FOR 42 YEARS, Craven u3a has maintained its mission: to enrich the lives of those of its members who, mainly being retired, have the leisure and curiosity to participate in the 'University of the Third Age.'

Craven u3a encourages new residents and those who have lived in the area all their lives to use their free time to explore fresh ideas, acquire new abilities, be creative and generally remain mentally and physically active.

The membership stands at £25 per annum, providing a reasonably priced alternative to gym memberships or cinema outings and a price drop on previous years.

The organisation is based in Skipton, and has a number of different venues.

The latest programme launches in September, and many of the courses span throughout the whole year.

At an open event on Tuesday, August 6 from 2 to 4pm at Skipton Town Hall, Craven u3a will showcase the possibilities that membership entails, and give attendees the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the friendly group leaders.

New members will have the opportunity to reserve a slot on one course on the day, to increase the chance of getting into the most popular courses.

Course enrolment for existing group members opens the following day.

Help desks will be available on the morning of the Open Event, based in the Hub of the Town Hall, for those interested in signing up or learning more.

Craven u3a's summer programme on July 28 and 29 at Ermysted's Grammar School, and the August monthly meeting at the Champions Church, will also host help desks for potential joiners.

Signing up can also be done online on the group's website, at

A wealth of events have been scheduled by the organisation's voluntary group leaders, in response to requests from members and the committee.

Those activities are organised into seven key areas, all of which will be showcased at the open event.

In the creative arts and crafts area, one can study art or partake in various crafts such as quilting, woodturning and flower arrangement.

Additionally, members can try their hand at calligraphy or creative writing or deepen their understanding of the lives of literary figures.

In the performing arts area, members can make music (including with recorders, in an orchestra, or through jazz improvisation, which is new for this year), learn about cultural icons like Vivaldi or the history of protest songs or simply enjoy listening to popular music from the 1920s-70s.

Those interested in physical activity will feel at home with the indoor fun, games, and fitness area of activities.

These range from classic sports like table tennis, croquet and bowls to badminton, new for this year, and solo Latin dance.

Exercise groups are divided into three intensity levels.

Bridge groups and mahjong are also available, along with indoor games hosted at Three Links Club.

The outdoorsy are catered for by the out and about area, which offers a range of walking groups running the gamut from long hikes to short ambles and even walks to lunch.

Also on offer are motorcycle outings, birdwatching, e-biking and gardening.

The world languages and cinema area offers lessons in French, German and Italian.

Members can combine language learning with enjoying high-quality world films at Champions Church twice a week.

'People and places in time and spaces' area allows members to travel back in time to Byzantium or get stuck into Arthurian legend.

There will also be a geography forum, geology walks and a politics discussion.

'Wonders of science and technology' area encompasses courses in astronomy, nature walks, railways meetings and stories of scientists.

Members can also participate in a science and technology discussion group and learn essential skills including safety on the web.

For those looking to relax, the u3a offers a monthly Sunday lunch club.

Participants can enjoy coffee, cake and a chat at the monthly meetings held on the first Saturday of every month.

Members can also attend plays, live music sessions and cinema screenings through the Culture Vulture Club.

Some members also organise' days out with a bus pass 'between themselves.

More information about the organisation can be found at

Current members can renew using the following link:

All u3a venues have undergone a risk assessment.