Welcome to our website

What is U3A?

University of the Third Age is an international organisation which promotes active learning, research, community services plus social and recreational activities to those no longer in active full time employment. Currently, it has 1050 branches around the UK with a membership exceeding 440,000.

What is The Third Age?

The First Age is childhood.
The Second Age is full employment and responsibility.
The Third Age is retirement - a time of creativity, fulfilment and enjoyment.

University of The Third Age takes its name from the Université du Troisième Age, which was founded by the Toulouse University in 1972. It rapidly spread worldwide to become the International Association of Universities of the Third Age of which the UK became a member in 1982 with the name The Third Age Trust. This is a charitable organisation devoted to education in the broadest meaning of the word and more information can be obtained from its website: The U3A Mission Statement can be obtained using the link in the "Downloads" panel to the right.

Why University?

The title chosen by the French has been retained, but the word "university" is used in its original sense, ie "a co-operative of people devoted to a particular kind of activity." No academic qualifications are required, none are awarded, and professional tutors are seldom employed. Study groups are very relaxed, non-competitive, and they frequently create new friendships. The U3A motto is "Learning with Pleasure."

Local branches

These are affiliated to The Third Age Trust, and in the UK all local U3As are autonomous. Our strength is that we decide what we would like to do and then we arrange it.

Every four months branch members may receive through the Trust a copy of the Third Age magazine; this contains information about travel, events, and nationally organised educational courses.

The Sidcup & District U3A branch

The Sidcup & District branch was founded in 1994. Our principal activities are focused around special interest groups, of which we have about 40. The subjects we cover include culture, literature, history, crafts and recreation. Most groups are small in size and determine their own course of study under a chosen leader. There are no formal lectures and members are encouraged to share in a joint process of learning and discovery. We arrange occasional outings to professional concerts and operas - usually in London, and usually at discount prices. Sometimes a group may arrange a holiday.

We hold general meetings in the New Community Church Centre (which has wheelchair access and loop system), 24 Station Road, at 2.00 pm on the 3rd Thursday of every month to which we invite guest speakers. Refreshments are available after each meeting and the proceeds from their sale are donated to an annually selected charity. New members are always welcome to join - but please arrive about thirty minutes before we start. Alternatively, you may email our Membership Secretary via the "Contact Us" button in the menu. Membership is open to everyone falling into the category described under "What is U3A?" above and is not related to any faith. Most of our members live either in the borough of Bexley, or in a neighbouring area.

All of these activities, together with reports of previous events, are covered in a printed monthly newsletter which is available to all members. It can also be downloaded from the Newletters page. The annual membership fee for 2020 is £18.00 and this entitles you to attend meetings and as many courses as you wish - provided there are vacancies. (Separate charges apply for some outings). When the desired course does not yet exist, or a group is fully subscribed, enterprising members will simply create a new one.

We produce an annual booklet which displays our programme and describes the activities of our interest groups. Groups that currently have a vacancy are advertised in the latest Newsletter. For other information, see the "Frequently Asked Questions" section HERE.
The New Community Church Centre
24 Station Road, Sidcup
© 2020 Sidcup & District U3A
Webmaster vacant.  Website last updated 20/2/20
A membership renewal form for 2020 is attached to the November Newsletter
- available HERE or from the Membership Secretary.

The subscription for 2020 is £18.
© David Smith