Joining a Zoom meeting

During the period while group and open meetings are suspended, members are able to stay in contact using Zoom software. Instructions as to how to set up an account and join Zoom meetings are HERE

May 20th 2020

Dear Members,

I hope you are coping with the restrictions we find ourselves under currently and that you are finding ways to occupy your time. My garden and home are benefiting from the time I can now devote to their upkeep.

Some of our groups are meeting using the latest technology and there have been interesting posts on our Facebook page. If you are not ‘on Facebook’ have a look on the Facebook page in your browser or App for MKU3A. Ask to join and wait to be accepted. There are some lovely photos taken while members have been out exercising.

We also have an ideas page on our website in the Latest News area and Lynne Button can add anything you think useful, in addition we have our Newsletter. Eve, the new editor will be asking for items from you to publish shortly – please send in anything you have found useful or any information which might help others and finally don’t forget to look at the National U3A website   where there are Quizzes, Math Challenges and advice on Covid 19

It has been impossible for the normal activities of the committee to continue while we are in lockdown, but technology came to our rescue and on Monday 18th May we met via Zoom. This allowed us to ‘meet’, discuss and make decisions for our U3A.

As you are aware we had to postpone our AGM in March and had made a tentative booking for 24th June, however it now looks unlikely that gatherings will be allowed in the near future and so we made the inevitable decision to cancel this date too.

Before the last AGM we posted our Annual Accounts and the Annual Report on the website and asked for comments, none were received and so we have submitted both to the Charity Commission.

At the proposed AGM two of our Trustees were stepping down, Claire Naismith, our Membership Secretary and Tina Two, the Vice Chair. We thank them for their hard work and wish them well for the future. Two other Trustees were seeking a further period of office as laid down in our constitution. Myself as Chair and Dave Barratt as Webmaster. We were also planning to present two further nominees to replace Claire and Tina, Yvonne Ashmore as Membership Secretary and Lynne Button as Vice Chair. We have nomination forms for all four nominees duly proposed and seconded by other members of MKU3A. Lynne and Yvonne have been working with us since March in these roles and yesterday the remaining Trustees agreed that in these unprecedented times they should be full members of the Committee and become Trustees and be able to vote on any issues which may present themselves.

With this in mind we need to look forward to March 2021 when there will be vacancies on the committee. Trustees can serve a total of three years in the first instance and then a further two one-year terms. We had planned to hold a Volunteers Coffee Morning in April to encourage members to join us on the committee, but this of course was cancelled. We are obliged by our Constitution to have various posts filled so we need volunteers to ensure the smooth running of our U3A ongoing. If you think this might be for you please let me know,  I know that it will be impossible at this time to meet but there are ways and means as we have all discovered.

Our finance and membership teams are working from home as directed by the Government and to our knowledge no one has used our office in Kingston recently so we have decided that the Kingston Office will be closed until further notice except for our answerphone which can be accessed remotely. We have asked that any renewals are made other than by cheque but if this is the only method you have please email the Membership Secretary, or contact us by telephone on 01908 281717 and leave a message on the answerphone when the cheque is in the post so that we can ensure you do not fall into lapsed. We do have some cheques, but these have not yet been presented to the bank.

We will continue to pay any invoices for Tutors and Venues from the MKU3A Bank Accounts until the end of June. Unfortunately, these payments will have to cease after this date as we cannot continue indefinitely, and the Group Leaders have been informed of this decision so they can contact their venues and tutors.

Under the current circumstances we remain unable to reach out to members without an email address on our system. Therefore, if you could pass this message to any member you know without an email address it would be appreciated.

The U3A motto of Learn, Laugh Live is so appropriate as we learn to live with the new ‘normal’ and hopefully it won’t be too long before we meet up with family and friends for a good laugh!

Stay safe
Lesley Sparks

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Dear members,

Some of you will be receiving your membership renewal notification shortly so the trustees thought we should inform you of our decision regarding annual subscriptions and the reason for the decision.

You may not be aware that we have agreed to continue payment for the hire of venues and for our ‘fitness’ tutors for three months. This will then be reviewed. This measure will ensure that we still have meeting places and tutors once this is over. We also must continue to pay the rent and rates on our Kingston office, our annual per capita payment to the National U3A and the Third Age Matters magazine produced by national. Payment for the website and email hosting is still ongoing and these payments make up the majority of each members subscription.

The website is still available as is the new Facebook page, the ‘Ideas area’ to keep up our morale and some groups have found ways to meet remotely.

The membership and finance teams are still working from home and our thanks go to them for their commitment to MKU3A. The Trustees are still answering emails and returning calls - carrying on as best we can in these uncertain times. We are all volunteers and receive no payment for the work we do for MKU3A. Our association therefore does not qualify for Government financial assistance.

I am sure you know the philosophy of the U3A movement which is that all groups are self-funding and unless a group applies for a grant for equipment for their group do not draw down money from the annual membership subscriptions we receive.

At this time the trustees have made the decision not to reduce the membership subscription from £15. This will mean we will be able to meet our commitments as described above. No one knows how long this situation will continue.

We plan to review this decision in the future once everything returns to normal.

Please keep safe.
Best wishes
Lesley Sparks
Chair MKU3A on behalf of all the Committee


Sunday 15 March 2020

Following the guidance from the government the Trustees after much discussion have taken the following difficult decisions.

  1. Postpone the AGM until June 24th, which is allowed under the constitution, unless government advice changes. All the documentation and accounts can be found on our website once you have logged in under the Members Only area - AGM – AGM 2020. Any comments relevant to the AGM paperwork can be sent to
  2. Members must make a personal decision whether to attend their group meetings, if they are still running.
  3. We have considered that it is too early to decide on the blanket closure of all groups. However, if Group Leaders chose to close their group until further notice they will have our full support
  4. Cancellation of the monthly Open Meetings until further notice
  5. The Outings for March April and May have been cancelled with the agreement of the group leader. We are awaiting notification from the venues as to their refund policies, but we will ensure you are not out of pocket in due course

I hope you appreciate the difficult decisions the Trustees have had to make, and we hope you all stay safe and well in these difficult times.

The Trustees

 Milton Keynes University of the Third Age

If this is your first visit to MKU3A, welcome!   We hope you will return regularly. There is a wealth of information on the site

What is The University of The Third Age?
The word University is used in its original sense of people coming together to share and pursue learning in all its forms. There are over 1000 local U3As, all individually registered charities. They are all members of the Third Age Trust which is their national support and advisory body in the UK. The current strap line that sums up our objectives is "LEARN, LIVE and LAUGH"

U3As are autonomous, self-help organisations run by the voluntary efforts of their members. They are self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for people who are retired or have time to pursue their interests or leisure activities with others. Opportunities are provided for members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning for fun, not for qualifications. There is much more information on the U3A National Website including member benefits and group resources. To get the best from that site you will need to set up an account with a username and password.

The charitable aims of MKU3A are:

  • The advancement of education and, in particular, the education of older people who are retired from full time work, by all means, including associated activities conducive to the learning and personal development in Milton Keynes and its surrounding locality.

To view the U3A National Vision and Mission Statement please click here
To View the Principles of the U3A Movement please click here

The Wordle below will give you a first feel of the range of activities in the MKU3A.  For more detail please go to the Interest Groups Page from the main menu.