Dorking & District u3a
More than 600 people in Dorking and its surrounding villages are members of our thriving u3a, now in its 30th year, and more are joining all the time.
The u3a movement is a vibrant, friendly and inclusive organisation that provides opportunities for everyone no longer in full-time work or raising a family to meet new people and enjoy exploring a wide variety of interests at low cost. There are now more than 1,000 u3as across the UK, each run independently by its own members under the umbrella of the national Third Age Trust.
During the current crisis our activities have been curtailed, but several interest groups are still managing to conduct their sessions either online, in the open air or in Covid-secure venues. Monthly talks with speakers on various topics, which used to take place in the Christian Centre, are now given online using Zoom. Recent subjects have included local ghosts, the Port Sunlight model village and the tale of a nun who left her convent aged 47 to start a new life outside.
In happier times
The main activities of the u3a revolve around the various interest groups. Members share their knowledge and skills or simply enjoy each other’s company in such fields as art and architecture, current affairs, family history, languages, literature, drama and poetry, music, philosophy, photography and various leisure and health pursuits.
In addition to our own monthly talks, local u3as together provide regional study days led by experts in their field, and there are summer conferences at Chichester University and elsewhere on all kinds of topics.
A local subcommittee arranges monthly day excursions to interesting places, usually with a guide – members have visited the Second World War codebreaking establishment Bletchley Park, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, the BBC’s Broadcasting House, the Mary Rose and the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.
As well as the monthly excursions, individual study groups arrange their own outings to places of particular interest. The Art Appreciation group, for example, went to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to see its Turner and the Sea exhibition, the Tate Modern for The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse, and the V&A for the Frida Kahlo exhibition; the Science group visited the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and the Mullard Space Science Laboratories near Holmbury St Mary; and members of the Spanish Conversation group spent a week in northern Spain meeting their Spanish u3a counterparts, immersing themselves in the language and sampling the local culture.
There are also residential trips both in this country and abroad arranged at affordable prices for members. Recent destinations have included Berlin, Jersey and Menorca.