History OF U3A

The Third Age refers to the period of time after the First Age of childhood dependence and the Second Age of full-time employment.   U3A is a learning co-operative of older people which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activites.   All you need is interest and enthusiasm!

The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for the U3a movement in the UK   ( Registered Charity No 288007 ) and provides a range of support services to the U3A's

Brief history of the University of the Third Age  

The University of the Third Age began in France.   In 1972 in Toulouse, a successful summer school for retired people prefaced the first Universite du Troiseme Age.  This was quickly followed by programmes in other towns close to Toulouse and the notion spread rapidly, not only in France.   Founding members of U3A in the UK were Peter Laslett, Eric Midwinter and Michael Young.   They felt it should be possible to form a local U3A anywhere there was a sufficient number of like-minded people; that the curriculum should be as broad as possible and that it should be managed by the people themselves.

The self help model was born

In 1981, Peter Laslett hosted a meeting in Cambridge, attended by educationalist and scientist, which discussed and lent support to the notion of bringing the U3A ideal to Britain.  Gradually U3A groups were formed in different parts of the country and by the end of 1983 the U3A movement was on its way.

The Stratford upon Avon U3A was started in January 2000; followed by the Heart of England U3A in 2001.   The Groups meet monthly on a Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, in the Wesley Hall, Methodist Church, Old Town Stratford upon Avon.  Each now have over 200 members.  

Shottery U3A was started in 2008 and has a membership of some 120 members. We meet in St Andrew's Parish Centre, Church Lane, Shottery on the first Tuesday of each month starting at 2pm.