FAQ

Here is a list of (supposedly) frequently-asked questions (FAQs). Click on a question and you’ll be taken to the answer lower down the page.

It’s called the University of the Third Age – do I need a degree to join?
Certainly not! Membership is open to anyone regardless of educational background. U3A is a national organisation started in this country in the 1980s. Earlier on, in France, local universities did have a guiding hand in the running of U3A groups, but this model was not adopted when the movement got off the ground in Britain. The name has just stuck.

So who is eligible to join U3A?
Anyone can join if there are not in full-time employment and are in their ‘third age’ – that is of more mature years, when usually the responsibilities of bringing up a family have passed.

What sort of activities and interest groups can Arnold U3A offer me?
Just click on the ‘Interest Groups’ tab at the top of the page – you’ll see that there is a wide range of things to get involved in. And if there is something which you would like to partake in which doesn’t feature, you might want to consider starting up a group yourself. We can help you do that if you are interested.

Do I have to join any interest groups?
Not if you don’t want to, although if you don’t you could be missing a great opportunity to meet new friends and do something that really takes your fancy. There are always the main meetings, which take place at 1.45pm on the first Tuesday of each month, in Arnold Methodist Church, on the corner of Front Street and Worrall Avenue. Most months, a speaker is invited to talk to us on any one of a variety of interesting and topical themes.

How do I join an interest group?
There are a number of ways to do this. You can attend one of the main meetings, when each interest group will usually have a display to show what’s coming up – and then you can meet the group leader and register your interest. You do need to be a paid-up member of Arnold U3A to join an interest group. Alternatively you can contact the group leader directly, or get in touch with the Interest Groups Coordinator. Click on the ‘Interest groups’ tab at the top of this page to get their details.

I see the meetings are held in a church. Is the U3A a religious organisation?
No – U3A has no religious affiliations and meetings are open to anyone, regardless of religious or cultural beliefs. We are using the church simply because it’s a large enough venue in the centre of Arnold.

How much does it cost to join?
Membership for a full year costs £15 – made up of £11.50 subscription to Arnold U3A and £3.50 to the national U3A (Third Age Trust). You can attend up to two main meetings without becoming a member, although we will ask for a £1 donation to help with expenses.

What happens if I want to join mid-way through the year?
The membership year runs from 1st November through to 31st October. If you join after 1st May you will only have to pay £9 and from 1 August it’s £6.

Why do I have to pay towards the national U3A – and what is this Third Age Trust?
The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for U3As in the UK. It is both a limited company and a registered charity. It underpins the work of local U3As by providing educational and administrative support to their management committees and to individual members, as well as assisting in the development of new U3As across the UK. U3As are independently managed charitable associations with their own constitutions. Membership of The Third Age Trust is a requirement in order to use the U3A name and logo, both of which are protected. Once registered, providing the aims and guiding principles of the organisation are adhered to, local U3As are self-governing.

I am already a member of another U3A group – can I join Arnold U3A?
Yes, you can. You will only have to pay the annual subscription charge if you have paid a full subscription to another U3A (you will need to provide proof of that), in which case you can become an associate member of Arnold U3A.

If I am already a member of another U3A, does that mean I will be entitled to attend any of the groups run by Arnold U3A?
Not necessarily. It will depend on the particular circumstances of the activity you have in mind. For example, some meetings are held in members’ own homes, so space would be a consideration.

If I am a member of Arnold U3A, can I join in activities in other local U3A organisations which I might join?
Again, it will depend on circumstances. You would need to check with those people running the activities in the other U3A of which you might be a member.

I am registered disabled. Will I still be able to become a member of Arnold U3A and join in the various activities?
There is no reason why anyone registered as disabled can’t join Arnold U3A. The church hall where the main meetings are held has disabled access for anyone with mobility difficulties (there is space to store mobility scooters), and has an induction loop for the hard of hearing. Spaces are reserved for wheelchair users or others with walking problems or are hard of hearing or partially sighted. As for joining in activities, that will depend on the nature of the activity involved, and the venue where that activity takes place. If you think this may be an issue, it’s probably best to raise it with the group leader to clarify the position.

I am registered disabled and would need a carer to accompany me to meetings or events. Do we both have to pay to join U3A?
In such cases, persons registered as disabled would be charged, but we would waive the subscription for the carer, on the basis that they could only attend meetings and events when accompanying the disabled person. Otherwise they would have to pay the full amount to join in the same way as any other member. Proof of the registered disability (and need for a carer) would be required.

Can I see the constitution?
Yes, it’s here.

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