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About Mansfield and District U3A

The U3A - The University of the Third Age - is an international Third Age Trust certificate of membership for Mansfield U3Aorganisation providing educational, cultural and social opportunities for people who are retired or not in full-time employment. It encourages groups of like-minded people in their Third Age to remain active in their retirement and to continue with lifelong learning for pleasure.

Please read on if you'd enjoy the stimulation of learning new things and/or passing on your knowledge to others.

  • The Third Age follows childhood and dependence, full-time employment and parental responsibilities and is when one is retired, or partially retired and able to enjoy creativity, fulfilment and friendship.
  • There were 384,045 members in 1001 U3As throughout the UK at the last count, in November 2016.
  • All are all voluntary self-help organisations, affiliated to the Third Age Trust (Reg. Charity No. 288007), the national parent body, which provides extensive support shown in chart form here.
  • All are fully autonomous with members organising their own activities and making their own decisions through elected committees.
  • They are self-financing on a non-profit making basis, with no political or religious influences or allegiances, and develop according to the wishes, needs and resources of their local areas, following these Aims and Guiding Principles.
  • No qualifications are necessary to join - and none is given.
  • Membership is open to all who are retired or ceased whole-time employment, or are nearing retirement. Contact our Membership Secretary to find out more.
  • Read this e-book about the U3A for more about the movement, click here to see how it is organised in Nottinghamshire or watch/download this Powerpoint presentation.

Mansfield & District U3A was launched in May 1999 to serve those parts of west Nottinghamshire within 8 - 9 miles of Mansfield. We now have 300 members.

What do we do?
Members with similar interests join together to form common interest groups to share their knowledge, skills and experience.

Members are encouraged to contribute in an informal atmosphere. They may be a leader in an interest group one day, and a student or participant in another group the next.

They may have expertise from their working lives, out-of-work activity or an interesting hobby that they are willing to share with others.

As well as academic subjects, groups may want to develop and share practical skills, interests in social projects, cultural activities or leisure pursuits.

Pace and content of studies depend entirely on the individuals making up the interest group and you should participate in order to gain the most.

There are currently around 40 varied interest or study groups in Mansfield helping people to join-in with continuing learning in academic subjects at summer schools, social activities and hobbies with friendly, like-minded people.

The current list is here but all members are encouraged to form new ones if they have additional skills and experience they'd like to share - if they can attract sufficient support from other members.

Where do we do it?
We hold a monthly Main Meeting for all members from 10 am to 12.15 pm on the third Tuesday of each month (except in August and December) and usually have an invited speaker on a topic of general interest. (Programme here.)
mansfield u3a meeting place at mansfield town one call stadium
Monthly meetings are held in the 1861 Suite at Mansfield Town Football Club, One Call Stadium, Quarry Lane, Mansfield NG18 5DA, which has full disabled access. The car park has a large capacity but we ask members to park sensibly.

(The doors open at 9.45 and most group leaders try to arrive by then so that's a good time to catch them before the meeting starts. They are also there to chat and update members during the interval.)

Interest Groups make their own meeting arrangements to suit the needs of each particular one – in halls, pubs & hotels, private homes or wherever suits them.

How neighbouring U3As work together.
Mansfield U3A has informal contact with our neighbours through the North Nottinghamshire Neighbourhood Group that was formed in 2007.

This meets twice-yearly to maintain friendly contact between our adjoining U3As and provide support to new U3As when requested. Chairmanship rotates around the Group and Mike Allen (mikeallen@lichfieldave.freeserve.co.uk) represents Mansfield.

The current members are:
Ashfield, Dukeries,Forest Town, Mansfield, Rainworth, Sherwood and Sutton.

Examples of cooperative endeavour include joint social events such as a Jubilee Jamboree at the John Fretwell Complex in 2012, a
Picnic in the Park at Rufford in 2011 and the Royal Revelry on Tuesday June 7th. 2016 at the John Fretwell Centre.

Members from all NNNG U3As also join in on holidays and at other social events.

Each U3A maintains a Neighbourhood notice board which carries news of joint interest groups thus increasing the range of interests available to members. It also publicises details of neighbouring U3As’ holidays, outings and other events with the contact numbers of their organisers.

Mansfield U3A at County Level
At county level, Mansfield U3A is part of the Nottinghamshire County Network, one of five that were formed in 2009. Its chairman is Jeremy Lioyd of Sherwood U3A; Mansfield is now represented by Mike Allen (mikeallen@lichfieldave.freeserve.co.uk).

It brings together representatives from U3As throughout Nottinghamshire who wish to cooperate and share experiences, and new ones are added as they form.

Similar networks serve U3As in Derbys, Leics & Rutland, Lincs and Northants. (Further details are here.)

Mansfield U3A at Regional and National Level
At regional level, the five County Networks form the Association of East Midlands U3As, which has its own constitution and governing body, the Regional Representative Council, where two representatives from each of the five counties meet four times a year. Its constitution is here.

The Association of East Midlands U3As in its turn elects a Regional Trustee, currently Jane Pavier.
Mansfield U3A Nationally
At national level, the National Executive Committee currently consists of 16 members elected from all parts of the United Kingdom and constitutes the board of Trustees and the board of Directors responsible, as the Third Age Trust, for administrative and educational support to all local U3As nationwide. It is both a registered charity and a limited company.
About the U3A Internationally
The U3A is an international organisation that was first established at the University of Toulouse in France in 1972.

The intention was to improve the quality of life for mature (retired) people by encouraging them to join existing academic programmes run by the local universities or short courses set up especially for them. The idea spread rapidly throughout France and then onto other parts of the world, leading in 1975 to the formation of an International Association of U3As (AIUTA) with the aim of promoting active learning, research and community service among Third Agers everywhere.

In 1982 the U3A concept was introduced to Britain, but as adult education was well established in the UK (and Third Agers were clearly capable of managing their own affairs) the U3As quickly evolved away from the French model of university-provided courses to a mutual aid and self-help organisation.

There is a reservoir of knowledge, skills and experience amongst retired people and in the British model this is tapped and put to use for the benefit of others. (This more-informal, shared-learning model based on peer group learning, as distinct from academic institution-led learning, has now been adopted by many other countries.)

The name of the organisation chosen by the French has been retained but the word 'university' is used in the UK in its original sense, ie 'a collective of people devoted to a particular kind of activity or personal development'. It is not a system of formal education so there are no deadlines or examinations to sit; nor any of the entry qualifications or restrictions normally associated with the word 'university'. It is simply learning for pleasure.