Ethos of the u3a Movement

The U3A movement is non-religious and non-political and has three main principles:

The Third Age Principle

    • Membership of a U3A is open to all in their third age, which is defined not by a particular age but by a period in life in which full time employment has ceased.
    • Members promote the values of lifelong learning and the positive attributes of belonging to a U3A.
    • Members should do all they can to ensure that people wanting to join a U3A can do so.

The Self-help Learning Principle

    • Members form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members.
    • No qualifications are sought or offered. Learning is for its own sake, with enjoyment being the prime motive, not qualifications or awards.
    • There is no distinction between the learners and the teachers; they are all U3A members.

The Mutual Aid Principle

    • Each U3A is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent but a member of The Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the U3A movement.
    • No payments are made to members for services rendered to any U3A.
    • Each U3A is self-funded with membership subscriptions and costs kept as low as possible.
    • Outside financial assistance should only be sought if it does not imperil the integrity of the U3A movement.

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