The East Midlands u3a Region

In this Section

Learn more about how the East Midlands u3a Region operates:

About the Region

  1. Purpose
    The East Midlands Region has two fundamental purposes:
    • To enable u3as to work together to help them meet their objectives (learning recreation and companionship) – by cooperative activities usually involving discussion and sharing of experiences.
    • To ensure u3as have the opportunities to propose and vote for their representative on the Board of Directors of the Third Age Trust. Later it provides one means by which to communicate with the Board of Directors through the Trustee.
  2. Networks
    Because of its geographical size the Region has divided itself into five County Networks of u3as (with Leicestershire and Rutland operating as one). This allows u3as to get together with considerably less travelling.  Have a look at the websites for the Derbyshire  Leicestershire and Rutland, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire Networks to see what they do and their latest news.   Networks are inherent parts of the Region they are not additions to it.
  3. Membership of the Region
    Following the National Emergency General Meeting of the Third Age Trust in May 2008 all u3as were assigned to Regions for the election of Trustees to the Board of Directors of the Third Age Trust.   u3as can choose not to take part in the election and can indicate they do not wish to receive communications from ‘the region’ or to make financial contributions to it.   But they cannot leave the Region or change Region.   That is part of their relationship with the Third Age Trust and which includes allowing them to be known as u3as.
  4. Funding
    The Region receives funding from the National Office for specific and prescribed events. 
    • Regional budget assigned annually by Treasurer to the Regional Trustee. 
    • Trust funded workshops for topics which provide support for u3as, cost borne by National Office. 
    • Regional Volunteer expenses (for activities approved by the Regional Trustee) from the National Office. 
    • Start-Up grants from the National Office for new u3as (up to 200).
    • Publicity grants from the National Office for events which increase awareness of the u3a movement (up to 20).

Role of the Regional Trustee

The role of the Regional Trustee is to act as a channel of communication between the Board of Directors and u3as in the Region, working with the County Networks to ensure that we provide the right level of support for u3as as well as starting new ones.
The current Regional Trustee is Jean Hogg, who took up the post in September 2018 and will remain as Trustee until the Third Age Trust AGM in August 2021.

Regional Support

The Regional Trustee has access to advice and help from the Trust and from volunteers.   u3a members volunteer at Local, Regional and National level.  Volunteers at Regional and National level who have been through an induction process are called Trust Volunteers.  A regional support team can consist of National and Regional Trust Volunteers.  The East Midlands Region currently has around 30 Regional Trust Volunteers. of which 10 form a regional support team.

The roles of Trust Volunteers at National and Regional levels are shown in the diagram below (update: there is now one 'Research and Shared Learning' role combining the 'Research Ambassador' and 'SLP Co-ordinator' roles):

trust volunteers

Role of the Networks

  1. To provide a forum for the discussion of issues of importance to u3as in the Network.
  2. To coordinate and initiate the development of new u3as in the County.
  3. To enable u3as cooperatively to initiate aspects of learning support by:
    • Sharing matters of current importance to them;
    • Setting up cooperative ventures;
    • Participating in local Shared Learning Projects.
  4. To carry out other cooperative activities decided by u3as in the County.
  5. To work with the Regional Trustee to the benefit of the region.
  6. To appoint a Network County Contact
  7. To contribute to regional means of communication.
  8. To send a representative to the National Network Link forum.
  9. To complement and extend regional activities e.g. on supporting Group Leaders.
  10. To establish such mechanisms as are deemed necessary to discharge their functions and responsibilities.   (e.g. The frequency of meetings, arrangements for Chairing meetings and the preparation of Agenda and minutes.)
  11. To develop policies and plans as u3as see fit.

What do Networks do?

This depends on what the member u3as forming the Network want and can offer but it may include:
  1. Developing and sharing lists of potential speakers.
  2. Organising network study/interest days for members of the network’s u3as (and sometimes neighbouring U3As).
  3. Organising training/information events for u3a committee members, potential committee members, group leaders/convenors etc.
  4. Organising shared learning projects.
  5. Establishing links with outside organisations, such as universities, and participating in local initiatives.
  6. Providing a regular forum for member u3as to meet together to share information, disseminate good practice and discuss issues of concern..
  7. Sharing resources and setting up reciprocal interest group arrangements between members of the network.
  8. Producing a newsletter.
  9. Arranging inter-u3a competitions.
  10. Increasing awareness of u3a in the community.

Shared Learning and Research Projects


At its broadest sense, research can be described as the systematic collection and analysis of information for the advancement of knowledge.

So, whether you are looking into the history of a local windmill, investigating butterflies visiting a certain location, comparing housing conditions in the past with now or asking people their views about how well they sleep, you are conducting, research. All examples of resent projects here in the East Midlands.

In the u3a there are many opportunities for members to engage in various types of research. From enquiry-led learning within interest groups to formal collaborations with universities and research institutes.


SLPs are the ‘flagship’ of u3a enquiry-led learning and are a great way to get involved in research by working on a project shared with members of 2 or more u3as or in partnership with an organisation outside the u3a.

They are small scale research projects focusing on a topic proposed by an institution (such as a museum, art gallery, garden, church or library) or by the members themselves on local themes.

Sharing is between both u3a members and an institution, between members of different U3As or a combination of both. SLPs provide an ideal opportunity to gain new skills, meet new people and enjoy exploring new topics.

hecklington windmill
SLPs have been going for over ten years and are popular all over the UK, including here in the East Midlands. Local members have worked with

•    The Spalding Gentleman’s Society learning how to catalogue and handle
        old documents (more information in this document)
•    Heckington Windmill conserving artefacts and researching the village’s millers
        (see photograph right)
•    Lincolnshire County Archive developing transcription skills to read and record the
        17th Century Grantham Hall Book
•    The University of Lincoln conducting focus groups to find out about older peoples’
        sleeping patterns and
•    Many other organisations in a range of exciting projects

display board

To find out more about these and hundreds of other u3a research projects look at the U3A Research Database on Reports and articles also appear monthly in ‘Sources’ or in Third Age Matters (back copies are on the u3a website

If you are involved with a SLP or have an idea you would like to get off the ground contact the East Midlands SLP Coordinator, at, who will be able to give you advice and enter your project on the database.