About The Third Age Trust
The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for U3As in the UK. It is both a limited company and a registered charity. It underpins the work of local U3As by providing educational and administrative support to their management committees and to individual members and assists in the development of new U3As across the UK. It is managed by a National Executive Committee which consists of a Chairman, 3 other Officers and 12 representatives from the government regions in the UK. The Third Age Trust is funded mainly by annual subscriptions paid by member U3As on a per capita basis, with the occasional grant for specific projects. It has 7 full time and 7 part time staff and is located in Bromley.
The Relationship Between U3As and The Third Age Trust
U3As are independently managed charitable associations with their own constitutions. Membership of The Third Age Trust is a requirement in order to use the U3A name and logo both of which are protected but once registered, providing the aims and guiding principles of the organisation are adhered to, local U3As are self-governing.
Our vision is to make lifelong learning, through the experience of U3A, a reality for all third agers.
Our mission declares our purpose as an organisation and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions. It is to:
- Facilitate the growth of the U3A movement.
- Provide support for management and learning in U3As.
- Raise the profile of the U3A movement.
- Promote the benefits of learning in later life through self help learning.
The Principles 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.
Further information on The U3A Trust and movement can be found on the Third Age Trust Website.