One side effect of Covid is that many over 50s have found themselves in an unscheduled gap year. Some had already retired, others have been furloughed or made
redundant, but with many ‘confined to barracks’ with time on their hands, they’ve invented their own gap year. It has been aided and abetted by Farnham u3a where newcomers are

Through various tiers and lockdowns Farnham u3a has expanded its offerings that entertain and amuse its one thousand plus members. Lockdown has elongated time for
those stuck at home – and home alone – but they now meet on Zoom rather than attend physical meetings at The Maltings.

Almost a year after the first lockdown u3a’s specialist interest groups online range across literature, books, languages, photography, current affairs, finance interest, geopolitics,
songwriting, the Silk Roads as well as the Art and Science of Communications. Without access to their usual hub at The Maltings, Pilates classes are now on YouTube (at whatever time you
want), and even Wine for Fun has gone onto Zoom – without the worry of getting a taxi home.

Large group presentations such as the monthly guest speakers, theme speakers and the AGM have also transferred to Zoom, freed from the constraints of room capacity. Keeping mind, body and spirit healthy is a priority because gone are the theatre trips, golf or tennis, bridge or garden club. Social distancing means no more morning coffee dates or half term child minding which used to fill our retiree’s diaries. This new style ‘gap year’ has seen local baby boomers transformed into Zoomers as they seize the opportunity to maintain social contact whilst broadening their mental horizons or cultural or recreational interests.

“Strangely we can reach out to more people using Zoom sessions than we could previously. Many of our members have found new groups and new interests during lockdown,”
says u3a’s groups co-ordinator Malcolm Ellis.

“Whilst we look forward to meeting together once more at The Maltings, Zoom sessions do come with some advantages. Not only do you not having to venture out in this cold, wet weather but also there are fewer limits to how many we can accommodate at each session. Waiting lists
are a thing of the past,” Mr Ellis added.

Farnham u3a is recruiting members and they say if we haven’t (yet) got a group that reflects your interests then let us know. There is plenty of support to get you started.

For more information about the active groups programme visit or email In the spirit of try before you buy, non members are welcome to
have two free ‘taster sessions’ before paying a subscription.

There are u3a’s in many local areas, so please visit to find your local one.