Q: Who can join the U3A?
A: Membership is not related to a specific age but to a period in one’s life (the third age) after the second age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. Anyone in their third age can join the U3A, including people who are working part-time. There is no lower (nor upper!!) age limit for membership.
Q. Is the £10 annual membership all I have to pay?
A. We can keep our membership fee as low as this because each subject group is self-supporting. This means that you may have to pay a meeting fee for a subject group meeting to cover the cost of room hire and refreshments. Where groups meet in members’ houses this does not usually apply. The meeting fee is usually of the order of £2 – £3. For that £10, you may join as many groups as you wish, although some which meet in members’ homes will have a limit on the numbers that can be comfortably accommodated. The advantage of this arrangement is that you pay for what you get and do not subsidise other groups.
Q. I’m a member of another U3A group already. Why should I have to pay again to be a member of Matlock? I know that other U3As have formed a cluster where you only pay once and can then attend groups in any of the other cluster U3As.
A. Matlock’s annual membership fee of £10 is the lowest in the area. Other U3As charge much more. However from that larger annual fee, they subsidise the room hire for some of their subject groups, so those groups are not completely self-supporting. If we joined the Derbyshire cluster, there would be nothing to stop people from another area joining Matlock Area U3A at our cheaper fee, and then attending (free) the subsidised meetings of other U3As. We therefore think it would be unfair to our neighbouring U3A groups to allow this. We therefore charge a reduced fee of £7-50 per year (Associate Membership) to those who are already members of other U3As.
Q. What will my membership subscription get spent on?
A. We are a “not for profit” organisation; subscriptions are used to:
- hire venues and speakers for general meetings to provide an opportunity for members to meet socially and find out what other Interest Groups are doing
- publicise the activities of the U3A to encourage wider participation and increase membership (which helps cover the administrative running costs – stationery, printing, postage, etc)
- pay for the cost of hosting the Matlock Area U3A web-site
- support the establishment of new Interest Groups
- contribute toward the cost of equipment
- maintain a contingency fund
- pay for regular magazines from the Third Age Trust
- contribute toward the costs of the Third Age Trust via a levy. The Third Age Trust provides support and insurance for all of our activities
Q. Do you have any outside speakers?
A. Many other U3As have monthly meetings where an outside speaker is invited to give a talk. We do have monthly coffee mornings where we occasionally have a short talk from an outside (or inside!) speaker. However, at present there are no plans to organise formal monthly talks by outside speakers. Planning such a programme has to be done many months in advance and outside speakers generally charge a fee plus travelling expenses, so it would require a significant meeting fee to cover costs. If there is a demand for such talks, the Management Committee will be pleased to consider the matter.
Q. I’d like to find out more before I decide whether to join the Matlock Area U3A, who should I contact?A. Please talk to our membership secretary who can give you more information (firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively we would be pleased for you to join us for an informal chat at one of our monthly Coffee Mornings – please click here for more information.
Q. How is the U3A managed?
A. The overall management is the responsibility of the Management Committee, whose members are elected annually. However, most of the activities of the U3A are carried out by Interest Groups which manage themselves and are financially self-sufficient. There is a regular turnover of people on the Committee and we very much welcome “new blood” to provide fresh ideas. Please see section on the AGM if you are interested
Q. Can non-members attend Group Meetings?
A. Visitors (non-members of the Matlock Area U3A) may attend meetings of any Group on up to two occasions as a trial, providing they have prior agreement from the Group Coordinator. They will pay towards room hire and refreshment costs only. Normally they will be expected to join Matlock Area U3A if they wish to attend further meetings.