Information for New Members

TU3A History and Aims

Tonbridge University of the Third Age (Tu3a) is one of over 1000 u3as linked to the Third Age Trust (TAT). The guiding principles of our u3a can be summarised as a self-help organisation providing informal educational, creative and social opportunities in a friendly environment. University is used in its original sense - a local gathering of people to share knowledge - and the u3a neither requires nor awards any qualifications. It is open to all those in their third age when full time employment has ceased. For those preparing for retirement from work, membership is available on request.

Our u3a is a registered charity, run by the Management Committee whose members are Trustees and have specific responsibilities.

We join with all other u3as in Kent in the Kent Network which is incorporated in the SE Forum. Both organise Study Days and the Forum organises Conferences and Summer Schools which are open to all members. The whole SE region is represented on the National Committee by a Regional Trustee.

Tu3a has grown to its present membership of over 1200 from the original 200 members in 2000.

There are more than 90 interest groups, meeting in members’ homes, in halls or out on visits.

In addition, Theatre and Travel Outings are open to all members, as are the speaker meetings, which are held on the first Wednesday of most months.

Instead of a speaker in October, there is an Open Afternoon when members, both new and renewing, can find out more about specific groups by speaking to the groups’ organisers. In December we hold a Christmas Event.

In keeping with its guiding principle, Tu3a is run by and succeeds through the contribution of volunteers. Therefore members are encouraged to start up new groups to study subjects of interest to themselves, or to help or host existing groups, or to join teams organising events or carrying out administration.

Benefits to Current Tu3a Members

1. Monthly meetings: First Wednesdays 2.00pm to 3.45pm with guest speakers, followed by refreshments and the opportunity to introduce yourself to Committee Members or our Meet & Greet team, Group Leaders and other members. Angel Centre car parks are Pay & Display.

2. Travel Team Outings most months & several Theatre Visits: Details and application forms provided in the monthly Journal, on the website and on notice boards at the monthly meeting.

3. Annual Handbook: Management Committee contacts and general information. Lists of dates, topics or places for the next year’s monthly meetings and outings. Description of each group’s activities with Organiser’s contact details. Published in August/September each year.

4. Groups: Currently standing at more than 90 interest groups. Contact the Group Leader to join (listed in the Handbook and updated in the Journal). New arrangements are considered if Groups reach capacity. Contact the Group Co-ordinator if you have problems joining a group. Details of meeting dates, location and topic are obtainable from Group Leaders.

5. Short Courses and Study Days: National, Regional and Local. Advertised in Tu3a Journal and on the Tu3a website, Third Age Matters (see 10 below) and their websites.

6. Tu3a Journal: Monthly publication providing information on current and future Tu3a events. Sent as pdf by e-mail and available on website. Also provided in print and posted or hand delivered to those preferring this version.

7. Website: This website provides up-to-date details of our interest groups, events and outings, u3a short courses and study days. It is not password protected to make it easy to use.

8. Members’ Welfare: Please inform a committee member if you know of any member who is in hospital, unwell at home or bereaved. We will arrange a phone call, visit or card with the good wishes of the Committee and members.

9. Third Age Trust: Our national representative body provides support and resources. Often referred to as u3a “National”. Contact details in the Journal and at u3a site.

10. Third Age Matters Magazine: posted 5 times a year from National u3a Office.

11. Monthly Coffee Mornings: Held on the third Friday of each month at The Rose & Crown Hotel, High Street, Tonbridge (map)


Membership Fee: £15 per person or £25 for two at the same address; 1 September - 31 August.

Half fee charged if joining after 1 March. Payment by Standing Order only.

We regret that Tonbridge u3a cannot offer reduced membership fees for those new members who are already enrolled in another u3a.

If you pay Income Tax at least equal to the tax that Tonbridge u3a can reclaim, please Gift Aid your subscription. Your declaration remains valid until it is cancelled.

Under Charities regulations, u3as are not permitted to use their funds to make donations to other charities.

Each u3a event and each Group needs to be self financing. Members attending groups in homes or car-sharing as part of a group activity are requested to contribute towards the host’s/driver’s expenses if necessary. The amount to be paid should be agreed by the group, 40p is suggested for refreshments, with agreement of the host.

Members attending groups in rented halls will be asked to contribute to the fee as well as for any refreshments.

We welcome guests at our monthly talks and appreciate £1 donation. If someone new comes regularly, we would ask them to join.

The Management Committee reserve the right to cancel or refuse membership at any time.


With over 1200 members and more than 90 groups, communication between the Management Committee, Group Leaders, other volunteers and members is maintained through the monthly Journal, with quicker and more detailed information on the website.

The Journal is produced at the start of each month and delivered either as a pdf by e-mail, or as a printed copy sent by post or hand delivered. You are encouraged to take the Journal by e-mail to save costs, but you can register for the printed version if that suits you better. It conveys messages from our Chair and other officers, occasional reviews and photos of recent events, notice of future activities including the Monthly Meetings, presentations and workshops, news from the Groups and Travel Team Organisers, and booking forms for events, travel trips and theatre visits.

This website gives up to date details of all the activities provided by Tonbridge u3a. It is a useful introduction to potential members, giving general information about our groups and events and a joining pack can be downloaded to apply for membership. It lists redacted back issues of the Journals and current versions of our various policy documents in the Small Print section.

Legal Arrangements

The Third Age Trust provides us with insurance policies to cover Public and Products Liability, Money Cover, All Risks Equipment Insurance, Home Contents Cover, Charity Indemnity Insurance and Tour Operator’s Liability. An overview of these and helpful FAQs is available on their website or from a Committee member, to help you establish what cover is provided for you attending or running groups. In the event of an incident, an Incident Report must be completed (click here for a copy) and then sent to the Treasurer

Joining Groups & Setting Up New Groups

In the Handbook, all of our groups are listed in A - Z order with descriptions of their aims and activities. Details of the dates, location and contact details of Group Leaders(s) as at the time of publication are also shown. Any changes to a group's information made after the Handbook is published will be printed in the monthly Journal and the website updated.

When you wish to join a group, please contact the Group Leader, contact details not on this website due to privacy issues but are in the Handbook. Although a lot of members sign up at the Open Afternoon in October after meeting the Leaders, you can join most groups at any time of the year.

Where the group is unable to take more members, due to space or nature of the group, they may hold a waiting list you can join. For this reason, if you stop attending groups, do let them know you will not be returning, so they can welcome new members.

If a group is full, do contact the Groups Co-ordinator, so they can see if enough other members and a Leader can be found to set up a second group.

Tonbridge u3a does not pay tutors but groups do not have to depend on finding an expert in their u3a; there’s a Resource Centre at National Office that can support everyone wanting to learn and share the teaching.

Tonbridge u3a depends on the willingness of members to share their skills, organise new opportunities and provide hospitality.