A REGIONAL group of the u3a is looking ahead to when it can welcome back members and resume its diverse range of activities having spent the past 12 months operating online over Zoom.

As it marked national u3a day on Wednesday, June 2, the Sedgefield & District branch is reminding its members of all the interesting and fun leisure groups it can soon revive now restrictions are slowly lifting.

“It has been a challenging year but we’ve embraced technology and, thanks to one of our most active members Maxine Patterson, we have been able to continue holding Sedgefield u3a meetings on Zoom,” said branch chair Gillian Bowman, of Sedgefield.

“But it is not the same as meeting face-to-face and sharing experiences with friends and former colleagues. Our different group meetings can be the highlight of the month for many people and lockdown sadly put paid to so many exciting trips, social gatherings and opportunities to learn.”

Founded in 1982, u3a is a UK-wide organisation for adults in their ‘third age’, who are no longer working full time or raising a family, that provides a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun. There are 1,057 u3as with over 450,000 members nationwide.

The Sedgefield & District u3a was established in 2012 and has more than 100 members. It meets every first Friday of the month, usually with a guest speaker, and operates a growing number of interest-groups in creative writing, photography, health and wellbeing, science, art, theatre and historic homes and gardens. It also runs a luncheon club and wine appreciation group.

Branch publicity officer Chris Balfour, of Sedgefield, said: “The u3a is the new name of the University of the Third Age, but is not your typical learning establishment, it is truly inclusive and offers such a diverse range of activities to all our members.

“At our age it is important to keep a healthy mind, and our members enjoy learning, sharing knowledge and experiences, and having fun. It is not being old that stops us from doing things, it is the stopping of doing things that makes us old!”

For more information please visit: www.u3asites.org.uk/sedgefield