I thought I’d stop by u3a again – the University of the Third Age. I’ve been aware of them for years and tried to join a few months ago.
It’s only £7.50 so what have I got to lose I told myself. I navigated my way round the somewhat antiquated website only to discover that I couldn’t join online.
You either had to phone up, set up a BACS or post a cheque. The two latter options seemed too much trouble so I decided to call with my card details to hand.
It was picked up by someone who sounded at least twice my age and was clearly struggling with using the phone never mind setting up a subscription. I never got taken off hold and just gave up.
Just now I chanced upon their website, which looked a bit funkier than I recall, in my Chrome bookmarks and thought I’d give them a second chance.
Founded in 1982, u3a is a UK-wide movement of locally-run interest groups that provides its members with a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun.
There are 1,057 u3as with an impressive 450,000 members, it is open to everyone who’s no longer in full-time work.
It gives members local and national opportunities to learn a wide range of things at low cost. You can also share your skills with others, take up something new and develop your interests in a friendly atmosphere.
There are a staggering 40,000 u3a interest groups that meet in the UK every week which used to be face to face but is now online.
The choice of topics is reflects local interests from cookery to creative writing, philosophy to films, maths to mindfulness. The decisions about what to do are made by local members
They also offer partner events across the UK including visits to the National Gallery, Royal Institution, Guildhall Art Gallery in London, St Fagans in Wales and the educational charity, We the Curious, in Bristol
u3a members have also taken part in online events run with NatWest Bank, the British Library and the David Livingstone Birthplace project in Scotland.
Learning has taken too much of a backseat in my retirement journey so far and maybe u3a could be the answer.
Despite the suspicion that it is aimed at a somewhat older demographic than myself I thought I’d give them a go.
I’ve filled in the form, subscribed to their newsletter, will post the cheque later and see what opportunities arise.