University of the Third Age

Chartered client, Penny Fisher, attends a course offered by U3A, and is currently writing her memoirs as her writing task. Here is why she is loving her course:

I attend a Creative Writing Course with eight other members, mostly retired, from all backgrounds, including a Penny Fisher and her grandsons Nathan and Danielphysiotherapist, a widow, a lawyer, a linguist.  We meet generally every three weeks in each other’s homes for a 3-4 hour session.  Time is of the essence so discussions are carefully planned with a 20-minute tea-break. 

We write on a variety of topics and we try and keep to 1000 words.  Some of the topics to-date have been: A Room (atmosphere, feeling), A Dialogue (with prose), or we may choose our own topic.  I am writing my memoirs.  There is an emphasis on participation and involvement and we critique each other’s work constructively.  I have found the input and different viewpoints absolutely invaluable. 

In addition, belonging to such a group makes one feel accountable and committed to completing the task at hand.  Hopefully, therefore, I shall complete my memoirs, started in the last century, before I see my days out!

Visit U3A’s website for more information and contact details

U3A consists of groups of people who come together to share knowledge, skills and experience in an informal association of their own design. Small groups of members congregate in private homes to study and discuss a particular subject under the guidance of a course leader. Workshops, group outings and general meetings are also popular. Membership is R50 per annum, is open to all, irrespective of race, religion, politics or economic circumstances. The organisation aims to serve those no longer in full time employment – the ‘Third Age’ of the title.


Various courses are on offer:  computer workshops, French, creative writing, to name just a few. The sessions are mostly held during the daytime on weekdays, a time slot that suits retired people.

The Write Stuff

Brenda Solarsh, member of WRITEGROUP15, attends the same University of the Third Age course as does Penny, and shares her enthusiasm for it.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of belonging to this U3A writing group since its inception mid-2015.  How wonderful it has been to be amongst a group of people with the same goal in mind: developing their writing potential.

So many say: “I am going to write when I retire”, but don’t manage to do so. It is a difficult craft to hone, and a relatively lonely one. One may have always read voraciously, been admired for one’s writing skills, and harbored the desire to write, but confidence to take the first steps is another issue. Some may have written for journals of various sorts, but now have loftier aspirations. The support and learning of a writing group can be just what one needs.

Having done a brief online writing course, I was aware how much I still needed to learn and WRITEGROUP15 has not disappointed. We write stories which we circulate to each other and to our mentors. Feedback is received and discussed at our sociable, but structured fortnightly meetings. My confidence has grown, and I continue to learn how much I still need to learn … I enjoy it immensely.

We are all third-agers proving that rewiring our brains, not retiring them, is the right choice, and who knows what literary triumphs we will produce!

Click here to visit the U3A website.

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