FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a U3A?
U3As provide learning, social and physical activities to retirees. Run by volunteers, we offer a great community to help you get the most out of your retirement.
Why is attending a U3A good for my mental and physical health?
Social connection is important for mental and physical health and links to our sense of self, group identities, sense of purpose and quality of life. How we experience and view the world and how we were raised within our family, or our culture, can shape our understanding and perception of being and connecting in the world.
The evidence tells us:
- 1 in 4 Australians, aged 12 - 89 years, experience 'problematic' loneliness (approximately 5 million people).
- Some research indicates that Australians over 65 years are often less lonely than younger people and experience less depression, social anxiety and are more engaged socially.
- A recent survey by the Federation of nine Councils on the Ageing (COTA) across Australia suggests that of 22% of Queenslanders aged 50 years and over were not content with their friendships and relationships, 5% hadn't had contact with anyone in a week and 8% felt lonely all or most of the time.
- The same survey indicates that older Queenslanders find support for their wellbeing (and mental health) through family and friends, exercising, good nutrition, hobbies, connecting with nature and through staying connected with digital technology.
Connecting with friends, family, acquaintances and even one-off or semi-regular casual interactions, can assist in preventing or alleviating social isolation and the feeling of loneliness. Good health adds life to years.
What happens at a U3A?
U3As provide opportunities for you to try something new, make friends and share your knowledge and skills with others. Courses range from physical fitness to desk-based classes, language studies, art and craft classes, social activities and more.
Do I need to be a member to attend any courses or activities?
Yes - only financial members are eligible to attend any courses or activities.
May I try a couple of classes prior to joining U3A?
Prospective members may try a maximum of two different classes for free prior to joining.
How much does it cost?
Membership costs $90 per year for the first year and $80 per year thereafter. Becoming a member enables you to enrol in classes with no additional payment, unless specifically noted in the information for that activity. There are usually additional fees for excursions and social activities such as luncheons.
Where is the Gold Coast U3A located?
We have four Southport locations - Margaret Street, the Community Centre in Lawson Street, Southport Uniting Church and in Australia Fair in Southport's CBD.
How do I get there?
Australia Fair, the Community Centre, and Southport Uniting Church have tram and bus stops nearby. Margaret Street Hall can be reached by bus.
How much does it cost to park at the Gold Coast U3A locations?
All three locations offer free parking - in Australia Fair, for example, there is a limit of three hours of free parking available.
Is Southport U3A accessible?
All of our Gold Coast Southport U3A locations are accessible.The Australia Fair site for example, has disabled parking available as well as access to lifts and travelators. The Margaret Street Hall has 2 levels and does not offer disabled access to the upper floor.
Do I need to study for exams?
Part of the fun of attending a U3A is that there are no exams or tests but learning for the joy of learning.
What educational level do I need to have to go to the U3A?
The U3A model does not require any prior educational level.
Are children able to accompany members to a class or activity?
No - under no circumstances may a child accompany a member to a class or activity.
Is there a limit to the number of classes I can join?
Your membership allows you to join an unlimited number of classes and activities pending availability and subject to clashes of classes. There is a waitlist for some classes. There is no fee per class - your membership fee covers all classes. There may be a cost for materials required for a particular class.
Can I join the U3A at any time of the year?
A reduced membership fee of $50 applies for enrolment for one semester only.
How much time will I need to set aside?
Most classes run for approximately 2 hours. Social activities such Day Trips or Luncheons will be more leisurely.
Do I need to be fully vaccinated against COVID to attend the Gold Coast U3A?
Yes, our protocols, in line with Government advice, require that all members need to have been fully vaccinated to attend our classes and activities.
What if I can't attend a class or wish to drop out?
Please advise the tutor or the office if you are unable to attend. Three consecutive unexplained absences from a class will result in a deletion from the class or activity. As some classes have a waiting list, members are requested to advise the tutor or the U3A office if they no longer wish to attend.