Basingstoke - Old Basing

University of the Third Age

Registered charity no: 1086263

Background Information

What is the Third Age?

The Third Age can be a time of creative activity and fulfilment — free from the restrictions and responsibilities of the Second Age of full time employment.

One in five of the U.K. population is in the Third Age.

What is U3A?

U3A is a learning cooperative of older people which enables members to share many educational, creative and leisure activities

Who can join?

No qualifications are required. Anyone who shares our principles of self help learning can join. We believe that everyone in the Third Age has something to contribute and much to receive.

How does it work?

Basingstoke-Old Basing is an autonomous local U3A, part of an expanding nationwide movement whose representative body is the Third Age Trust.

Each U3A draws upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their members to organise local study and activity groups. Throughout the country U3As offer over 300 subjects in diverse fields ranging from art, languages, music, history, science, literature, poetry, theatre-going, philosophy, crafts, garden visits, archaeology, bridge and  computing.

The choice of subjects depends only on the members’ wishes and on the availability of volunteers with enough expertise and/or enthusiasm to act as Group Leader. There are NO exams and participation in any Group is open to all.

The programme of the Basingstoke-Old Basing U3A as detailed in the Member’s Handbook (which carries names, phone numbers and email addresses of Committee Members and Group Leaders) and on this website (which does not carry phone numbers and email addresses) offers a wide range of educational study groups plus recreational and social activities. The atmosphere is very friendly and informal. If you join our U3A you can join as many of the groups as you wish subject to availability.


The seeds for 'Lifelong Learning for Older People' were sown at the Summer School of the Université du Troisième Age held in Toulouse in 1972.  This led within a year to the formation of the 'International Association of U3As' (AIUTA).  The movement soon became worldwide.  In the UK, the U3A started with the creation of the 'Third Age Trust' in 1982 as a registered charity and limited company.


In the UK it was decided during early discussions to adopt an approach that was independent of the Universities.  It was realised that Third Agers themselves had the skills to organise and teach in their own autonomous learning groups, the local U3As.  The principle was to be not "they teach us" but "we teach one another".  In Europe and America development has been more dependent on the universities.

There are now almost 700 U3A's throughout the United Kingdom with a total membership more than 200,000.  Each local U3A develops its own character in response to local needs and resources.  Because a U3A is in effect a co-operative and has no campus of its own, fees are low.

For more information on the history of the U3A visit the Third Age Trust Web Site.

Also, the Virtual U3A (vU3A), which went live in January 2009, is an online-only U3A, affiliated to the Third Age Trust.  One of its principal aims is to provide the U3A experience for those who are rendered isolated in some way by circumstances or geography and unable to play a full part in a terrestrial U3A.  More information is available on the public website where one can also apply for membership. Why not pay it a visit?  And if you know of anyone who might benefit, please pass the information on.

Basingstoke - Old Basing U3A

Basingstoke - Old Basing U3A was started in 1998 as Old Basing and District U3A.  It changed its name in 2008 to more acurately reflect its membership.  There are now almost 700 members.

To see lists of our current range of study groups and activities go to the Groups page.  If your particular interest is not covered, why not investigate the possibility of starting your own group.  With some 800 members looking for new challenges, you have every chance.  It is not always necessary to be able to "teach"; you and your group can explore and develop your subject together.

We have a general meeting each month at The Elizabeth Hall, Hook (2nd Wednesday, 2pm).  We use this occasion to update the membership on group activities and matters of general interest and usually have an external guest speaker to entertain us.

If you have any further questions links are available on the Contact Us page, the pages of the individual officers and the pages of the individual groups.