The U3A (University of the Third Age) movement is a unique learning organisation which consists of many local groups across the whole of the UK, who organise themselves independently to explore a wide range of subjects, and take part in different activities, supported by the national umbrella organisation, the Third Age Trust.
The Third Age refers to the period of time after the First Age of childhood dependence and the Second Age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. Over one in four of the UK population is in the Third Age.
How do we operate?
It is a learning cooperative of older people which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activities. A U3A is a university in the original sense of the word: a collective of people devoted to learning.
Anyone aged 50 or more, and in part-time employment or retired can join – all you need are interests and enthusiasm! It is called a university, but it has members not students. No qualifications are required and none are given.
The U3As are democratic, self-funded, self-managed organisations which exist to provide daytime education and leisure activities for men and women at minimal cost. They draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their members to organise study and activity groups in accordance with the wishes and interests of the membership.
We hold a monthly meeting on the last Tuesday of the month at the Methodist Church Hall, Dundas Street. We feature visiting speakers on a variety of subjects, as well as updates on upcoming activities and groups. Tea/Coffee & biscuits are available from 9:45, giving members an opportunity to chat before the formal meeting starts at 10:15. There is a meeting every month except August and December, with the new year starting each September. Come as a visitor to find out more about us (charge £2).
Most of our groups meet in each other's homes, generally once a month. Learning resources can be borrowed free from the national organisation for use in groups, or there may be a small charge per session for materials or room rental. Outings and excursions are also arranged, with the costs shared among the participants. These are sometimes coach trips, or run by car sharing. As groups are self-help (we do not employ paid tutors) we are able to keep costs low so that the Annual Subscription is only £15.00.
U3A membership offers new challenges, new opportunities and new friends – why not give it a try!
Our Current Groups
Art Appreciation: 2 separate groups operate, due to numbers, each examining a wide range of art topics chosen and presented by the members
Computing: this is a monthly workshop session where members can get support and advice in developing their skills on their own or provided equipment
German: 2 monthly groups meet for members with different levels of knowledge
Oral History: a monthly discussion session on topics related to the expereience and knowledge of participating members
Poetry for Pleasure: monthly sharing of poetry readings and discussion
History: monthly presentation of a historical subject with discussion: members choose topics on which they can give their own presentation or introduce a recording. Any period, location or genre of history can be included
Book Club: meeting together once a month to discuss the current book which has been chosen and read by members in advance
Visits to Gardens, Historic Buildings, etc: by arrangement during the Summer months
Ambling and Architecture: gentle exploration on foot of the architecture and history of neighbouring towns and villages
Steam & Preserved Railways: Outings and occasional meetings to explore the exceptional heritage of steam power and railways in the region
Lunch Group: meets once a month at various local eateries for a social get-together over lunch
For more information about Richmond U3A or any of these groups please email your enquiry to
We will reply to you, or put you in the touch with the group leader if you are asking about a specific group We are always keen to invite new members, and also to hear of any other new groups they may be interested in starting.
There are currently about 1000 U3As in the UK, and many other U3A organisations in other countries. Richmond is a member of the Northern Region, and there are numerous other groups in the surrounding area, all offering a different selection of study options Members of one U3A can join another at a reduced subscription.
The Third Age Trust national representative body in the UK is a Registered Charity (Reg Charity No 288007) and provides a range of support services to the U3As.
For further information see the national website of The Third Age Trust at: www.u3a.org.uk