Here is a list of frequently-asked questions (FAQs).

Q It’s called the University of the Third Age – do I need a degree to join?

A Certainly not!  Membership is open to anyone regardless of educational background.  u3a is a National organisation started in this country in the 1980s.  Earlier on, in France, local universities did have a guiding hand in the running of u3a groups, but this model was not adopted when the movement got off the ground in Britain.  The name has just stuck.

Q So who is eligible to join u3a?

A Anyone can join if they’re are not in full-time employment and are in their ‘third age’ – that is of more mature years, when usually the responsibilities of bringing up a family have passed.

Q What sort of activities and interest groups can Ilkeston u3a offer me?

A Just click on the ‘Interest Groups’ tab at the top of the page – you’ll see that there is a wide range of things to get involved in.  And if there is something which you would like to partake in which doesn’t feature, you might want to consider starting up a group yourself.  We can help you do that if you are interested.

Q Do I have to join any interest groups?

A Not if you don’t want to, although if you don’t you could be missing a great opportunity to meet new friends and do something that really takes your fancy.  There are always the main meetings, which take place at 10.00 am on the first Tuesday of each month, at The Arena – doors open at 9.45.  Most months, a speaker is invited to talk to us on any one of a variety of interesting and topical themes.

Q How do I join an interest group?

A There are a number of ways to do this.  You can attend one of the main meetings, when each interest group may have a display to show what’s coming up – and then you can meet the group leader and register your interest.  You do need to be a paid-up member of Ilkeston u3a to join an interest group.  Alternatively you can contact the group leader directly, or get in touch with the Interest Groups Coordinator.  Click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab at the top of this page to get our Interest Groups Coordinator’s details.

Q How much does it cost to join?

A Membership for a full year costs £22.50 – made up of £18.50 subscription to Ilkeston u3a and £4.00 to the National u3a (Third Age Trust).  However, members who join part way through the year pay a reduced subscription.  See our Membership Fees document for more information.

Q Are visitors allowed to come along to your monthly meetings or Interest Groups?

A Visitors can attend a maximum of three meetings – a combination of Monthly and/or Interest Group(s) without becoming a member, although we will ask for a £2.00 donation to help with expenses at our main meetings plus 50p to cover the cost of refreshments.  If you decide to join on the same day £2 will be deducted from the usual fee.  Fees may be payable at Interest Group meetings to cover the cost of room hire or refreshments.

Q What happens if I want to join mid-way through the year?

A The membership year runs from 1st January through to 31st December.  If you join during the year pro-rata fees apply.  (See our Membership Fees document).

Q Why do I have to pay towards the national u3a – and what is this Third Age Trust?

A The Third Age Trust is the National representative body for u3as in the UK. It is both a limited company and a registered charity. It underpins the work of local u3as by providing educational and administrative support to their management committees and to individual members, as well as assisting in the development of new u3as across the UK.  u3as are independently managed charitable associations with their own constitutions.  Membership of The Third Age Trust is a requirement in order to use the u3a name and logo, both of which are protected. Once registered, providing the aims and guiding principles of the organisation are adhered to, local u3as are self-governing.

Q I am already a member of another u3a group – can I join Ilkeston u3a?

A Yes, you can. You will only have to pay the Associate Membership annual subscription charge if you have paid a full subscription to another u3a (you will need to provide proof of that).  The annual fee for Associate Membership is £18.50.

Q If I am already a member of another u3a, does that mean I will be entitled to attend any of the groups run by Ilkeston u3a?

A We have a ‘Cluster’ arrangement with other u3as in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (please take a look at our Cluster Group News page for more details about the specific u3as that are part of this arrangement) and subject to there being space in that group it is possible to attend each others groups up to a maximum of 3 Interest Groups.  Otherwise we are currently not in a position to permit members of other u3as joining our Interest Groups.

Q I am registered disabled.  Will I still be able to become a member of Ilkeston u3a and join in the various activities?

A There is no reason why anyone registered as disabled can’t join Ilkeston u3a.  There is a lift at the Arena where the main meetings are held and so disabled access for anyone with mobility difficulties.  There are dedicated parking spaces for disabled badge holders.  As for joining in activities or Interest Groups, that will depend on the nature of the activity involved, and the venue where that activity takes place.  If you think this may be an issue, it’s probably best to raise it with the group leader to clarify the position.

Q I am registered disabled and would need a carer to accompany me to meetings or events. Do we both have to pay to join u3a?

A In such cases, persons registered as disabled would be charged, but we would waive the subscription for the carer, on the basis that they could only attend meetings and events when accompanying the disabled person.  Otherwise they would have to pay the full amount to join in the same way as any other member.  Proof of the registered disability (and need for a carer) would be required.

Q Can I see the constitution?

A Yes, it’s here.