picture of BlossFrom Ian Sinclair, Blossomfield (Solihull) U3A.
I am a founder member, a past Chairman, and now the Education and Development Contact for the West Midlands (of England) with special responsibility for the Solihull Cluster of U3A's.
1. Blossomfield is named after a district in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull - Solihull lies between Birmingham & Coventry in the West Midlands of England, and has a population of nearly a quarter of a million people.
There are now 10 U3A's in the Solihull Cluster, and, in the past months, I have been very busy in the formation of a new U3A in Solihull, probably to be called Solihull Central (so far, we have over 130 on the enquirers list) . This means we will cater for nearly 1,400 U3A members within the Cluster area of Solihull.

2. Membership numbers Blossomfield was founded nearly 10 years ago & now has a membership of 115, which is determined by the capacity of our meeting place.
The practice within the Solihull Cluster is to keep our U3A's on a manageable human scale, which is primarily determined by the capacity of the meeting places. Thus, most of the U3A's within the Cluster are limited to about 100.

3. Activities. Blossomfield has a monthly core meeting, on the first Monday afternoon of the month. This is usually attended by between 80- 90% of the membership. It is made clear that members are expected to attend regularly, that such membership is a privilege, and members should try to attend unless they have a "good excuse".

In Solihull, we have a wide range of societies which are open to the general public, and so our U3A only seeks to provide activites where the needs are not met in the wider community.
In Blossomfield, we have Activity Groups, which usually meet at least once a month - examples are;- art appreciation, books, computers, current affairs, family history, French, garden visits, history, literature, Local Studies (2 groups), music appreciation, painting, rambling.

4. What I like. Blossomfield is a very varied, mixed, caring and interesting group of friends, where almost everyone does something constructive towards the running of the U3A, usually by leading meetings or groups, or being responsible for different activities. We share jobs around, with major offices changing usually every two years. We keep the numbers to a limit where it is possible to know every member personally, and we aim to include every member in a group and in an active capacity.

5. Personal message. I have been involved in U3A's ( Blossomfield & Dorridge) for some 14 or so years, and also I have enjoyed attending an Annual Conference & a Summer School, and also meetings with other EDC's. There are so many opportunities there for participation, especially as there is such a great cameraderie. My wife & I also lecture regularly on cruise ships and we are always delighted to find other interesting U3A members on those cruises. U3A certainly deserves to be one of the fastest growing groups for retired people in GB - long may such united individuality flourish.