East Lothian U3A has more than 40 learning and leisure groups catering for a wide range of interests. Members are free to join as many groups as they wish. Groups are usually held in the daytime. Meetings take place weekly, fortnightly or monthly at venues agreed by the members – a timetable can be downloaded here as a .pdf file. Excursions may be organised by some groups. Click on the titles below to see more details. (The individual group pages with extra information including contact details for the Leaders are only accessible to logged-in members. )
Arts & Crafts
For anyone with an interest in resuming drawing or perhaps trying out some different techniques using a variety of pencils and other media. Basic drawing materials will be required. Although these will not be teaching sessions, much can be learned with regular practice and by sharing ideas and experience with each other. Meets monthly on 1st Wednesday, 1:30-3:30 in members’ homes on a rota basis.
This pleasant summer activity is for members interested in sketching or painting. A break for a picnic lunch allows would-be artists to discuss points with more experienced members. Meets weekly, Thursdays 10.30 till early afternoon (weather permitting) May to September at various locations usually in East Lothian.
This group learns about artists and their work through looking at paintings in permanent collections, exhibitions, slides and videos. Meetstwice monthly 1st and 3rd Thursdays am and/or pm October – April at various exhibitions in Edinburgh and East Lothian.
Members share their interest in needle and craft work and are hopeful of attracting members with new skills to share with us. Before Christmas we tend to concentrate on making cards, small gifts and some decorations. We would also encourage anyone who has a skill to come and demonstrate this to us. Meets Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 October – March in Longniddry Community Centre.
Members learn how to use their Apple Macs for many and varied purposes such as digital photography, word processing and surfing the internet. Mutual self-help is also available for solving any problems members may have. Meets monthly, 2nd Friday of the month, 2.00 – 4.00 at the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Pool Hall).
A forum for the discussion of ideas about the various ways an iPad can be used and to exchange information about favourite apps. Meets 1st Monday of the month, 10.00 – 12.00 September to April in the North Berwick Library.
A relaxed and friendly approach to bridge – a game that anyone can learn at any age. ‘Bridge is the most stimulating, most intriguing, most fascinating, most challenging of all card games. It will give you more lasting pleasure than any other recreation because of its unending variety.’ (Acol Bridge Made Easy.) Meets weekly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 at Lammerview House, Main St, Gullane.
If you have played Bridge for years or have been attending lessons for beginners and are ready to move on, this may be the group for you. We attempt to improve our bidding and play in a relaxed atmosphere by using a variety of hand evaluation methods and improving our knowledge of playing techniques. This is a fun group for folk who want to play better Bridge. New members welcome. Meets weekly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 in Nungate and Haddington Community Centre, Haddington.
Come and enjoy this ancient game. Meets twice monthly, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in Members’ homes.
Come and enjoy this ancient game. Meets first Friday of the month 10.30 – 12.30 in Members’ homes.
Members meet together, currently in each other’s homes to socialise and enjoy learning and playing “modern” games which have emerged from the recent renaissance in board gaming.
These modern games (sometimes called “Euro games”), are competitive but not aggressive; you don’t win by attacking other players and there is no player elimination. You often have to influence the others by trading or even working together. Most games last from 30 to 90 minutes.
They typically require more thought and planning than party games, such as Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit or pub games like dominoes and cribbage, but are less intense than classic strategy games, such as chess and Go. This allows for relaxed and friendly socialising whilst enjoying time together and stretching our minds a bit. Having fun is the goal rather than winning.
Meets weekly: Friday mornings in members’ homes.
Meets first Monday of every month 2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
At present, we have professional input on alternate weeks and use the intervening weeks for practice under the guidance of the more competent members of the group. To date we have danced rumba, waltz and quickstep and are going to tackle the foxtrot, jive and tango as well as improving our skills in all the dances. There is currently a waiting list for ladies, but men are very welcome! “Strictly Come Dancing” we are not but who knows – watch this space! Meets weekly, Thursdays 10.30 – 12.00 in the Haddington Corn Exchange.
This group will begin in the autumn and continue during the winter months. All you will need to bring are comfortable/soft shoes and a bottle of water. No previous experience is necessary. Come along to benefit from the exercise, have some fun in good company and enjoy the music. Meets weekly, Tuesdays 11.00 – 12.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Alistair Grant Hall).
