examinations.  It has been described as a ‘Youth Club for retired people’.    (back)

Who can join?  Membership of Devizes & District U3A is open to all who are beyond middle age and no longer in full time employment.   No qualifications are required or are given. (back)

What do we do?  We provide educational, recreational, and leisure activities for retired people living in Devizes and District.  All our activities are run by our members, on a self-help basis, co-ordinated by members who have volunteered to be Group Leaders.        (back)

What sort of groups do we have?  There are over 50 groups including Art,  Aviation Studies, Play Reading, Music, Languages, Bridge, Creative Writing, Canasta, History, Walking (short, medium and long distance), Mah Jong, Handicrafts, Computers,  plus coach trips to theatres, museums and art galleries.    (back)

What else do we do?  As well as group meetings we have general meetings every month at which we have a speaker; recent talks have included Secret Underground Cities,  The Story of the Bicycle and a Soldier’s Life in the Trenches . (back)

Where do we meet?  We meet in a variety of places such as the Crown Centre, the Wyvern Club and the Nursteed Centre but the majority of groups meet in a member’s home.    (back)

How much does it cost? Annual membership costs £12 from 1st April 2017. with a reduced subscription if you join later in the year.  Groups may make a further small charge  per session to cover venue hire, heating and refreshments.   (back) 

Interested? Come to one of our coffee mornings, fourth Friday in the month, except July, August and December, at 10:30am in the Crown Centre where you will be able to meet other members and group leaders and have any questions answered.  OR you could download an application form and send it direct with your cheque (payable to Devizes & District U3A) to our Membership Secretary at 26 Sarum Ave, Melksham, SN12 6BN.  If you are joining between April and Jun the fee is £12, Jul – Sep £9, Oct – Dec £6 and between Jan and Mar £3.   (back)

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The Third Age Trust

What is U3A? The Universities of the Third Age are democratic, self-funding organisations that provide all types of educational, creative and leisure activities for retired people at minimum cost,  by making use of the knowledge and skills of their members.  They come under the umbrella of the national body "The Third Age Trust".   Each U3A is essentially a co-operative of men and women who meet to share common interests and a desire to learn for its own sake. 

ORIGINS;  The seeds for 'Lifelong Learning for older people' were sown at the Summer School of the Université du Troisième Age held in Toulouse in 1972. This led within a year to the formation of the International Association of U3A's (AIUTA).  

The U3A in the UK started by the creation of the 'Third Age Trust' in 1982 as registered charity, No.288007 and limited company No 1759471. Contrary to what was happening in France, there was no support from Universities. It was realised that Third Agers themselves had the skills to organise and teach in their own autonomous learning groups and local U3As were formed.  

Most U3A groups in the UK operate in a similar manner and most have adopted a standard constitution, tweaked to suit local circumstances.  As autonomous bodies they run their affairs within their constitutions and as members of The Third Age Trust their representatives can attend the AGM of the Third Age Trust and help to set policy nationally.

Since we learn for the pleasure of it, no qualifications are required and none are given. 

The Third Age Trust is a member of AIUTA which aims to promote active learning, research and community service among Third Agers everywhere.

Suggestions for additional groups are always welcome, as are volunteers to run such groups.


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