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Huntingdon U3A is our Charity of the Month for June

Picture credit: The British Normany Memorial

Introducing Hu3a….

….or, to give it its full title, Huntingdon University of the Third Age. 

Perhaps the first thing to tell you about Hu3a is what it’s not – it’s not a University; it’s nothing to do with academia; you don’t need a qualification to join; and you don’t get any qualifications as a member.

What you do get is the opportunity to meet people, make friends, have fun, learn new skills, find talents you never knew you had and improve your social life through shared learning and other activities.  That makes it sound like a giant social club, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is. But it’s a social club with a difference!

The u3a movement originated in France in 1972, at which time all French u3as were associated with a local university. When the first u3as were formed in the UK in 1982 there was much debate on whether to stick with “university” in the title and, although it’s still there, that’s where the connection ends.

In the UK, u3a is a movement of over 1000 charities that are governed by the Third Age Trust and which have a combined membership approaching half a million people. Huntingdon u3a was formed in 2000 and we currently have over 660 members from the town and surrounding districts.

Like all u3as, Hu3a is a charity run on a voluntary basis by, and for, it’s members. We have a large and dedicated team of willing volunteers who give freely of their time, knowledge and skills to enable others to try out new crafts, skills, hobbies and recreational activities – or to simply help with providing tea and coffee at events. But new volunteers are always welcomed and given all the support they need.

Our key activities are built around a core of 50 plus Interest Groups that meet regularly and cover subjects ranging from Art and Archaeology through to Line Dancing, learning to play the Ukulele and Wine Appreciation. In fact, we have two Wine Appreciation groups! You can enjoy activities that get you outside and help you to keep fit, like Walking, Golf and Cycling. You can join a Singing group, a Photography group, or play Bowls. You can play games like Cribbage, Canasta, Mahjong or Scrabble, or even learn languages like German, Italian or Spanish. In fact, just about anything that will help you enjoy life a and keep active in mind and body. And if you have some knowledge on any particular subject or activity and want to start your own group, you’ll get support to do just that.

In addition to all that we have monthly Open Meetings with a guest speaker and we organise regular theatre visits, short holidays in the UK and abroad, and day trips to places of interest. Our recent guest speakers have included the UK’s first female bomb disposal officer, a stunt artist who worked on the film Titanic, and the heroic exploits of a local WW2 fighter pilot.

And members are kept up to date with what’s going on by our monthly magazine – Upstream.

So, if you’re no longer in full time work, retired or semi-retired, if you’ve just moved into the area and are looking for things to do or to make new friends, HU3a could be just what you’re looking for. Members tell us that since joining Hu3a there are not enough hours in the day!

For more details, go to our website at u3asites.org.uk/huntingdon where you can download an application form. Or come along to one of our Open Meetings (held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month in the Methodist Church, Huntingdon). You can even “try us out” by attending a taster session at one of our groups – you’ll be made to feel very welcome

Do something brilliant today – join Hu3a!