Information for New Members

TU3A History and Aims 

Tonbridge University of the Third Age (Tu3a) is one of over 1000 organisations. 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 80+ interest groups, meeting in members' homes, in halls or out on visits.

In addition, Theatre 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. 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 80 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 9 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. 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

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

10. 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.

Associate Members will be asked to pay £7 as a single individual and £6 each for joint Associate Membership. These amounts will be halved if the individual(s) join during the period from 1 March to 31 July in the relevant membership year.

On joining, payment by cheque or bank transfer plus standing order will be required for subsequent annual payments.

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.

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. 


Communications within Tonbridge u3a are principally carried out via e-mail. Most Group Leaders communicate with their groups using e-mail (although some are also using WhatsApp). It is recognised that some members do not have an email address and group leaders will communicate via a phone call if necessary.

All members are encouraged to read the monthly journal, this is delivered either as a pdf by e-mail, or as a printed copy sent by post or delivered by hand. You are encouraged to take the journal by e-mail to save costs. 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, Travel and Theatre Teams and booking forms for events, travel trips and theatre visits.

The 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. A joining pack can be downloaded to apply for membership. The contacts page lists all the committee members with their contact details and also provides other useful e-mail addresses. All our policy documents are available on the Policy and Guidance Documents page of the website.

Legal Arrangements 

The Third Age Trust provides us with insurance policies to cover Public and Products Liability, Money Cover, Cyber Cover, All Risks Equipment Insurance, All Risks Home Contents Cover, Charity Trustees Management Liability, and Tour Operators’ Insurance. An overview of these arrangements and helpful FAQs are available on the national u3a website or from a Committee member, to help you establish what cover is provided for you attending or running groups.

Our website includes a number of other legal documents you may find helpful including our Constitution, Data Protection and Privacy Policies, our Legitimate Interest Assessment in relation to Emergency Contact details, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and a statement regarding copyright and photographs. All of these documents can be found in the Policy and Guidance Documents section of our website.

In the event of an incident, an Incident Report must be completed (from our website or the Secretary) and then sent to the Secretary.

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. 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 Coordinator, so they can see if enough other members and a Leader can be found to set up a second group.

For those who are thinking of starting up a new group there is a New Groups Handbook available to assist new group leaders.

Tu3a 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.