test groups

Art for Pleasure
 Group Contact: Rowan
 Venue: Leigh Community Centre
 Meets: First Friday each Month 1.30 -3.30pm
 Status: Spaces available. Please contact Rowan     Contact Me

Art for Pleasure is a relaxed friendly meeting for anyone who is interested in coming together to paint and draw using a variety of suitable materials. We improve our skills and knowledge through discussion, books, handouts etc.

Each meeting has a ‘theme’ which members can interpret in their own way.


New members are very welcome
The group is suitable all levels of ability
The ‘themes’ are merely to provide some ideas
Members ideas and input is valued
Please contact me if you need more information or wish to join our group.

Art History
 Group Contact: Val Davies
 Venue: Leigh Community Centre
 Meets: Second Monday of each month 1:30 – 3:00pm
 Status: Spaces available, please contact Val                  Contact Me

The group have a list of artists for each month. Members do some research on the artist they choose and give a brief talk while we look at their paintings on a projector. Some of us attend U3A days at the National Gallery which are very interesting along with visiting the Mall Gallery to see the Portrait Exhibitions. It is a friendly group, none of us having any prior knowledge of the subject.

Bee Walk
Group Contact: Richard Lytheer
Meets: once a month timing tbd
Venue: out in the fresh air
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                         Contact Me
Common Carder Bee

Bumblebees are in decline and conservation efforts  can be supported and enhanced by understanding the populations and distribution of the various species.  The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) has developed a national surveying process which we plan to join.  This will involve a small group undertaking a self-selected monthly walk of a set route and identifying and recording all the bumblebees we see.

We are especially lucky that the Thames Gateway is home to two rare species, the 'brown-banded' and 'shrill' carder bees, both of which can be seen on Two Tree Island.

We'll arrange for members to be given training to help you identify the bees you see.

If you want to be part of this exciting piece of work, have the chance to learn more about bees plus get a little bit of exercise each month or if you just want to learn a little more about what's involved, then please contact Richard using the button above.


Book Group
Group Contact: Mary
Meets: 4th Thursday of each month 10.00 am
Venue: TruLeigh Scrumptious (opposite Leigh Library)
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                 Contact Me

We are a small friendly group and we like to read a variety of books, ranging from classics to biographies to thrillers -- in fact anything goes! We take it in turns to come up with a list of books and decide between us which one we are going to read next, which seems to work well.




Bridge for Beginners
Group Contact: David White                                                                News & Events
Meets: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month 2 - 4 pm
Venue: Private House
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                         Contact Me

Why play Bridge? Well in the words of the novelist W. Somerset Maugham “Bridge is the most entertaining and intelligent card game the wit of man has so far devised”.

As a social game, bridge is unparalleled and a great way to meet new people. Bridge is good for the mind – a mental workout that stimulates both halves of the brain in equal measure. Playing bridge develops both logical and lateral thinking, it helps short and long term memory among many benefits.

At the start of 2018, we were able to get the Bridge for Beginners group underway. Currently there are no spaces in the group but if you are interested in playing this fascinating card game then please register your interest by contacting the group contact and getting your name added to the waiting list. Once we have enough names, plus someone to teach, we’ll start a second Bridge group.

If you already know the game and would be willing to share that knowledge by teaching others how to play then please get in touch.

Canasta 1
Group Contact: Anne
Meets: 1st Thursday each month 7.30 pm
Venue: Private House
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                Contact Me

Leigh Estuary U3A Canasta Group has been going strong since November 2017 and meet at a members home on the first Thursday of the month. We have 12 members and we usually get 8-12 members attending. It is a very friendly group and although we did start with 2 or three beginners and a few who hadn't played for some time, everyone is of a reasonable ability now.

Bearing in mind that usually Canasta is played in fours, we do sometimes have to adapt to three-handed Canasta!

Of course we do have varying rules of Canasta within the group which is interesting but we ask that everyone plays the same as the majority and the people we have taught.

Canasta 2
Group Contact: Duncan Cooper                                        Contact Me
Meets: 1st and 3rd Friday 1.30 pm
Venue: Naval and Military Club, Royal Terrace, Southend
Status: Spaces available. Please contact me on 01702 712805

This group is now up and running and intended for those members who have played Canasta before. Please contact Duncan if you are interested in joining.

Some of the group playing at the Naval & Military Club - July 2019
Canasta for Improvers
Group Contact: Lynne Daughtrey
Meets: 1st and 3rd Monday in each month 2:00 - 4:00pm
Venue: Private House
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                          Contact Me

Already play canasta and looking to improve then contact me using button above to see if spaces.

Church Visits
Group Contact: Anne Owen                    News & Events
Meets: Various Days
Venue: Various
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                                 Contact Me


This group is for people who are interested in church architecture and history and comparative religion. Members share organising the visits to places of worship. The group has visited many Essex churches of a variety of Christian denominations. We have also visited two synagogues, a mosque and a Sikh gurdwara along with Hindu and Buddhist temples.


Our first visit for 2020 has been arranged and we will be visiting St Laurence Church, Eastwood on Wednesday 12th February at 10:30am.  This visit is being organised by Dorothy and Beryl and if you want more details please contact Beryl direct by using this link.

