Welcome to HGS U3A, the University of the Third Age serving Hampstead Garden Suburb and adjoining areas. The purpose of the U3A is for retired and semi-retired people to come together and learn together, not for qualifications, but for its own reward—the sheer joy of discovery. It is a non-religious and non-political charity (registered number 1182530) based on principles of self-help learning and mutual aid.
There are no restrictions on age or range of interests. The “third age” is defined as “no longer in full-time employment”. Many interest groups meet in members’ homes, others are outdoor pursuits. Some groups are held in hired venues during term time only.
Learn & Enjoy
HGS U3A is run by dedicated volunteer members and caters for a wide range of interests. Meet like-minded people and make new friends. Take a look at the wide range of activities we offer:
Arts & Crafts
Can’t draw for toffee? Now’s your chance to learn. Or maybe you’re a dab hand with the paint brush. Join others with similar skills and interests. We’ve also got groups for knitting, crochet work, patchwork, and even stained glass. Or maybe you’d just prefer to appreciate great art by visiting museums and galleries. See all our arts & crafts activities.
Computers, Science & Technology
We run occasional workshops to help members deal with computers and other digital technology. There’s also a special course on the effects of climate change and what we can do about it. For more information, visit the Computers, Science & Technology page.
Economics & Finance
Our Share Watch group discusses the performance of FTSE 100 companies. But there’s no danger of losing your shirt. There’s no money involved unless individual members decide to invest at their own risk.
Fitness & Wellbeing
As we get older, it’s important to remain as fit and active as we can. In addition to a range of (relatively gentle) physical activities, we also have sessions on meditation and mindfulness. Some classes involve a modest additional fee. See the full range of our fitness and wellbeing activities.
Food & Drink
Join us once a month for Sunday lunch at a local restaurant to meet old friends and make new ones. Or how about learning Indian cookery or pastry making, not to mention wine appreciation? See the food and drink section.
Games & Puzzles
We have several bridge groups for players of different levels of ability. Or maybe you’d like to wrack your brains over cryptic crosswords. See games and puzzles.
History & Humanities
This eclectic section offers an insight into the history of London, an introduction to psychology, public speaking, and even help with decluttering. There’s also a supportive group for carers, and discussion of travel. See the history and humanities page.
Don’t be shy about dusting off your knowledge of French, German, or Italian. We’ve also got Hebrew (Ivrit) and Yiddish discussion groups. Or how about learning Latin? See the languages that HGS U3A has to offer.
Literature & Writing
As well as discussing Shakespeare, poetry, and modern classics, our literature and writing section offers play reading and a creative writing group.
Members on Their Own
This is a special group that arranges activities for people who live on their own either by choice or through circumstances, such as bereavement.
Music, Cinema & Theatre
Come along and sing, or maybe you prefer to listen to musicals, jazz, or classical music. The Theatre group organizes tickets to top West End shows and local theatres at greatly reduced prices, while the World Cinema group takes in screenings of films from across the globe. See the range of activities HGS U3A offers to music, theatre, and film lovers.
We have three walking groups that cater to different tastes, as well as groups for photography and vegetable gardening enthusiasts. We also organize outings to places of interest further afield. See all our outdoor activities.
What our Members Like about HGS U3A*
- “I’m doing things that I was too embarrassed to do before”
- “Learning and social development”
- “Expert teaching, caring and friendly leader”
- “Mentally challenging and meeting like-minded people”
- “Professionally run. Charming and interesting people”
- “Thoroughly enriching — am so pleased to have joined”
- “Appreciate the time and effort organisers put into making the group event a success”
- “Inspiration and commitment from leader”
There is a search facility on this website on the Groups, Meetings and Events and News sections.
Term Dates 2019 – 2020 – used at hired facilities only
- Autumn term: Monday 2 September to Friday 13 December 2019
- Spring term: Monday 6 January to Friday 27 March 2020
- Summer term: Monday 20 April to Friday 17 July 2020
Make a donation
We welcome donations, both financial and physical such as Bridge tables. If you wish to make a donation please contact our Chair.
Group sessions and events held at local hired facilities — Alyth, Fellowship House, Golders Green Library, Free Church Hall, and Friends Meeting House — are accessible to people with limited mobility and wheelchair users. However, many groups meet in leaders’ homes. If you have hearing, mobility, vision, or other accessibility issues, please check first with the group leader to see if the venue is suitable.
Members who cannot manage to participate in their chosen activities without help, may bring a companion/carer with them, who for the time that they are in attendance, will be covered by the liability insurance provided by The Third Age Trust. The only exception to this is a professionally employed carer who would have to be covered by an individual liability policy.
The Principles of the U3A Movement
The U3A movement is non-religious and non-political and has three main principles:View Principles
The Third Age Principle
- Membership of a U3A is open to all in their third age, which is defined not by a particular age but by a period in life in which full time employment has ceased.
- Members promote the values of lifelong learning and the positive attributes of belonging to a U3A.
- Members should do all they can to ensure that people wanting to join a U3A can do so.
The Self-help Learning Principle
- Members form interest groups covering as wide a range of topics and activities as they desire; by the members, for the members.
- No qualifications are sought or offered. Learning is for its own sake, with enjoyment being the prime motive, not qualifications or awards.
- There is no distinction between the learners and the teachers; they are all U3A members.
The Mutual Aid Principle
- Each U3A is a mutual aid organisation, operationally independent but a member of The Third Age Trust, which requires adherence to the guiding principles of the U3A movement.
- No payments are made to members for services rendered to any U3A.
- Each U3A is self-funded with membership subscriptions and costs kept as low as possible.
- Outside financial assistance should only be sought if it does not imperil the integrity of the U3A movement.