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Please find below a brief summary of the content of each workshop.

The numbers in brackets indicate which sessions each workshop is due to run in (subject to change).

Session 1: 09.30 • Session 2: 11.30 • Session 3: 14.15

Now the conference has passed we have uploaded the available presentations/notes for each workshop below the description.

Learning Matters (1/2/3)

Presenters: Sal Cooke and Chris Winner

A lively interactive session focussing on digital learning in all its forms. Delegates will hear more about the Learning Working Group. They will experience examples of resources created centrally (including a 1st look at a newly created U3A online workshop), given updates about the Resource Centre content, links to really useful digital tools/content, including Prince Andrew’s iDEA.If possible, bring your own smart phone/tablet/laptop to participate in resource discovery. Delegates will leave having accessed some wonderfully rich digital resources, helping them in their own U3A roles and also having contributed to the further development of learning across the U3A family.

Download ‘Learning Matters’ Presentation

Creative Thinking (1)

Presenter: Gillian Russell

When we learn, we use many different techniques. This workshop will encourage you to think creatively – ‘outside the box’ – to explore how those variations might enhance the learning activities of existing groups, encourage the development of new ones and help to plan collaborative events with neighbouring U3As. There will be opportunities to discuss and to share experience and ideas which might leave you open to new ideas and approaches.

Download ‘Creative Thinking’ Presentation

Learning Languages Later in Life (2/3)

Presenter: Heather Westrup

This workshop is about learning any language at any level.  Participants will be expected to take an active part in English.

After a brief look at how language learning has changed in our lifetime, we shall experience some practical ideas for keeping that all-important vocabulary in our heads.    We shall explore ways of exploiting a text, beyond just reading and translating it.   We shall try out some well-established ideas which make listening less of a challenge.

If time, I will report on my recent mini-research on u3a language groups who lack an experienced teacher and still function successfully.

Effective Committees (1/3)

Presenter: Jeff Carter

The session will be entirely participative. Attendees will raise issues that they face in managing their U3As. Possible solutions will be discussed by Workshop participants. The Workshop aims to assist Chairs, and other Committee Members, in managing their U3A by sharing experiences with committee members in other U3As.

Download ‘Effective Committees’ Presentation

Succession Planning (2)

Presenters: Kelvin Rushworth and Mo Brown

The biggest challenge facing U3As is the constant quest to refresh the committee. This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore the knotty issue of succession planning and will look at some of the approaches taken by by U3As in terms of profiling the work of committees and recruiting volunteers. 

Download ‘Succession Planning’ Presentation

Trustees, Treasurers and U3A finances- whose responsibility is it? (1/2/3)

Presenters: Richard Teare and John Bent

This workshop will cover the principles and ethos of the U3A movement, highlighting the need for induction of new trustees, their responsibilities to each other and to their members for the running and financial business of their U3A, and asks the question “How much does the Charity Commission impose on the U3A?”

Developing the Movement (1/2)

Presenter: Hilary Jones

As part of the Trust’s Development Plan, we want to spread the message of growing the membership and how it can benefit your U3A and your members. How can your U3A help ensure that all third agers can join a U3A? What support do you need to cope with growth and what do you see as the challenges to that growth?This workshop will highlight opportunities to support growth, how to use them to enhance your U3A and how to best utilise all the organisation has to offer. There will be plenty of opportunities to share ideas, information and issues.

Download ‘Developing the Movement’ Presentation
Download ‘Developing the Movement’ Notes

Running your U3A with the Beacon system (1/2/3)

Presenters: Marilyn Lean, John Hopkins and Frank Bailey

At the National Conference the Beacon Team are opening their doors to existing and potential Beacon users. We are inviting those U3A’s not currently using the Beacon System to attend a presentation and also see a demonstration on the working system, showing how Beacon can streamline committee activity and reduce the time and effort currently required from volunteers. While this session is aimed at U3As not already on Beacon, the Team are also inviting existing users of Beacon to come along to a drop-in session on Tuesday evening and speak to our experts about their queries or things they require some guidance on.

Raising the Profile (1/3)

Presenters: Ed Link, Sue Coles and Alison Edwards

Raising the profile of the U3A movement is an essential part of the Development Plan. The proposals as to how this activity will be put into effect are currently being subject to the review and approval process of the NEC. Members of the Raising the Profile Working Group will present and discuss the plan. The workshop will be an opportunity for members to help flesh out the detail.

Download ‘Raising the Profile’ Presentation

Using Storytelling in Communications (1/3)

Presenter: Elizabeth Drury

Making sure your Communications is effective and impactful is one way to raise the profile of your U3A and strengthen engagement among your membership. From writing stories for Social Media/Newsletters/the Press or your websites, to getting your messages out in the community – storytelling helps you connect with your audience and lets the personality of your U3A shine through.We will consider how to find and write content, how to use that content on social media and other platforms and explore different ways of communicating with your membership.

