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 Frequently Asked Questions


Q.     What is the University of the Third Age (U3A)?
It is a worldwide, volunteer not-for-profit educational organisation. It draws on the wealth of knowledge and experience of its members to set up study groups, and to organise recreational activities.  It was first established in Toulouse, France in 1974, after a group of people considered that older members of the community definitely had fuller and healthier lives if they continued to learn and participate in new activities. The first U3A established the principles that it would be aimed at people who were retired (fully or in part) from full time work, to provide ongoing life-long learning. All administration and tutors would be voluntary, in order to keep entry fees to a minimum, and to encourage wide participation.
Q.     How did it expand?
News about the organisation spread rapidly, and several other U3As sprang up around France, each run independently, but with communication between them, basically sharing experiences.  By the early 1980s it had spread to the UK, starting at Cambridge University, and in 1984 the first Australia U3A started at Melbourne University. Now many countries around the world have adopted the model, with over 3000 individual organisations now operating.  
U3A Mornington started in 1990 and now has over 1000 members with 180 courses run each year.  As with most new U3As these days, there is no formal relationship with a university.
Q.     What is the relationship between each U3A?
 Each U3A is autonomous.  However, some have formed regional “alliances” to discuss matters of mutual interest. The four U3As on the Mornington Peninsula – Mornington, Hastings, Frankston and Southern Peninsula, as well as Casey and Dandenong, hold regular regional meetings.
There are no “reciprocal rights” between U3As; however, U3A Mornington does have an Associate Membership fee for those already belonging to another U3A.  Most U3As operate in this manner, but it is the choice of each individual U3A to do so.

Q.    Does the U3A have a Peak Body?
Our Peak Body is U3A Network Victoria which has a President and Secretary who are U3A members in their own right, as are most of the members of the Network Committee.
The committee members are all voluntary; the only people receiving a salary at Network are one full-time and one part-time office worker. 
The role of U3A Network is to assist U3As with issues that might arise, to offer advice regarding establishing new U3As, to liaise with the Government for funding and to provide assistance with issues such as insurance and copyright.  U3A Network recommends and offers support for the U-MAS Membership system. Each individual U3A pays Network an annual membership fee.

There is also another organisation called U3A Online which runs a website offering online class material to anyone who wants to use it.  This requires a small sum to be paid for each course downloaded.

Q. Does U3A Mornington receive external funding?

We receive a small grant annually from the State government which is distributed by U3A Network Victoria (see above). We also apply for Program Growth Funding for specific projects.

Q.  What is the arrangement for occupying the premises at the Currawong Community Centre?

The Currawong Community Centre is owned and operated by the Mornington Peninsula Shire. U3A Mornington applies to rent various rooms at the centre each year, and is usually granted sufficient space for classes. The Currawong Community Centre is a shared facility with U3A Mornington being the major tenant during week days.  Other groups use the centre during week nights and at weekends. U3A Mornington has sole use of the Music Room, Annex, Portable Classroom and the Office.

Q.   Does U3A Mornington have any copyright concessions?

This is done through an agreement with U3A Network Victoria, from whom we have a copyright number. The number should be stamped on the photocopies of any items which attract copyright.

Q. What insurance does U3A Mornington carry?
There are three forms of insurance that could be activated in the event of a claim.
1. We carry insurance cover for all assets owned by us, typically equipment, furniture and fittings purchased or otherwise acquired by U3A Mornington.

2. U3A Network Victoria has a service agreement with the Victorian State Government, operated through the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. U3A Mornington pays a levy to U3A Network Victoria to be covered in this scheme against various claims including:
Public liability – negligence by U3A Mornington, its management or officers (tutors, leaders).
Professional Indemnity – negligence, omission, error, etc leading to economic loss to a third party.
Officers liability - breach of duty, trust, error, etc by U3A Mornington management or officers (tutors, leaders).
Volunteer Personal Accident – provides benefits for injury incurred while performing an authorised activity by U3AM administrators, management, tutors, activity leaders, officer volunteers, and any volunteer work such as catering, social committees, etc. This does not cover general members of U3A, and in this case, members will need to rely on their own medical insurance.


3. Public liability insurance is also held for claims on the Currawong site by the site’s owners, the Mornington Peninsula Shire

Q.  How does U3A Mornington promote itself?

We have a number of promotional activities throughout the year such as attendance at the Mornington Wednesday market, the Ageing Well Expo and other special events in the Currawong Community Centre Hall and other local venues; talks to Rotary, Probus and similar organisations; articles in the local press; as well as flyers and course information distributed to libraries, information centres and local retirement villages. The website and Facebook also provide promotion and information.

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