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76 LOCAL CLUBS AND SOCIETIES Dart Valley U3A


A few facts to be going on with…


Description: U3A stands for University of the Third Age. It’s a UK-wide movement, with various activity and interest groups so retired people can continue to learn (and play!) in a happy, friendly and informal environment.


History: The Dartmouth group was formed in 1999 by Andy and Joyce Borthwick.


Examples of interest groups: Geology, French, Classics, Sports and Music.


Number of members: 500.


Three words to describe the club: Fun, interactive, energising.


How the club works… U3A is run by members for members. Interest groups take place in local halls or members’ homes and there’s also a variety of talks at monthly meetings at the Flavel. There is something going on nearly everyday with 34 groups in total. They cover most interests with active choices such as zumba, yoga, garden- ing and walking and more sedate options such as French conversation, patchwork and quilting and book clubs. There are also pub lunches and short breaks away such as this year’s History of Art Group trip to Barcelo- na in October visiting galleries and museums in the city. Where it all began… U3A started in France in 1973 but in Britain it began in 1981. Its aim is to encourage groups of people in their third age (after finishing work and/ or raising a family) to pursue their interests or try something new with the extra time they have to enjoy. There are now over a thousand U3A groups across the UK, and more than 400,000 members. Why Join… Chairman Gail Richmond: “Members expand their knowledge by attend- ing groups, although some groups are more educational than others! Within the town there are many clubs and activities to join, but U3A is prob- ably the biggest; it is a wonderful organisation for meeting people and making friends, especially if you are


on your own. “We have almost 500 paid up mem- bers, which is a very good number for a small town. Most members are local to the town, but several people travel in from the outlying villages and a few are members of both Kingsbridge and Dart Valley U3A.” New groups… Dart Valley U3A hope more people will join and bring their own ex- pertise so they can start even more groups. Gail says from time to time they leave a sheet of paper out for people to suggest a new group and it seems members are eager to try country dancing, learn more about natural history and get creative with art workshops. There are two ways to start a group: someone who’s prepared to run it will suggest one, lets say Wild Swimming and see if there is any response. Another way is to look at ideas suggested by members and if enough people are interested, then try to find a person to lead the group.


The annual subscription is £10 and it costs £2 most second Thursdays in the month to have a coffee and listen to a talk. In addition, interest groups charge a nominal amount to cover the cost of room hire and refreshments. All the groups and talks are listed on the website - u3asites.org.uk/ dartvalley.


If you would like your club or society featured in future issues of By the Dart we would really like to hear from you. Please email mark@bythedart.co.uk or call 01803 835740 or 07775 773837.


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