Wide and varied repertoire of dances, old and new, to music from around the world. No partners or experience needed. Limited places available. Meets weekly, Mondays, 1.30 – 3.00 p.m. in the Alistair Grant Hall at the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
This group walks every second Friday throughout the year, on alternate weeks from the Strollers. Walks are usually between 4 and 6 miles, sometimes longer. They start at different locations, usually within an hours drive from Haddington. The group is managed by a small planning group, and members are encouraged to participate by leading walks and suggesting suitable places for a coffee or lunch afterwards. We do not organize transport, but members are encouraged to share cars where possible. Well-behaved dogs with responsible owners are welcome. Meets alternate Fridays throughout the year.
A walking group which offers less demanding routes than the Wednesday Walkers. Walks are around 3 miles on easy terrain, usually followed by coffee or lunch at one of the excellent cafés in the area. Dogs welcome. Meets fortnightly, Fridays, 10.15 for 10.30 start (Alternate weeks from ‘Intermediate Walking’).
The group was founded in 1999, since when it has expanded to over 60 members, with an average turnout of about 18. We completed our 700th walk in November 2017. Walks are led by group members and are always very sociable occasions. They take place throughout the year, with a two-week break over Christmas. We encourage all members to devise and lead a walk (or walks) during the year. This is not mandatory, but the more volunteers we have the easier it is for all. A small, elected committee looks after the common interests of the group, and collates programmes of walks in the Lothians and Borders three times a year. Walks are usually between 7 and 10 miles, moderately demanding, sometimes including steep gradients, and with stops for coffee and lunch. Walkers normally assemble in time to leave Haddington at 9 am, and share transport to the starting point. Meets weekly, Wednesdays.
We undertake project work covering the three above disciplines jointly or separately. These projects can be our own, not requiring outside finance (e.g. our work on East Lothian graveyards and on Yester Castle) or can involve providing a team of volunteers to work on defined parts of larger projects organised and financed by other organisations (e.g. our contribution to buildings archaeology work on Yester Chapel, and to archaeological digs). In both cases our project team is co-ordinated by a member of the Group. We prepare reports on our projects and in some cases publish them. We also contribute to the East Lothian Archaeology Fortnight each September.
We meet at the Bridge Centre as required to share experiences and co-ordinate work. Appropriate training sessions are arranged as needed. Occasional talks and visits to places of interest are arranged by members of the Group.
We see ourselves as a resource with a variety of skills and experience which can be used to advantage in East Lothian.
Beginners’ Italian is organised to enable members with little or no Italian language capabilities to get by on trips to Italy. We are following a course of lessons developed by a U3A member, Len Gibbs, which uses on-line learning aids together with other materials used during the lessons. Emphasis is on developing the ability to communicate simple messages required on a trip to Italy, formal grammatical instruction is kept to a necessary minimum. Meets fortnightly – Thursdays – 14.30 to 16.00.
Members of this group have some experience of speaking French and have decided on various enjoyable means to encourage fearlessness in communication! Maximum practice and a little preparation are encouraged. The aim is to have more vocabulary and more confidence when speaking to French people. Meets fortnightly September to June in members’ homes, either Wednesdays 10.30-12.00 or Mondays 2.00 – 4.00.
The group is using a course guide ‘Facon de Parler’ and is led by a tutor who is fluent and has teaching experience. No one in the group is a complete beginner but we all lack conversational skills. We are enjoying very good progress and the atmosphere in the group although earnest is relaxed and can be quite light-hearted on occasions. Meets Tuesdays – Weekly – 10.00 am – 12.00 in East Linton.
The Gaelic group has temporarily suspended meetings to pursue further individual learning opportunities. Anyone with an interest in learning Gaelic is welcome to contact the group.
Concentrating on listening and speaking skills, the group’s aim is to build up confidence in communication. Varied methods are used to increase members’ knowledge of vocabulary and structures. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.00 – 11.30 in Haddington.
The group is a carry on from Beginners’ Italian. We follow various different strands of published material, visual, audio and written, for course content. Some knowledge of Italian vocabulary, and grammatical constructs is required. Emphasis is on developing the ability to communicate in Italian on a trip to Italy. Meets fortnightly, Fridays 10 – 11.30 in members’ homes.
