Brightlingsea U3A

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About our U3A

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.


Q When and where does U3A meet?

Usually we meet on 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month and we meet at 2p.m. at the Parish Hall in Victoria place. Programme details can be found on the website.

Q What is the U3A?

Brightlingsea U3A is one of over 1000 independent U3As in the UK. (There are also many U3As in other countries.) Each U3A is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent but a member of The Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the U3A movement. For more details visit the website of the U3A Trust at

Q What is the "Third Age"?

The first age is one of dependence upon parents etc, the second age is one of full-time work and the Third Age is when people have got past full-time work and have either retired or have ceased to work full time.

Q Who can join?

The U3A is for all people in their Third Age who have passed the time of full time employment. Brightlingsea U3A has a large number of social and fun activities. It is a chance to try something new.
Have a look at our website to see the range of activities that members of Brightlingsea U3A run.

Q Can I come and have a look?

You are welcome to come and meet us at one of our monthly meetings when we have a guest speaker. These are held in the Parish Hall on the first Friday of the month starting at 2pm. (There will be someone there from 1.30pm onwards to talk with you.) In December we meet on the second Friday of the month.

Q Who runs the U3A?

Based on the principles of self-help and mutual assistance all U3As are run by the membership who organise all the groups and activities. A Committee is elected by the members to coordinate things

Q How much does it cost?

Currently the membership subscription for the full year is only £15. In some groups members pay towards the hire of a hall in which they hold their meetings. Groups meeting in a member’s home generally make a small payment (50p) for refreshments etc.

Q How do I join?

Come along to any of our meetings and speak to anyone there who will be able to help or will know someone who can! Alternatively you can contact the membership secretary through our website.

Q How do I join a group?

Once you have joined Brightlingsea U3A you are entitled to join any of the groups, as long as there is a vacancy. Some popular groups operate a waiting list.

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