Radlett residents are being invited to join an organisation full of unique groups and interesting activities: Radlett & District u3a.
For those of you of a certain age who have never heard of u3a, it is a UK-wide movement founded in 1982, comprised of locally-run interest groups which provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun.
Membership 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.
The ethos of the organisation is one of self-help using the wealth of experience and knowledge of its members for the benefit of all.
Members explore new ideas, skills and activities together. They have study groups in a very large variety of subjects which can be found online at radlettu3a.org.uk
A spokesperson for the group explained: “Radlett and District u3a started in 2012 with an overwhelming response, with people keen to join, but many also volunteered to lead groups or do other jobs. From the beginning, the emphasis was on being a friendly and welcoming organisation, where everyone was encouraged to participate actively.
“Before COVID and lockdown, welcome meetings were usually held in a committee member’s home rather than a hall. Over tea and cakes, the new members are told what is on offer in the way of groups and outings and are encouraged to volunteer their talents.
“At the monthly meetings, there is a team of ‘meeters and greeters’ who look out for anyone new or on their own and spend time with them, introducing them to others and showing them the groups and outings tables.
“Our monthly meetings are held at the police college in Watford (near Costco). We hope that we will be back to this as soon as we are allowed.
“Many interest groups actively involve members by encouraging them to take a turn in a presentation, or helping with refreshments. As it is important that all members feel valued and supported, cards are sent to those who are ill or have been bereaved.
“Several members have said that our u3a helped them rebuild their lives after bereavement, and many have made lasting friendships.
“Special efforts are made to include those with disabilities where possible. Those who lip read are encouraged to sit at the front of meetings and speakers are asked not to cover their mouths with a microphone or talk towards a screen. The halls that are used have lifts or ground floor rooms. Members are able to bring a carer to meetings.”
Membership at the Radlett u3a grew so quickly that within two years, it was decided that they would no longer accept members from outside its geographic area, meaning that all new members must be from Radlett, Shenley or Aldenham. Those who were already members are still able to renew each year and a partner of a member is allowed to join. There are currently 750 members and more than 60 interest groups.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions, members have been kept busy by numerous weekly Zoom meetings, speakers once a fortnight, quizzes, and a newsletter with all their weekly information, plus personal stories. These can also be seen on the group’s website.
If joining Radlett u3a interests you, or if you would like to learn more, please email email@example.com or visit radlettu3a.org.uk