Peterborough U3A is one of over 900 individual U3As in the UK, with over 340,000 members, operating under the umbrella of the National body, the Third Age Trust.
The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for the Universities of Third Age (U3As) in the UK. U3As are self-help, self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun.
The Third Age Trust is responsible for negotiations with Government and its various educational and funding bodies, and for international relations with U3As in many other countries world wide.
Each individual U3A group pays a capitation fee to the Third Age Trust, and is guided by decisions and policies made by the Trust. However, each U3A operates in the way best suited to its Members, and is independent of the other individual U3As. Each individual U3A is run by a committee elected at an AGM.
Peterborough U3A was founded in 1992, since when it has grown to over 2,600 Members. It currently runs over 160 different activities, which may be academic, cultural, social or physical. Nationally, the U3As provide well over 300 different activities.
Although U3A stands for University of the Third Age, the word 'University' here has its original meaning of a group of people with similar interests meeting together. There are no academic qualifications required to become a Member, the only qualification is that Members are all in the situation where they are no longer in full time gainful employment. Members with similar interests meet together in schools, Members' homes, or elsewhere, and most activities are conducted on a self help basis.
The University year runs from September 1st and the annual membership fee for the current year, 2017/18, is £12.00 for a single member and £21.50 for two members living at the same address. Full members of other U3As may join Peterborough U3A as associate members for reduced fees, £8.50 and £14.50 respectively, and have full access to all our activities.
Each month, on the last Thursday, a meeting is held (usually in Peterborough Town Hall) at which items of interest to Members are discussed, news is spread, friends are met and new friends made. After tea/coffee there is a guest speaker or an entertainment.