The term “U3A” is an abbreviated form of an earlier name, “University of the Third Age” which placed the members in a third stage of their life.
LIFE’S THREE AGES
First Age: Childhood
Second Age: Career and Parenting
Third Age: Active Retirement
The U3A aim is to provide opportunities for these people to get together and provide intellectual stimulation by sharing knowledge in friendly social settings.
The U3A concept originated in France in 1968, although there, and in other Continental countries, U3A groups were actually connected to academic universities.
When the movement reached Britain in the early 1980s, this connection with academic universities was abandoned in favour of a self-help organisation. It is this model that is followed in the Australian network of U3A branches, of which U3A Central Coast is one.
U3A CENTRAL COAST
U3A Central Coast was incorporated in 1998 and has steadily increased in size until today its membership is approximately 600-700, with more than 70 courses available each semester.
U3A activities began on the Central Coast in 1993, when the local organisation was affiliated with the Sydney branch and was known as Sydney U3A-Central Coast Region.
In 1998, after considerable discussion about the benefits of having an autonomous branch, U3A Central Coast (NSW) Inc. came into being and has continued to grow to where it is today.