Causeway U3A invites ‘third agers’ to Open Morning

Dr Venie Martin, Vice-Chairperson Causeway U3A representing U3A at a recent Coast and Glens event in Coleraine.
Dr Venie Martin, Vice-Chairperson Causeway U3A representing U3A at a recent Coast and Glens event in Coleraine.

If you are in your “Third Age” which means you are no longer in full-time employment or raising a family, a new world of opportunity awaits you at Causeway U3A.

The term U3A stands for University of the Third Age, but they are not a University in the traditional sense.

Tom Adair and Pat Coots, members of the Causeway U3A Group Objects and Stories displaying some interesting objects and relating their stories.

Tom Adair and Pat Coots, members of the Causeway U3A Group Objects and Stories displaying some interesting objects and relating their stories.

There is no curriculum, no entrance qualifications, no examinations or degrees, no campus and the fees are very

low.

A spokesperson for the Causeway branch said: “We are a voluntary group of around 1000 people who come together in groups to share learning and enjoy our interests. Our motto is “Learn, Laugh and Live”.

“There are courses, interest groups, outdoor pursuits, sports, social events, fun and games, outings and group holidays. Something for everyone really with almost 40 different groups. We run our activities all over the Causeway area, mostly in Community and Church halls.”

Two members of U3A explained what membership means to them.

Venie Martin and her husband Eric spent all their working lives in Waterford in the South East of Ireland. When they retired, they moved to Coleraine in December 2014.

“The winter weather that year was dreadful and we knew nobody so we began to wonder if we had made a big mistake,” she said.

However, to rectify the lack of friends, they decided to join Causeway U3A.

“This was the best decision ever as we were soon deeply involved in all aspects of the organisation,” said Venie.

“From day one we felt welcome and it gave us an opportunity to use some of the skills we had gathered over the years. U3A is un by the members for the members, so we all try to put something in as well as attending events organised by others. 
“Our main shared interest is Bridge and we joined both the Wednesday and the Friday clubs. Other activities we

joined include Astronomy, Reading Group, Current Affairs, Gardening, Culture Club and I run a little storytelling group. I never thought that I would have to keep a diary during my retirement and it’s mainly thanks to Causeway U3A that Eric and I are enjoying our new, busy and fulfilling life in Coleraine.”

Another member is Tom Adair.

“For around ten years close friends and neighbours had been cajoling me to join the U3A saying “You’ll love it, there’s something for everyone,” chewing my ear about how much fun I would have. I resisted,” he said.

“I was busy, self-employed, reluctant to give myself time off. Last year my circumstances up-ended. I needed distraction. The U3A was there to be grasped to keep me afloat. It exceeded the hype. Table-tennis Tuesdays,

were swiftly followed by ballroom-dance Fridays, and finding my ancestors classes on Mondays.

“On Wednesdays I steeped myself in other people’s stories about prized objects they’d brought from home. The buzz of friendship and genuine welcome hallmarked everything I encountered.

“I should have listened and done it all years ago. If they started a class for repentance I’d have to enrol.”

If you like the sound of these experiences, Causeway U3A has an Open Morning on Thursday, September 7 from 11am to 1pm at the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine. All Third Agers (over 55s) are welcome and admission is free.

There will be an opportunity to see the range of activities available, watch some demonstrations, enjoy refreshments and meet other members. You can also sign up on the day - if you decide to join (membership fee is only £15 for Year One and £10 annually thereafter).

For more information, please visit www.causewayu3a.co.uk or email info@causewayu3a.co.uk