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Alsager & District u3a look back on 25 years of learning and community

28 March 2024

Following on from Alsager & District u3a's 25th anniversary in 2023, Chair Alan talks about how their u3a has grown over the years.

A concert celebration

It has been a privilege as Chair to take Alsager & District u3a through its 25th Anniversary year. We now have over 1000 members and 59 groups. This shows how our local community values this wonderful organisation.

The original members of Alsager & District u3a, photographed recently. They are standing in front of a blue table with a cake and cards on. They are smiling at the camera.

The original members of Alsager & District u3a, photographed recently. 

Planning started in October 1997, when a group of nine local people were brought together to form an initial steering group. They had seen how other local u3as were progressing and felt the time was right for Alsager to look at forming its own group. A first public meeting was attended by 150 members of the local community. 120 of those attending agreed to join and several group leaders were identified.

In January 1998, 20 groups were functioning and membership had grown to 469.

What a beginning, and this support has continued throughout the past 25 years. Even through COVID it was evident that the positiveness of u3a was there for all to see. Groups were clambering to start with whatever restrictions we had to put in place. The social and mental wellbeing of the members was always at the forefront of our thinking. We were able to continue with groups following national guidelines. We, as a committee, had no idea what membership would be like when we would be able to return fully. I think we now know!!

As groups returned, new groups were formed and membership increased. It is a testimony to the hard work of Committee Members that we have gone from strength to strength.

Although it was important to mark our 25th Anniversary, every week and year is a celebration of success. We have produced a 25th Anniversary booklet, looking back over those early beginnings, which has been very well-received. We celebrated in style with a concert by our own 50 strong Orchestra in October 2023 when we packed out St Mary’s Church in Alsager with well over 200 attending. 

Four members of Alsager & District u3a standing in front of a walking display - it shows various routes and maps - at an open morningThe walking group at Alsager & District u3a Open Morning.

The year culminated in our Annual Open Morning where we showcased all of our groups. A celebratory cake was cut and Committee members from 25 years ago attended.

Two members of the Alsager & District u3a craft group in front of a crafting display.Two members of the Craft group at Alsager & District u3a's open morning.

A massive thank you must go to Dennis Brumpton, Marion Speake, Norman Williams and Val Holtom who were our first Committee memberes. Without their enthusiasm and dedication we would not have this thriving, enthusiastic and still-growing u3a. It is a great credit to these initial members that we are and will continue to be a successful part of the local community.

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