The U3A of Highbridge is 5 years old in the town and is one of over 500 within the United Kingdom; its full title is the “University of the Third Age”.
The idea originated in France around 1972, the idea being to have an organisation that would provide to retired persons the opportunity for additional learning. Although people may have retired from full time employment many wish to occupy their leisure/free time with some worthwhile activity. The idea was taken up in England in 1982, quickly spreading throughout the country. It has now spread worldwide and it is understood that there are about 20,000 U.3.A.’s in China.
The Third Age Trust, to which the majority of clubs are affiliated, recognises that there is an immense resource of skills, experience and enthusiasm possessed by people who are no longer in full time employment. The emphasis is on the value of doing something to keep active, of meeting people who have like interests and, together you can acquire and improve skills in a relaxed and friendly environment. Members are free to undertake to learn and help others to learn whatever they wish, no previous experience is needed – just enthusiasm and an interest in taking part.
The local club meets on a Wednesday morning from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Highbridge Social Club. It is self financing and it has groups which cover many subjects, art, swimming, social, travel, theatre and keep fit and is continually aiming to provide more facilities for the people of Highbridge.
Footnote, A majority of the Highbridge History Project team responsible for the research and production of this book are U.3.A of Highbridge members.