A growing nationwide network of self-help educational activities organised for and by retired and semi-retired people of all ages

The first Université du Troisième Age was founded in Toulouse in 1972. The Universities in France made available their facilities and tutors to provide courses for older people.

The UK University of the Third Age started in Cambridge in 1981. There are now over 350 U3As 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.

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 June 2019 is:


  • Chair – Mike Head
  • Vice-Chair – Andrea Willett
  • Secretary – Josie Dunlop
  • Treasurer – Denise Walker

Full list of Executive Committee members and their responsibilities:

  • Josie Dunlop – Secretary
  • Ian Forrest – Groups’ Co-ordinator
  • Lesley Hall – Database Administrator
  • Mike Head – Chair, IT, website, newsletter, North Cumbria Network
  • Maggie Neale – New Members’ Secretary
  • Sue Tomlinson – Monthly meetings
  • Denise Walker – Treasurer
  • Andrea Willett – Vice-Chair, minutes secretary, website, North Cumbria Network
  • Publicity – Jane Stables

Other helpers;

  • Technical Support – Lance Greenhalgh
  • Catering – Beryl Armstrong
  • Newsletter – Robin Acland and Chris Wilkinson
  • Newsletter distribution – Mike Dunlop
  • Equipment – Ian Forrest and Andrea Willett