Brixham U3A relaunches after Covid crashed the party

Lynn Moore on the U3A stand at the town hall 135th anniversary celebrations at Scala Hall, Brixham

Lynn Moore on the U3A stand at the town hall 135th anniversary celebrations at Scala Hall, Brixham - Credit: Diane Curtis 

Brixham University of the Third Age (U3A) is relaunching in time for its 20th birthday.

The bid to revive the group following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown started on Saturday, October 23, when a U3A stand was manned in Scala Hall, Brixham, as part of the town hall 135th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Victorian building in 1886.

Lynn Moore, treasurer of Brixham U3A, was heartened and encouraged by the public interest in what the branch had to offer the local community.

But she was also surprised that so many people who visited the stand were unaware of the very existence of the U3A movement. 

Brixham U3A joined the Third Age Trust in May, 2002, with emphasis on being a self-help group for people to share their experience, talents, and interests.

Early meetings were held at the community college and included a natural history group and a travel group, quickly followed by creative writing and a luncheon club. Reflexology and aromatherapy were soon added to the list of options.

They received a National Lottery grant of £4,873 in 2003, earmarked to pay speakers and fund educational visits.

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Naturally, groups formed, mutated, and dissolved over the years to be replaced by different diverse types of activity or subject. Among others these included boules, coffee mornings, art appreciation, Spanish and water colour painting. Summer teas and Christmas lunches were a regular feature until Covid crashed the party. 

The U3A is probably one of the fastest-growing community projects to have developed in the country over the past 40 years.

It was established in 1982 as a movement of locally run interest groups, which provide a representative range of opportunities, to come together and learn for fun.

There are now more than 1,000 branches of the U3A across England, Scotland, and Wales with in excess of 400,000 members.

There is no minimum age limit but there is a focus on folk who no longer have demanding work commitments or the time-consuming responsibility of raising a family. Nobody is aiming to gain qualifications of any type and none are offered. There is no distinction between the learners and the teachers – everybody can take a turn at being either, depending on the expertise or skill they have to offer. It is a non-religious, non-political, not for profit, community-based organisation. 

If you would like to find out more, or have a skill you would consider sharing, visit, https://u3asites.org.uk/brixham/home. Alternatively, go along to the next meeting on Tuesday, November 9, at 1.45pm at Brixham Cricket Club, when there will be a talk by John Risden about the Dart estuary.