About Bournemouth U3A

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About Bournemouth U3A

Bournemouth U3A was formed in 1987 and has grown year by year so that now we have over 1,000 members. Education and leisure courses form the core activity. We have well in excess of 100 classes which are held during the day and are led in a relaxed and informal way by unpaid enthusiasts. There are no examinations to face, no qualifications required or awarded. There is no set range of activities; they continue year on year, or change, to reflect our group leaders’ abilities and our members’ interests, whether they be educational, cultural, physical or recreational. It is learning in the widest sense for its own sake, for personal satisfaction and development.

In addition to groups we run a range of social activities including quizzes, visits, talks and walks. We produce a Newsletter four times each year to give members up to date news about groups and social events.


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Bournemouth U3A is part of a world wide movement which began in Toulouse, France in 1973. French adults had never enjoyed the kind of educational provision on offer from our Local Education Authorities, Workers Education Association, and other bodies, and legislation was passed directing their universities to make provision for older people. This close connection between universities and the U3A in France still applies today.

In the UK, the first branch started in 1982. Now there are 1,000 branches and over 385,000 members. The Third Age Trust funded by the branches is the national support and advisory body with the legal and financial expertise to provide guidance to individual branches. The national office publishes a quarterly magazine and has a huge amount of educational material to provide support on important issues as well as for the practical support of individuals and groups as required.

A regional structure is in place and we are in the South West Region.


The title of University of the Third Age (U3A) may need a word of explanation. “University” is used in its original sense of people coming together to share learning. “Third Age” refers to people no longer in full time employment (First Age - school, Second Age - work and bringing up children). This is still a very fluid description, but allows U3A to be appropriate to each individual according to their circumstances rather than being defined by age alone.