Chair, Tim Ewbank, talks to Cambridge Edition about the University of the Third Age in Cambridge. Run by members, U3AC is a charity offering over 300 courses and leisure activities to over 2,000 retired and semi-retired people in Cambridge and the surrounding areas.
When I retired, I craved structure to my week and wanted to stay mentally and physically active; having heard about U3AC from a friend, I thought about joining. Upon enquiring, I was truly astonished by the size and range of courses and activities on offer. Canasta or Chaucer, meditation or mahjong, philosophy or poetry. Fancy a game of badminton, or perhaps a spot of bird watching? Maybe you want to chat in a range of languages, including French, German, and Italian? At U3AC you can join a book group or a bridge game, maybe a walking group, a science or history lecture or even try tap dancing. There really is something for everyone.
Having always loved learning, I really liked the idea of no exams or pressure, just participating in activities for the enjoyment of it, and I have found a community within U3AC that shares my interests and enthusiasm.
After being part of the organisation for a few years, I decided to run my own course – making the most of your iPad – when I realised there was an interest among other members. Becoming braver still, I elected to join the council as a trustee, fast forward and now I am currently chair.
Over the last few years we have adapted to new ways of learning; the core of what we do is unchanged, but can now be delivered in more diverse ways. Rather than only offering face-to-face or online classes, we offer a hybrid option in which some members are in the room and others are attending remotely, simultaneously.
In addition to courses, U3AC offers a weekly lecture series and social events throughout the year, bringing members together and offering the chance to meet more like-minded people. You’ll also find members congregating over a cup of coffee after lessons in our Bridge Street premises, central Cambridge. U3AC’s course program follows an academic cycle, with three terms starting in October. New members are welcome to join at any time!
For further information about courses, vacancies and membership visit u3ac.org.uk