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The u3a was founded in France in 1972. The original term 'University of the 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. Re-branding has since dropped the term ‘University’ to avoid elitist connotations.
A short history of the U3A in the UK has been written by Francis Beckett. Click to view it
The u3a is a UK-wide movement of locally run interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun. It brings together people, who are no longer in full-time employment, to develop their interests and continue learning in a friendly and informal environment to explore new ideas, Members 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.
Its all voluntary, a typical u3a will be home to many interest and activity groups covering a wide range of different subjects from Art to Zoology and everything in between.
Sevenoaks u3a is an educational self-help registered charity, and follows the u3a Principles and Mission
Sevenoaks U3A started in 1994 and currently has a membership of around 900 members and we have recorded ‘A brief history of Sevenoaks U3A - the first 20 years’. 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 advancement 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 Principles & Mission issued by the Third Age Trust
How the Sevenoaks U3A works.
The members themselves form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members. The also serve on committees, provide administrative help, organise outings, study days, etc, on a voluntary basis. Everyone is expected 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.
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.
Membership costs £13 for every member and is payable by Standing Order. Members are recruited throughout the year and will be invited to attend a joining event which enables them learn about our u3a, to meet some of the Executive Committee and how study groups work. In addition an Open Afternoon for all members is held in September.
A short introduction booklet, designed to give new Sevenoaks u3a members a quick introduction to how our u3a operates, can be viewed or downloaded from the following links a Read only and Print Version is available. The Print version is designed to be printed back to back on an A4 Sheet to form an A5 leaflet when folded.
If you wish to join Sevenoaks u3a, Further information can be obtained from the Membership Secretary using the link below.
New members can apply using the Membership Application form, alternatively a joining pack containing a Membership Application Form, a Gift Aid Declaration1 and a Standing Order Form for annual subscriptions can be sent by post.
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.