About the u3a

The u3a is a growing local, national and International network of self-help educational, cultural and recreational activities, organised for and by retired and semi-retired people of all ages.

The first Université du Troisième Âge was founded in Toulouse in 1972. The Universities in France made available their facilities and tutors to provide courses for people of the third age.

The UK University of the Third Age started in Cambridge in 1981. There are now over 350 u3a’s in this country with a total membership of around 100,000.

When the idea was taken up in the UK in 1982 the approach was different. It became a ‘do-it-yourself’ model with the term ‘university’ used in its original meaning where a group of people gather together to learn from one another.

The u3a is about involvement in learning new things, expanding horizons sharing skills and experiences, making new friends, helping others to learn, accepting new challenges to show that age need be no barrier to learning or to helping others to learn and to enjoy!

Penrith and North Lakes u3a

Penrith and North Lakes u3a is administered and managed by an Executive Committee.  Full details of the constitution can be found under Policies and Procedures.

Any member may stand for election to the Executive Committee and elections are held annually at the AGM.

The Executive Committee has ultimate responsibility but  many other members are involved in the running of Penrith and North Lakes u3a: for example the newsletter editors, those helping to run the monthly meetings and especially the Group Co-ordinators. If you are interested in helping or becoming a member of the Executive Committee please contact any of the Committee members or use the Contact Us page.

The current Executive Committee elected in September 2021 is:





Josie Dunlop

Sue Tomlinson 

Margaret Irving

Denise Walker

Full list of Executive Committee members and their responsibilities:

Alan Beale

Josie Dunlop

Lesley Hall

Margaret Irving

Jo Laycock

Maggie Neale

Jane Stable 

Sue Tomlinson 

Denise Walker
IT, link with Beacon Management System, equipment

Chair, newsletter (liaison with editor) Network

Database Administrator, New Members’ Secretary
Secretary, Minutes, Cumbria Network, equipment

Publicity, equipment assistant

Renewals Secretary, Open Day

Groups’ Co-ordinator

Monthly meetings


Other roles:

Newsletter Editor
Newsletter distribution
Chris Wilkinson

Beryl Armstrong