U3A (The University of the Third Age) is a UK-wide movement which brings together people in their ‘third age’ to develop their interests and continue their learning in a friendly and informal environment.
If you’re wondering what we mean by the third age - it is a time after you have finished working full-time or raising your family and have time to pursue your interests or just try something new. Many people in their "third age" are of course very active grandparents!
U3A has a ‘university’ of members who draw upon their knowledge and experience to teach and learn from each other but there are no qualifications to pass – it is just for pleasure. Learning is its own reward.
The guiding principle is to promote lifelong learning through self-help interest groups covering a wide range of topics and activities as chosen by the membership. It's all voluntary; a typical U3A will be home to many activity groups covering hundreds of different subjects - from art to zoology and everything in between.
Formed over 30 years ago, there are now over 1,000 U3As across the UK, with thousands of interest groups between them and more than 400,000 members nationally.
Each U3A is independent with its own ethos and character. The U3A national body – the Third Age Trust - looks after all the U3As in the UK, providing educational and administrative support.
Brightlingsea U3A was founded in 2004 when it was thought that people in the town could run their own events and activities rather than travel into Colchester – then the nearest U3A but not easily accessible. Our location provides a unique community and we have developed our particular style of doing things. While holding true to the U3A philosophy we also recognise the importance of the social side of our meetings and activities: helping members to make new friends and links within our town.