We are a self-help group learning some Latin from the beginning. This might interest you if you’ve never studied it before or if, like me, you have some knowledge of Latin from school but are very rusty. Meets Third Tuesday of the month, 10.45 a.m. – 12.00 noon
This group has progressed and is now reading actual Latin texts, albeit diffidently. See news item for possible new group starting for complete beginners. Meets Mondays 2nd and 4th of each month – 2.00 – 3.30 in Liberty Hall, Haddington.
The aim is to provide members with the basic communication skills for simple conversations in e.g. holiday situations. Good pronunciation and fluency take precedence over grammatical accuracy. New members are welcome, but some previous knowledge of Italian is necessary. We have no teacher, but use CDs and varied passages for translation, with members contributing accounts of their experiences. Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
This group provides members, who should already have a basic grasp of spoken Spanish , the opportunity to practice their conversational skills and extend their vocabulary. New members are welcome. Meets fortnightly, Tuesdays 2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
Each year Bookworms select a reading programme drawn from Fiction – novels & short stories from all periods, and Non-fiction – history, biography, travel, etc. We read and discuss one book a month, members taking it in turn to introduce a book. Meets monthly, except August & December, Tuesdays 10.30 – 12 in members’ homes.
Two books supplied each month by East Lothian Library. One book is selected for reading and discussion and members take it in turn to lead discussions. We meet in members homes on a rota basis. Meets monthly on the third Tuesday 2.30 – 4.00 p.m.
Members read and discuss a wide range of literary novels published mainly, though not exclusively, in the last twenty years. Books are chosen with the aim of stimulating thought and debate as well as entertainment. The group reads and discusses one book a month. Meets monthly, last Tuesdays 2.30 – 4.00, September – May in Pencaitland.
This group has been running for 2 years and our numbers have expanded to a maximum of 11 members. During the autumn we are reading plays by Alan Ayckbourn, Brian Friel, Richard Sheridan and Dylan Thomas. Meets fortnightly, Thursdays, 2.00 – 4.00. The meetings are usually held in a member’s house in Haddington, with some visits to other members’ homes from time to time.
Mind and Body
“Circle Dance fosters a spirit of inner calm, friendship and harmony, as all the dancers move in unison – each dependent on another”; “Circle Dance; music and rhythm, folk dances, exercise, co-ordination, meditation, togetherness”; “Good exercise but low impact”; “Gives me dance steps that allow me to move to familiar songs and to new rhythms”; “Eclectic music reminds us of our holidays abroad”; “I find it therapeutic”; “I go into a mindfulness zone”. Meets weekly, Mondays, 1.30 – 3.00 p.m. in the Alistair Grant Hall at the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
Our group looks at the practices in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, introduced 40 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, to deal with pain relief. The varied techniques are based on Buddhist meditations but are in no way religious; the neuroscience coming out recently shows the benefits of rewiring the brain – increased immunity, decreased tension, even anti-aging! Meets Monday afternoons in the Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar.
A 24 movement form devised for those of us who are not 21 anymore! Chi Kung exercises, gentle repeated movements to stimulate circulation and respiration are part of the session too. There are two different groups: An intermediate group for anyone with some previous experience of Tai Chi. We practise the 24 Step Yang style form and therapeutic Qigong. Meets weekly, Thursdays in the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
The second group practises the long Wu style circular form and requires a knowledge of this style. Meets weekly, Thursdays in the Bridge Centre, Haddington. Note that both theses groups require some experience and are not suitable for beginners.
Having had our inaugural meeting in September 2016, this is still a relatively new group whose aim is to explore and enjoy together ‘classical music’ (excluding opera for which there is already a flourishing group). While the main focus of the group is on music in the more familiar styles of the late 17th to the middle 20th century, it is also in our remit to adventure into the music of earlier and later periods. Meetings consist mostly of listening to CDs or DVDs with introductions and discussions. Group members are encouraged to introduce music of their own choice and to take an active part in programme planning. Like the opera group, our meetings are held in the Pool Room at the Bridge Centre, Haddington, which benefits from a large screen, data projector and state-of-the-art sound system. Meets monthly, except for a break in January, from October – June, at 2.00 on the first Friday of the month in the Pool Room, Bridge Centre, Haddington.
