U3A in Ludlow History
U3A came to Ludlow in 1997 at a time when courses run in the town by Birmingham University, WEA and others were being withdrawn. One of our founding members knew that his sister was a member of the Wrexham U3A and, by co-incidence, she knew the man who “organised” new U3As. A quick phone call to him led to a wealth of information and he told us that two ladies in Ludlow had made tentative enquiries about forming a group in Ludlow. These ladies were quickly roped in, together with a group of friends, to form a working party.
Our inaugural meeting drew in around 50 and we had been well briefed by our U3A contact as to the formalities. With good press coverage growth was strong and in no time we were celebrating our 100th member. It was realised that in the previous few years Ludlow had been a “magnet” for couples who were looking for more than a “pipe and slippers” retirement. U3A filled the gap and recruitment was likened to “picking low-hanging fruit”.
In addition to the study groups we have seen over the years celebratory lunches and members’ entertainment together with popular outings and holidays.
After 16 years of growth we are seeing membership in excess of 500 with well over 50 study groups, meeting in a variety of
(Written by our founding Chairman David Hughes)
Aims and Guiding Principles of the U3A
The Universities of the Third Age (U3As) in the United Kingdom are autonomous, self-help organisations run by the voluntary efforts of their members. All U3As are members of the Third Age Trust (a Registered Charity) which is their national support and advisory body. The word “university” is used in its original sense of people coming together to share and pursue learning in all its forms. U3As have the following aims and guiding principles:-
1. To advance the education of the public and in particular the education of middle aged and older people in Ludlow and its surrounding locality who are not in full time gainful employment
2. The provision of facilities for leisure time and recreational activities with the objective of improving the conditions of life for the above persons in the interests of their social welfare.
A University of the Third Age is a learning co-operative of older people, which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activities. Activities are organised mainly in small groups that meet regularly, often in each other’s homes. Members, through sharing their knowledge, skills and experience, learn from each other.
U3A is the only national education organisation in the UK run entirely by its own members.
The U3A Movement is non-religious and non-political and has three main principles:
The Third Age Principle
a) Membership of a U3A is open to all in their third age, which is defined not by a particular age but by a period in life in which full time employment has ceased.
b) Members promote the values of lifelong learning and the positive attributes of belonging to a U3A.
c) Members should do all they can to ensure that people wanting to join a U3A can do so.
The Self-help Learning Principle
a) Members form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members.
b) No qualifications are sought or offered. Learning is for its own sake, with enjoyment being the prime motive, not qualifications or awards.
c) There is no distinction between the learners and the teachers; they are all U3A members.
The Mutual Aid Principle
a) Each U3A is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent but a member of The Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the U3A Movement.
b) No payments are made to members for services rendered to any U3A.
c) Each U3A is self-funded with membership subscriptions and costs kept as low as possible.
d) Outside financial assistance should only be sought if it does not imperil the integrity of the U3A movement.
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 and assists in the development of new U3As across the UK. It is managed by a National Executive Committee which consists of a Chairman, 3 other Officers and 12 representatives from the government regions in the UK. The Third Age Trust is funded mainly by annual subscriptions paid by member U3As on a per capita basis, with the occasional grant for specific projects. It has 7 full time and 7 part time staff and is located in Bromley, Kent.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN U3AS AND THE THIRD AGE TRUST
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 but once registered, providing the aims and guiding principles of the organisation are adhered to, local U3As are self-governing.