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It's never too late to Learn, Laugh, Live

03 September 2020

U3A Wantage

Some of our owners are members of the Wantage & Grove U3A. We recently caught up with Hazel Townesend to find out more about the organisation, what the Wantage & Grove group gets up to, and how to join.

What is U3A?

The Third Age trust is a registered charity originating in France in 1972, with the first British U3A being established in 1982. The aims are to offer educational, creative and leisure activities for retired and semi-retired people using the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm of our members; encouraging all to Learn, Laugh, Live.

There are groups around the world and up and down the UK. Some of these have thousands of members whereas others only a handful; however, regardless of size, each has a wide variety of activities to reflect members’ interests. Even though the groups are all individual there is an Annual General Meeting of the Third Age Trust, all members are welcome to join. This year it will be held online. The Trust also hosts competitions and other activities to get all the members across the world involved.

It’s a great way to indulge in hobbies with like-minded people, learn and expand your knowledge and interests, as well as make new friends. No qualifications are needed in order to be a member nor are any given.

What can people expect when joining the Wantage and Grove group?

Before the pandemic we held meetings with speakers twice a month for all members, however these meetings are still being held but via the internet. Those without internet connection can join in by phone. There is a varied programme of talks from members and invited speakers.

We hold a monthly ‘New Members Coffee Morning’ usually in a local coffee shop, (presently on-line) enabling the opportunity to get to know other members and offer new members and those considering joining the opportunity to find out more. Currently we have over 170 members. There is no upper or lower age limit, but as it is for retired people we are mostly older; our oldest member is over 100.

As part of U3A we have Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which are led and held by members in their homes or other locations. We have a variety on offer including art, literature, philosophy, music making, line dancing, German conversation and walking to name just a few, many of these are still being held in spite of restrictions.  There really is something for everyone, and if you have a special interest you’d like to share, then new groups are always welcome. There really is no limit to what can be explored or enjoyed.

Have you still been able to make the most of the groups and activities during lockdown?

We’ve had to rearrange some of our guest speakers but we’ve been making the most of technology and hosting quite a lot of meetings and activities over Zoom. We’ve got some great talks coming up.

Our walking groups have also recently been able to get out and about in smaller socially-distant groups, which is great. The Gardening group has met and other groups are considering restarting in person.

How can you become a member?

You can get in touch with us on our website and arrange to join one of our ‘Virtual’ New Members’ Coffee Mornings. If you’d just like to find out a little more information then get in touch and one of us will be more than happy to share more details.

Email [email protected] or phone 07546 631089. Membership of Wantage & Grove U3A is £20 a year.

If you’re not in our area then you can visit the main U3A website and you’ll be sure to find a group close to you. Membership fees and SIGs locally vary.

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There are still a selection of one and two bedroom apartments available to buy or rent at Renaissance’s Wantage development, so if you’re looking for a new home in a flourishing community then get in touch with the team to find out more about life at Renaissance in Wantage:01235 330168 or e mail: [email protected]