The University of the Third Age

The Third Age

After childhood and then working life, we come to the third age. Here we may wish to explore new interests or to share existing ones in a friendly social atmosphere. Learning and activities are purely for pleasure, and qualifications and examinations are irrelevant. This is why Universities of the Third Age (U3As) exist.

Universities of the Third Age

The idea started in France in 1972 but there are now Universities of the Third Age all over the world. In Britain there are currently more than 900 local U3As and the number is still increasing. Each one is an independent, self-funding, autonomous organization but almost all, including the one in Bath, choose to be affiliated to a national coordinating body called the Third Age Trust. This liaises between local U3A organizations and provides a quarterly magazine, as well as a range of goods, services, travel opportunities, summer schools and support for the establishment of new local U3As.

U3As are not associated with universities in the normal education system. ‘University’ is used in the sense of ‘a corporation of persons devoted to particular activities, not necessarily intellectual’. Members simply share their knowledge and expertise with other members and the social aspect is very important.

The University of the Third Age in Bath

U3A in Bath was started in 1985. It currently has about 1600 members, making us one of the largest U3As in Britain. It is run in accordance with its own constitution by a committee elected each year at a general meeting to which all members are invited.

Groups held at the Bathwick Centre include:

The Computer Forum
The Computer Forum is intended to support all U3A in Bath members who use, or might use a computer- whatever their ability and whatever they want to do with their machines. In general, our members use PCs that run Windows and our “help” sessions are styled accordingly. Users of other operating systems (e.g. Linux, Apple, MAC, Unix etc ) will be welcomed but should consider if one of the other U3A in Bath computer groups may be more suitable for them. The chief activity of the Computer Forum is the monthly “help” group meetings, which are held at an arranged venue from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm, usually the first Monday in the month except for August.The agenda is flexible and members are encouraged to take an active part by discussing any computer problems which they experience. There may also be small presentations covering a particular aspect of computer use. We are helped by more experienced users.

European and Current Affairs
We have a membership of 20 from which attendance varies from 12-20. The subject for discussion is chosen in advance by members on our first day of term, and somebody volunteers to lead on each topic. At meetings for which nothing has been agreed in advance we will discuss something of current or European affairs. Various of our members visit other countries from time to time and will talk on their experiences. Our MEP emails us every week when the European Parliament is sitting, giving us details of the sitting and this is transmitted to the group and then discussed.

How to contact us:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *