Thursday, 7 March 2013

Today's guest was Mary Baines from Veralum U3A

New University in St Albans

These are exciting times for people in St Albans who value the courses available through the University of the Third Age (U3A).

Next Tuesday marks the inaugural meeting of the brand new Verulam U3A which will be offering as many as fifty courses to those with an enquiring mind and time to spare.

The Third Age Trust has been in existence for thirty years from its origins in France and such is the popularity of the way it works that Verulam U3A will be the 30th branch to be formed in Hertfordshire.

The courses are all based on the self-help principle and are open to usually older people who are no longer in full-time employment but are willing to help each other by sharing their knowledge, skills, interests and experience.  If sufficient interest is raised in a particular skill, a group will be subsequently set up.  As trends change and people live a healthier and longer life, retirees are not content so idle away their time and want to engage in activities that make the most of their well earned time off.

No qualifications are needed to start off and at the same time the University does not offer these.  Group sizes vary according to the subject and venue. Some are in Community Halls, a few are school based, many are in members homes and others, such as theatre, walking and bus groups, just make use of the big wide world. The costs are minimal and shared within each group

More than 400 people have registered an interest in the Verulam U3A but there is room for as many who wish to join what promises to be a vibrant organisation. The courses are already too many in number to list but vary from Gardening to German, Walking to Wine-tasting, Mahjong to ‘Macs’, Football to Family History and Philosophy to Photography.  One particular group represents a new trend called 'walking football', similar to the usual game but with running totally banned - sounds a real challenge!

The inaugural meeting takes place in the welcoming St Pauls Church in Hatfield Road at 10.00am on Tuesday 12th March. Refreshments will be served between the inaugural meeting and the opportunity to sign up for groups.  If anyone is unable to attend they can email

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