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The U3A began in France in 1972. The term 'Third Age' was defined as the period when men and women had absolute freedom to choose what they wanted to do with their time. For many, this was the long-deferred opportunity to learn new skills and extend interests and the scope of reading.
The U3A is an educational self-help charity, which works for the benefit of those who are not in full time gainful employment.
In the UK, the organisation dates from 1982, since when the idea has spread rapidly. All U3As countrywide affiliate to a national body (the Third Age Trust), but are otherwise operationally independent. In practice, this means every U3A is different, reflecting the needs and skills of its local members.
Sevenoaks U3A started in 1994 and has a membership of over 1000. (A brief history of Sevenoaks U3A). Our Members reside within Sevenoaks and its surrounding locality; members may join from other local U3As.
Members are also members of the national body, the Third Age Trust.
The Aims of Sevenoaks U3A
The adancement of education and, in particular, the education of older people and those who are retired from full time work by all means, including associated activities conducive to learning and personal development.
These aims are amplified in the Objects & Principles issued by the Third Age Trust
How the Sevenoaks U3A works.
The members themselves run the Study Groups, serve on committees, provide administrative help, organise outings, study days, etc, on a voluntary basis. Everyone will want to help in some way in the running of the organisation if they can, whether that is helping in a practical way e.g. helping with refreshments, running an event, joining a committee or offering to be a Group Organiser.
The Monthly General Meeting is an open meeting, which all members may attend. It offers a chance to meet others, hear a speaker who is an expert in a subject of general interest, as well as enjoy refreshments. There are other open meetings each month, details can be found on the open groups page.
The Newsletter, together with flyers and booking forms for special events, is distributed to all members either by post or email. Reading the newsletter and regularly reviewing this website is the best way to stay informed about what is going on.
The Study Groups are self-help learning groups of various sizes. They normally meet during the day, often in the home of a group member. There is usually a Group Organiser who also acts as secretary, and the meetings vary in frequency, generally weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The objective is to pursue a common interest in the company of like-minded people. There are no qualifications, pressures or expenses beyond basic materials.
The Handbook, with a list and brief description of the Study Groups, is sent out in August. It contains all the essential names and contact details for the forthcoming year.
This Website is regularly maintained. If you have any comments or items for inclusion, please contact the Web Team via the link below.
Study groups are organised by subject and each subject group is listed on this website. Go to Groups by Category to find out more details about a specific subject.
Our Insurance Policy covers U3A members and the occasional non-member. Sevenoaks U3A allows non-members to attend group meetings or outings as guests on a one-off basis. This might include a member’s visiting friend or relative or a potential member who wanted to see how a group operated.
The Sevenoaks U3A year runs from October to September each year. Applications for membership can be made at any time by residents of Sevenoaks and its surrounding locality. Members from other local U3As may also join unless the U3A in question does not permit it.
Membership costs £13 for every member and is payable by Standing Order. Members are recruited throughout the year and are also invited to attend a joining event which enables them to meet some of the Executive Committee and learn how study groups work. In addition an Open Afternoon for all members is held in September.
A short booklet, designed to give new Sevenoaks U3A members a quick introduction to how our U3A operates, can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.
If you wish to join Sevenoaks U3A, Further information can be obtained from the Membership Secretary using the link below.
New members will be sent a joining pack containing a Membership Application Form, a Gift Aid Declaration1 and a Standing Order Form for annual subscriptions.
Once your application has been processed and accepted, you will receive our annual Handbook giving details of all groups and activities and how to join them. Contact details for the Group Organisers are available in the Handbook or on this website.
1 if you are an eligible tax payer this enables us to claim tax relief and keep annual subscriptions at a lower level.