U3A reaches milestone

Cambridge U3A (University of the Third Age) might just be one of the town’s fastest-growing groups.

With over 420 registered members, the stage has been reached where monthly meetings are usually over-booked, which means waiting lists are run to avoid breaking capacity limits at their regular venue, Te Awa Lifecare’s Woolshed.

Such enviable growth, from a ‘test-the-waters’ public interest meeting in May 2022 attended by 76 people, has left Cambridge U3A founder Carey Church well pleased.

Cambridge U3A founder Carey Church, at right, with committee members Carole Hughes, Diana Swarbrick, Vicki Jacobsen, co-founder Lyndall Hermitage and Bruce Hancock at this month’s meeting.

“When we launched, we were hoping that one day we would get to 300 members, which is a good robust club,” the businesswoman said at this month’s meeting.  “But we are delighted that there is so much interest from the Cambridge community, and that we are attracting people from surrounding towns and cities.  It is a highlight of my month to see people enjoying themselves at every meeting.”

Early growth saw the group move quickly from its first meeting at what was then the Cambridge Health and Community Centre, now the Taylor Made Community Space.  When Te Awa offered U3A a regular home at the Woolshed, Carey was elated.

As well as the monthly speaker-led meetings, there are also around 40 active special interest study groups covering a host of different subjects and meeting as and when they like.  A series of short seminars has been introduced, which is presented by an external speaker.

Carey said the coming year would see several new offerings coming on stream.

She presented gift vouchers to Cambridge U3A committee members at this month’s meeting – the first for the year – in recognition of the hundreds of voluntary hours they have put into the group.

The packed first U3A Cambridge meeting at Cambridge Health and Community Centre.  Photo: Bruce Hancock.

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