Swindon people are being invited to learn, laugh and live with Swindon u3a, and try their hand at a new skill.
Formed over 40 years ago there are now over 1,000 u3a's in the UK with over 430,000 members.
It is a non-religious and non-political organisation run entirely by volunteers and financed by members subscriptions. Each u3a operates independently under the umbrella of The Third Age Trust.
Like all other u3a groups in the country, Swindon's u3a promotes lifelong learning, friendship, fellowship and fun.
There are no age limits to becoming a member. Originally, the u3a was designed for people who have reached the stage in their life when they have more free time to enjoy themselves. Without the pressure of work or exams or bringing up a family, individuals are said to be able to relax in the company of like-minded people who want to take part in different activities together.
Swindon u3a Trustee and Commitee member, Gillian Brain, said: "Spring is here – a perfect time for a fresh start and trying something new. Is there something you've always wanted to do but could never find the time or the opportunity? To learn or brush-up on a language? Dance or sing? Investigate your family tree? What about doing a craft or some creative writing?
"Perhaps you'd like to join a book club or a walking group. Or try something completely new like hand-bell ringing or playing the ukulele. You might have an interest in science or literature or yoga or games. Or perhaps you'd like to go to the theatre or a concert or on a day trip or a holiday. All this, and much more, is available for you in the u3a."
Swindon is said to have a particularly active u3a. There are over 130 interest groups which meet all over the town and the surrounding area.
They cover a vast range of activities which aim to keep the mind and body active. In addition to the interest groups, there is also a monthly meeting with guest speakers, and opportunities to go on day trips, holidays and outings. This includes trips to the cinema and the theatre.
An individual's annual membership fee entitles them to join as many groups as they wish, and to take part in all the other communal activities.
The current membership fee is £35 a year and is due to reduce in the 2023-24 session.
Gillian added: "There may be additional costs in some groups to cover, for example, materials or equipment or for a cup of tea or coffee. So you could be busy enjoying yourself from Monday to Friday for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week!"
To find out all the interest groups on offer, and more about u3a, individuals can visit: www.swindonu3a.org.uk
Members of the public can also call the Swindon u3a office on 01793 614629 between 10am and noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for more information.
The Swindon u3a Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/u3aSwindon
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