This group plays and sings folk music from Scotland and around the world. If you would like to have some relaxing fun creating music with others on your flute, fiddle, whistle, guitar, concertina, clarsach, bodhran, chanter, etc. or with your voice, (or just come and listen), then phone Robert. Meets second and fourth Thursdays of the month, in 2017 starting 12th October, 2.00 – 4.00 (with tea-break) in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper hall).
The Jazz group is studying the history of this important music, from its roots in the fields and towns of the Southern states of North America, with its early prominence based in New Orleans, up to the present day. It is hoped to cover all aspects from ragtime, the swing era, bebop, the Avant Garde and the improvised music of today. It will pose the question ‘What is Jazz?’ which has been asked ever since the music left New Orleans and will explore the highways and byways en route with interesting diversions and amusements, all with good music and discussion and with enough variety to hopefully satisfy all (musical) tastes. Meets every four weeks, Tuesday afternoons October – April in Spott.
The group enjoys viewing opera on DVD, listening to occasional speakers and attending some live performances. We organise an annual visit to Perth Festival of the Arts to see English Touring Opera perform. We are not elitist, some of us are more knowledgeable than others and we all enjoy exploring this rewarding art form. Our meetings are held in the Pool Room at the Bridge Centre, Haddington, which benefits from a large screen, data projector and state-of-the-art sound system. Meets monthly, September – June, at 1.30 on the third Friday of the month. Our meetings are followed by coffee and discussion.
For moderately competent players of descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders. Ability to read music essential. We play prepared music chosen the previous time, as well as some sight-playing. On occasions we join Group 2, or the Edinburgh U3A groups. Meets weekly, Fridays 3.00 – 5.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
We are a small group of post-beginners, playing descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders. We play a variety of pieces from Early Music to Gershwin. On occasions we join forces with Group One and with U3A Recorder groups from Edinburgh. Meets fortnightly, Fridays 1.00 – 3.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Sciences and Philosophy
There is much confusion in public and political discussions due to a misunderstanding of the biological basis of life. By looking at the underlying biology this group endeavours to distinguish certainty from the unknown and uncertain and thereby gain some new perspectives on matters related to health, the environment and farming, and distinguish where it is good to tread and where it is unwise to meddle. It will question what biological science is about, and marvel yet more at life around us. Meets monthly, 2nd Mondays 2.00 – 4.00 October to June in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
A wide range of methods are used within this group to facilitate discussion, including DVDs, podcasts, books and members introducing topics of interest. Group members have the opportunity to participate in the advance planning of the programme. Meets monthly, last Tuesday 2.00 – 3.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Geology is ‘the science which deals with the physical structure and substance of the earth’. How, when and what are the questions the group is asking. The answers come by way of illustrated talks, videos and guided museum visits in the winter months, but mainly by short field trips in the summer months to places of particular geological interest in and beyond East Lothian. Meets 1st and/or 3rd Tuesdays am and/or pm in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
We offer a programme of talks by visiting speakers on a variety of topics in sciences, medicine and the environment. Visits to places of scientific interest are an occasional feature. Suggestions or contributions from group members are always welcomed for inclusion in our programmes. Meets monthly (September – June) 4th Monday (excl. Dec.) 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Spring and summer events are usually visits to a member’s garden or to a public/private garden or nursery . These are mostly in East Lothian, but can be a bit further afield. Plants, information and questions are exchanged throughout the year using email. Over the winter, we meet less frequently, approximately monthly. We use the sessions to view DVD’s, practical demonstrations, discuss books and have brought in speakers. We aim to share our own knowledge and ideas within the group. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.30 – 12.30 April – September. Winter meetings approx. monthly.
The Lunch Club has been running since 1999. Between 15 and 20 members attend once a month at various venues within East Lothian. Meets monthly on consecutive weekdays in various venues.
Suggestions from group members for museums, galleries and places of interest to visit are listed. Volunteers then take turns to arrange one visit each per year, collecting all the information required and organising a guide to take our group if possible. A programme is arranged for the year. Costs: Entry fees if applicable and travel. Meets monthly, 2nd Thursdays, am and/or pm, February – October.