Download ‘Using Storytelling in Communications’ Presentation

Third Age Matters – from parish pump newsletter to national magazine (2)

Presenter: Francis Beckett

How the U3A’s magazine developed, what it’s for, and how to make use of it.

Question Time – Meet the Trust’s Officers and CEO (1)

Presenters: Ian McCannah and Sam Mauger

This Workshop will be an open session where delegates can ask questions of a panel made up of Ian McCannah, Chair, Sam Mauger, CEO and, if not running other Workshops, Hilary Jones, Vice Chair and Richard Teare, Treasurer. Delegates from new U3As are encouraged to attend this Workshop. Questions can be sent to Ian McCannah ( before the Conference or raised during the Workshop.

Ways to build a Learning Community in your U3A or Network (1/2/3)

Presenters: Jennifer Simpson and Jo Livingston (1 & 3) or Stuart Murray (2)

Build a Learning Community Share the Learning Link with your local community Plan a Project to bring this together. The recent very successful Shared Learning Project, Wales Coastline and Border Celebration and the “Cottonopolis” Project in Manchester are good examples of using a project to bring together U3As in a Network or Region, but you can use the same idea in a single U3A by engaging as many of your Interest Groups as possible in a project in your U3A or taking things further and developing a project with a local partner.

. . . But is it ethical? (2)

Presenters: Sue Shannon-Jones, Chris Knight and Prof. Rona Mackie Black

The aim is to raise the awareness of U3A members, including Research Ambassadors and Shared Learning Partnership Coordinators, of potential ethical issues which arise when involved in enquiry-led learning, including ethics relating to medical research projects. It will introduce the recently published Ethics Advice Sheet together with input from the presenters and will provide the opportunity for discussion in small groups around scenarios – what are the ethical implications and would the projects be suitable for the involvement of U3A members?

Download ‘…but is it ethical?’ presentation

Research for Planning and Management (3)

Presenters: Carole Chapman, Catharine Ware and Alison Edwards

This workshop is primarily aimed at committee members and other post-holders. We will discuss a range of research topics and techniques that provide better insights to help with more efficient and effective planning and management. Topics include understanding the communities in which U3As operate; how our memberships reflect (or not) community needs and expectations; how our ‘service offer’ reflects (or not) the needs and expectations of members; using experience to understand what works/what doesn’t. Techniques discussed will include surveys, focus groups and interviews. Attendees are encouraged to share their experiences and consider how they will implement what they have learned.

Download ‘Research for Planning and Management’ Presentation

iDEA (2/3)

Presenter: Kerensa Jennings

Join Kerensa Jennings from HRH The Duke of York’s Office to learn about iDEA. iDEA is a new programme that helps you develop digital and enterprise skills for free through a series of online challenges and events. Learn more at

Social prescription to U3A (2)

Presenter: Sam Mauger

U3As across the movement are involved in social prescribing initiatives. Come to find out what social prescribing means, and how to get involved if your U3A is interested in developing social prescribing partnerships and attracting new members.

Dowload ‘Social Prescribing’ Presentation

Dementia Friendly U3A (1/3)

Presenter: Kathy Gill

An increasing number of people in their third age are living with dementia. This workshop will explores the impact of this, and what U3As can do to support and involve their members who are living with the condition.  

Download ‘Dementia Friendly’ Notes

Who do you think we are? – Archiving within the U3A (1/2)

Presenters: Michaela Moody, Catharine Ware and Phil O'Hare

Take a journey with us into the early days of the Movement to hear the comments of one of our founding fathers and some of the first chairmen. What was our original publicity like? What does an Archive mean to you? Has anyone helped to create an Archive? Familiarise yourself with the proposed U3A Archive and learn how Oral Histories can bring the early days of the movement to life. Discover the excitement of handling the original material for the first public meeting in Cambridge and the events that followed. Find out what we’ve done and the impact we’ve made on our communities. Can the Archive raise the profile of the Movement? Is our 40th anniversary a good target for its launch? How many U3As have started to create their own archives?

Download ‘Archiving within the U3A’ Presentation

Cyber Crime: Keeping you safe in an electronic age (2)

Presenters: Barry Linton and David Gibb

Cyber crime is the fastest-growing crime in the UK. This workshop is based on a longer seminar put together by Thorpe Bay and Essex Police Serious Crime Division. We will talk about the differing nature of crimes and how we may be impacted, and we will cover the scope of laptops, tablets, smartphones and even the credit cards in your pocket. We will address when to be suspicious, and the different types of precautions one should take.

Panel Debate – Generational Fairness (1)

Presenter: Alan Green

There is a public debate about who benefits most in our society – is there a generational divide in the United Kingdom?

In the Auditorium, listen to two groups of U3As debate this topic and vote for the most convincing response.

Memory Maintenance (3)

Presenter: Arthur Maltby

Arthur Maltby reviews memory courses, with different emphases, available in U3As. He offers tips and prompts for recalling names, numbers etc, with some relevant material on display, emphasising that regular private memory checks are an integral part of a good Third Age lifestyle.