How Did The Maitland Idea Begin?
The idea for a U3A in Maitland came to Wendy Pearson while holidaying on the Mekong, where she met some folks from Newcastle involved with U3A. They were enjoying so many activities and so enthusiastic. Wendy came home and suggested starting one in Maitland. The NSW U3A Network, Keryl Collard from Maitland Library and Maitland councillor Loretta Baker offered their assistance. So it all began.
Who can attend?
The majority of persons who participate in U3A are retired, however, the “Third Age” can begin earlier with no specific age limit applied.
There are no entry criteria or assessments. You do not need to have completed high school or university to become a member.
What are the benefits?
The Third Age was often seen as a time of physical and mental decline, but can now be viewed as a time of enrichment through social contacts and mental stimulation, leading to a sense of involvement and self-worth.
Programmes offered by U3A cater for those people who want to remain mentally stimulated by a variety of educational topics at a minimum cost.
We currently have 262 members and run 35 courses/activities over the year. We cover the Hunter Valley region and our members are generally within Maitland and it’s surrounding townships. Our members come from:
These are some real member quotes:
- ‘U3A helps to bring people together and embark on a learning adventure with like-
- ‘Changed my life for the better giving me a place to come on my own and try new
things without any fear of being judged’
- ‘My friends kept asking me, so I joined and haven’t looked back, it filled my life’
- ‘I moved to a new area and decided to join a few groups to get to know people, the
U3A offered the most and now takes up most of my time’
- ‘Being part of the group makes me happy… learning and interacting with others
gives me a lot of satisfaction’
- ‘It provides opportunities to use skills acquired earlier in life in ways that are useful
and does wonders for one’s self esteem’
- ‘I have developed a much higher opinion of people older than me… it’s changed my
- ‘I met people who wanted to go with me for coffee, who wanted to talk to me, I
have made good friends’
- ‘I had a knee operation and got seriously ill. The closer U3A friends supported me,
brought me cards, but everyone else asked how I was and checked I was ok.’
- ‘When you’ve worked all your life, how do you fill your life? You could sit within 4
walls… instead I have found new friendships and new experiences’
- ‘I always liked photography but it was difficult while working. Now I can learn with
- ‘Meeting interested and interesting people at U3A has enhanced my life’
- ‘There was a time when I didn’t want to go outside, and then when I was out it took
a lot to get back in again. I found coming to the U3A I met people who had been in
the same situation or worse and shared experiences’
- ‘The passing of my wife broke me, leaving me with nothing more than an
overwhelming desire to become a recluse. I joined the U3A and now I’m surrounded
by recluses of every shape, size & denomination. Thanks U3A for making my life
special once more’
- ‘It saved my life’
- ‘Participating in the U3A offers a new future’
- I love contributing to the growth of the U3A. My Mum was a founder member of a
U3A in the 1980s and I always knew I would get involved. It was almost the first
thing I did after retiring.’
- ‘I love the ethos of the U3A, using the skills of members as both teachers and
learners and focussing on the positives of getting older, rather than, as so often
happens the negatives!’
- ‘The more you put into U3A, the more you get out of it’
- ‘U3A is an ideal way of meeting new folks, stretching yourself and having fun along
- ‘It’s never too late to learn something new, make friends and have fun. Join the
University of the Third Age!’