U3A in Scotland
part of the Third Age Trust
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About U3A, Principles and Objectives
U3A parent group (the Third Age Trust)
U3A stands for the University of the Third Age, which is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full time employment or with parental responsibilities, providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment. It consists of local U3As all over the UK, which are charities in their own right and are run entirely by volunteers. Local U3As are learning cooperatives which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members to organise and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership. The teachers learn and the learners teach. Between them U3As offer the chance to study over 300 different subjects in such fields as art, languages, music, history, life sciences, philosophy, computing, crafts, photography and walking. A typical U3A has about 250 members but could be as small as 12 and as large as 2000. The U3A approach to learning is - learning for pleasure. There is no accreditation or validation and there are no assessments or qualifications to be gained. There is no absolute minimum age for joining, and no maximum either, and no pre-qualifications are required.
1. The Third Age Trust and the U3As recognise the immense resources of skills, experience and enthusiasm, possessed by older people who are no longer in full-time employment.
2. Individual members are both learners and teachers, giving their services freely. All contribute to any eventual costs of using educational or cultural facilities.
3. Membership is open to all irrespective of religion or ethnic origin. No educational qualifications are required or given.
4. While subscribing to the guiding principles of the Trust, each U3A is independently managed by its own members.
5. As far as is practicable, U3A members are willing to help other members of the elderly population to organise themselves to achieve similar benefits to those enjoyed in existing U3As.
- To encourage those older people no longer in full-time employment to engage in educational and cultural activities.
- To find and help such people use their skills to teach and learn.
- To provide affordable education to all members.
- To make the population, as well as educational establishments, aware of the existence and aims of U3As.
- To encourage people of all cultures to participate and both give and receive the benefits of mutual experience.
- To seek to include the housebound and the disabled in the educational and cultural activities of the U3As.
- To ensure adequate recognition of the abilities of the elderly.
- To obtain access to, and the use of, facilities for the activities of the U3As from National and local government and other organisations.
- To actively demonstrate the continuing contributions made by the third agers to the well-being of the community as a whole .