Winchester U3A has a wide range of activity groups to suit all interests. They are generally small in size and often meet at members' homes. Each group has a chosen leader to co-ordinate its activities, but all group members are encouraged to share in a joint process of learning and discovery.
Because the size of many groups is limited by the size of the meeting place, some groups may not have vacancies. In this case, the group leader runs a waiting list. A current list of Groups is available showing when they meet.
In addition to the Group activities there is a Monthly Meeting at which typically an external speaker gives a talk on the second Tuesday of the month, held at Littleton Memorial Hall.
The broad categories into which the groups fall are described below. Click on the entries below to view more details of the activity groups within each category. In addition, there are frequent ad hoc groups that form for limited periods to study particular topics. These groups are advertised in the Members' Area of this website and in our Newsletter.
A comprehensive list of Groups and Group Leaders can be found on the Home page in the Members' Area. If you cannot find the particular activity that interests you, we will try to help you form a new group. Many new groups have been formed in this way, and details of new groups can be found on the Notices page in the Members' Area.
The Group Secretary is Julia Whitburn. Please contact her through this link if you have any further queries.
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|Food & Drink||Games||Outdoor Activities||Other Activities|
There are Music Groups for amateur musicians aimed at both enjoyment and improving skills. There are Groups for recorders and one each for clarinet and piano. Currently, there are no singing groups.
Opera Appreciation members choose and view an opera on video or DVD. They study the historical and social background of the composer and librettist and the content of the opera itself. Visits to live performances may be arranged.
The Film Criticism Groups meet monthly to discuss a film viewed in the previous month. Members take turns to choose the film and lead the discussion.
There are Painting Groups, each of which meets weekly to improve members’ skills. There is no formal course of instruction, but the varying expertise and experience of the members is shared. Members may choose any medium to pursue. The groups meet in local halls during term time and a small extra charge is made to cover this cost. There is also a new Drawing Group being formed.
The Art Today Groups focus on modern art with regular trips to London galleries as a basis for discussion. Members take it in turn to organise visits, which may include short breaks to galleries in Europe.
Art Appreciation members meet monthly in members’ homes to study and discuss various aspects of art history. The topics are chosen by members, and occasional visits to galleries or exhibitions may be arranged.
The Digital Photography group meets in Littleton Hall for monthly meetings. The group considers available software to improve and display digital photos as well as the more basic elements of photography.
Visits to local theatres for stage productions.
Textiles and Knitting
There are Knitting Groups and a thriving and expanding textiles group.
Languages are well represented in the list of topics covered in Winchester. Perhaps inevitably, French leads the way, with no fewer than ten groups, ranging from the encouraging (French for beginners) through to the daunting (University Level Literature). There are six Spanish groups catering for beginners, intermediates and those who wish to brush up their conversational skills. There are four German groups, one for beginners and three aimed at improving conversation. One of these is at intermediate level and also includes translation and grammar. The four Italian groups cater for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels.
There is always scope for new groups, both for beginners and for returners. Someone will always be found, if required, to help kick-start a new class in one of the above languages. But what about Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Swahili ....?
There are a number of Modern Novels Groups for members interested in reading and discussing contemporary works of fiction. The autonomous groups are small (no more than 12), encouraging participation in a relaxed and friendly environment. Meetings are held monthly in members' homes, when, following an introductory review by a member of the group, the selected book is discussed.
Members select, read and discuss individual plays. We meet usually on the 4th Tuesday of the month. We admit that we read playwrights who are a bit challenging, such as Pinter and Arthur Miller. Beckett, Tom Stoppard and Caryl Churchill are next on the list. We combine play readings with theatre visits where possible.
This group meets monthly and studies individual poets and, usually, one poem in depth in each session. Poems are proposed by individual members and photocopied and distributed in advance. Sessions also include poetry readings of members’ own writing.
Meet in Member's homes. Read and discuss plays and playwrites.
Architecture and History
There are several architecture groups, each of which chooses a topic for research and discussion, with talks or visits to augment their study.
There are a number of Local History groups, each of which has a slightly different approach to active participation in local history research. Some of the groups focus on particular time periods in local history, whereas others organise their study around particular local historical themes, such as education, transport or crime. Typically, members of a group research topics which interest them and then make short presentations to their group. In addition to these indoor activities, groups also often make visits to local sites of historical interest, particularly during the summer months.
The History group studies general English history. The group has adopted a chronological approach, progressing sequentially through the reigns of different monarchs and has recently been examining the Victorian period. All group members research the background to the period and then, within this framework, group members explore topics which are of particular interest to them, such as social history, the theatre or the arts. Recent topics have included costumes and notable women of the period.
One Science group and one Science and Technology group meet in private houses to listen to and discuss prepared subjects of topical interest.
Computer Groups meet in the Littleton Memorial Hall and, using their own PCs and Projector, cover a wide range of computer related issues. A seperate Apple Mac group aims to give those who enjoy the Apple System a chance to solve problems and exchange information. A small charge is made to cover the cost of the hiring of the hall.
Cooking Groups, each meet monthly at members’ homes. They each consist of around eight members, which is the maximum number our kitchens can accommodate. Members take it in turns to host the meeting, choosing the menu, buying the food and circulating the recipes. Costs are evened out over an eight month cycle. We start at 11am and eat around 1pm, so time is a restraint. Everyone is involved in the preparation. There is ongoing discussion about methods and equipment used, sourcing the produce, and how the meal might be improved. We are learning not to fuss about dishes going wrong.
Wine Appreciation Groups have been formed to enable members to learn about and taste a wide selection of wines. Meetings are normally held monthly in members’ houses with the host being responsible for selecting and leading a tasting of 6 wines. Visits are also arranged to vineyards in England and France. None of the members is an expert but each wants to learn more about wine.
The Games groups cater for a range of skills and can accommodate both beginners and the more experienced.
Scrabble Groups meet in homes of members to provide an enjoyable social game and discover new words. Two games are generally played at the monthly meetings.
Bridge groups, offering a range of opportunities, meet on a weekly basis. The Beginners meet in the Littleton Hall. Rubber bridge players meet in Simmonds Court, Winchester, and a degree of experience is required to join. The duplicate bridge group meets in the Badger Farm Community Centre. As a room or hall is used for these groups, there is a small charge to cover the hire cost.
Mah-jong Groups meet fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon.
There is a wide variety of Walks and Outings groups within Winchester U3A. Members car share so if you don’t drive it doesn’t prevent you joining the groups. You just contribute to the petrol costs.
Walking Groups each meet monthly. Some Groups cater for shorter half day walks of 4-5 miles. Other Groups groups walk about 8-10 miles and usually include a pub lunch. Members of the groups take it in turn to organize the walks
There are a number of Questers, whose object is to visit places that are not generally open to the general public or that require group bookings. The trips are held monthly and arranged by individual members. The trips are varied – typical examples include the Compost Heap at Kew Gardens, the Watts Gallery at Guildford, the MRI Scanner at Winchester Hospital and the BBC studios in London.
We have an enthusiastic group of cyclists who meet periodically.
Gardening and Allotments
There are several Gardening groups. One meets in members’ homes to discuss gardening issues and exchange plants, seeds and cuttings raised by members. The second group meets mainly in the summer months to visit gardens. The third group is developing an allotment in the Stanmore area of Winchester.
For Aviation enthusiasts - includes visits and other aviation related activities.
For all Anoraks. Visits to vintage railways, museums etc.