About the U3A

U3A stands for the University of the Third Age, which is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full time employment providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment. It consists of local U3As all over the UK, which are charities in their own right and are run entirely by volunteers. 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. Between them U3As offer the chance to study over 300 different subjects in such fields as art, languages, music, history, life sciences, philosophy, computing, crafts, photography and walking. A typical U3A has about 250 members but could be as small as 12 and as large as 2000.

The U3A approach to learning is – learning for pleasure. There is no accreditation or validation and there are no assessments or qualifications to be gained.

About The Third Age Trust

The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for U3As in the UK. It is both a limited company and a registered charity. It underpins the work of local U3As by providing educational and administrative support to their management committees and to individual members and assists in the development of new U3As across the UK. It is managed by a National Executive Committee which consists of a Chairman, 4 other Officers and 13 representatives from designated areas in the UK. The Third Age Trust is funded mainly by annual subscriptions paid by member U3As on a per capita basis, with the occasional grant for specific projects. It has 3 full time and 5 part time staff and is located in Bromley.

Relationship Between U3As and The Third Age Trust

U3As are independently managed charitable associations with their own constitutions. Membership of The Third Age Trust is a requirement in order to use the U3A name and logo both of which are protected but once registered, providing the aims and guiding principles of the organisation are adhered to, local U3As are self-governing.