Crowborough’s University of the Third Age celebrates its 10th birthday

The University of the Third Age (U3A) has been inspiring and engaging active minds in Crowborough since 2006 and there are over 650 members sharing their skills and expanding their knowledge across sixty five interest groups ranging from aviation to the world of wine.

Pictured in photo from left to right: Margaret Bird (Treasurer), Shirley Moss (Chairman), Joan Webber (Former Chairman) and Sheila Royle (Speakers' Secretary).  Photo courtesy of Paul Penrith.

Pictured in photo from left to right: Margaret Bird (Treasurer), Shirley Moss (Chairman), Joan Webber (Former Chairman) and Sheila Royle (Speakers’ Secretary). Photo courtesy of Paul Penrith.

The aims of the U3A are simple: to encourage people in their Third Age, no longer in full time employment, to live healthy, sociable lives and seek new interests by providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly and comfortable way.

Third Age refers to the period of time after the First Age of Childhood and Second Age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. It is a nationwide movement of local U3As which are charities in their own right and are run entirely by volunteers. The U3A approach to learning is – learning for pleasure.

The U3A is run by members for members and ideas for new interest groups are actively encouraged.  Activities include organised trips, pub lunches and singing for fun, as well as more academic subjects such as history, literature and French.  It’s about keeping fit, in mind and body, and engaging with the community to enrich those later years.  It’s a chance to try something new without the stress of exams and to share life skills and experiences with like-minded people.

Besides the interest groups, which meet in each other’s houses or hired local venues, there is a monthly general meeting which attracts nearly two hundred members.  Recently members celebrated 10 years of Crowborough U3A by enjoying a celebration cake, the first cut being made by Mrs Joan Webber, a founding member and former Chairman.  Joan said:

From a membership of 60 to 650 in 10 years is a great achievement and I am very proud to have been involved in that journey.  As a member of the original steering committee set up by Peter Bending in 2006 I was delighted to be part of Crowborough U3A I0th Anniversary celebrations and be able to thank all those who have given their time and support to make our U3A in Crowborough such a success.

Shirley Moss, the Chairman of Crowborough U3A is passionate about its positive effect on members’ lives:

I moved to East Sussex three years ago to be near my family and, other than them, I knew no-one. After joining Crowborough U3A I found I had more friends than I could count!  For a very modest annual subscription members can explore excellent opportunities for life-long learning and enjoy a great social life, indeed they often tell me how the organisation has changed their life.

On Thursday 17th November there is a drop in afternoon at the Crowborough Community Centre in Pine Grove, from 2 to 4pm when visitors can chat with members and find out about the various interest groups on offer.

Crowborough U3A’s monthly general meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at All Saints Church, Chapel Green.  Starting at 2.30pm (doors open at 2pm) they are a chance to chat, find out what’s happening and enjoy listening to a guest speaker. Topics to be covered in the coming year include: ‘My Life as a Bunny Girl’ and ‘Japanese Seasons and Festivals’. Visitors are always welcome.

If you wanting to know more about Crowborough U3A, take a look at their website is at:

Share Your Views