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 learning in a friendly and informal environment.
If you’re wondering what we mean by the third age – it is when you have finished working full-time or raising your family and have time to pursue interests or just try something new.
U3A has a ‘university’ of members who draw upon their experience to share knowledge and learn from each other but there are no qualifications to pass – it is just for pleasure. Learning is its own reward.
The first U3A (Universite du Troisieme Age) was founded in Toulouse in 1972. The Universities in France made available their facilities and tutors to provide courses for older people.
The first University of the Third Age in the UK started in Cambridge in 1981. When the idea was taken up in the UK, the approach was different. U3As in the UK are created, organised, and managed by members who voluntarily run the activities.