Cinema Films
Group Contact: Pamela Waters                              News & Events
Meets: Various
Venue: Southend and Basildon Cinemas
Status: Spaces Available.  Please contact                Pamela

This group is now up and running and they enjoyed their first cinema outing to see Red Joan at the Odeon, Southend.

Next trip is to see 1917 - During World War I, two British soldiers -- Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake -- receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades.  The group will visit Basildon Cineworld Festival Leisure on Wednesday 15th January to see the 15.30 showing.  Contact Pamela for full info.

If you are interested in watching a film with like minded people then please make contact with Pamela  by using link above.

Classical Music Appreciation
Group Contact: John Hanks
Meets: last Thursday in each month @ 2:00pm
Venue:  private house
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                              Contact Me

This group explores Classical Music together.  The group has restarted now with a new group leader so please contact John using button above if interested in joining.

Classics You Never Read
Group Contact: Kris Mee                                                                             News & Events
Venue:  Private House
Meets: 4th Friday each month - 10.30 am
Spaces: Please register your interest by contacting me                              Contact Me

This group meets at a members home and is currently full.  We take it in turns to choose the book and try to limit ourselves to those written before 1940 excluding War & Peace (too long), Virginia Woolf and James Joyce ('streams of consciousness' too baffling)

For a full list of books already read please click on the "News & Events" button above.
There is no meeting in December and we will be discussing The Queen of Spades by Emile Zola and Diary of a Nobody  by George Weedon Grossmith at our meeting on Friday 24 January 2020.
Future books to be read are:-
Green Dolphin Country by Elizabeth Goudge to be discussed 28/2/2020
Nana by Emile Zola  to be discussed 27/3/2020
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift to be discussed 24/4/2020
So get reading and enjoy.
Thanks Kris
Clay Modelling
Group Contact: Jennifer
Meets: see below
Status:                               Contact Me

Sadly this group will be closing in the late autumn.  If there is anyone willing and able to take on then please contact the Groups Co-ordinator

Group Contact: Lorna Reeve - to email use link below or phone 01702 478102
Meets: By arrangement
Venue: Private House
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                       Contact Me

Computer help is available for those with basic knowledge, and can be on your desktop computer or laptop.
For those members who would like to learn how to use their iPad or tablet, tuition is available when enough members show an interest. Contact me to be put on the waiting list for the next course.

Ravenshead U3A have kindly shared their useful computer guides. Click on the *Computer Help Guides* link here.

Contemporary Novels
Group Contact: Vivien Rosier                                                                      Reading List
Meets: 2nd Wednesday each month 10 - 11.00 am
Venue: Leigh Community Centre
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                              Contact Me

We have lively discussions (very loosely based on some discussion questions/issues that I email before the meeting). We usually get between 8 and 12 people attending. People often do a bit of research on issues that have interested the group so there is a bit of information sharing that goes on between sessions.

I hope people are enjoying themselves - I know I am - lovely group and very interesting discussions (and lots of laughs!)

So far this year, the Contemporary Novels group have read:

January - 'Arthur and George' by Julian Barnes
February - 'Where My Heart Used to Beat' by Sebastian Faulks
March - 'The Little Red Chairs' by Edna O'Brien
April - 'Hagseed' by Margaret Atwood
May - 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver
June - 'Notes from an Exhibition' by Patrick Gale
July - 'The Stranger's Child' by Alan Hollinghurst
August - 'Deaf Sentence' by David Lodge

To see the books that we have read since we started, please see the Reading List in link above.

Country Walks
Group Contact: Dave Rixon                                                    News & Events
Meets: Various days
Venue: Variable venues
Status: Spaces available                                                                  Contact Me

We have decided to change our group name from vigorous walking to Country Walks as this better reflects what we do.

Apart from the name change everything else remains the same.

Click on News & Events above for details of our walks.

If you are interested please contact Dave using the button above.

Group Contacts: Amanda Archard and Pat Lytheer                                   News & Events
Meets: 2nd Tuesday each Month 2 - 4 pm
Venue: Leigh Community Centre
Status: Please register your interest by contacting us                     Contact Us

The Craft Group is a very friendly, informal group which welcomes members with an interest in any craft, whatever their level of ability.

In keeping with the spirit of the U3A, we are all willing to share our skills with each other. Although we generally work on our own individual projects, which include knitting, crochet, quilting, card making, embroidery etc, we also, on occasion, try a new skill as a group, led by one of our own members. Member-led sessions to date have covered Chicken Scratch, Quilting, Iris Folding, Gift bags and boxes.

We meet at Leigh Community Centre, from 2 - 4 pm on the second Tuesday of the month. To enjoy a sociable afternoon and maybe feel inspired to try a new skill, please contact the Group Organisers via  the link above.

Creative Writing 1
Group Contact: Lynda                                                                                          Examples
Meets: 1st Friday each Month 2.30 - 4.30 pm
Venue: Members' Homes
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                                          Contact Me

Creative Writing for all abilities. Using memory and imagination and encouraging each other with our writing. For examples of our work click link above.

Please contact Lynda for details.

Creative Writing 2
Group Contact: Jackie Jackson-Smith
Meets:1st Monday each month 2.00 - 4 pm
Venue: Leigh Community Centre, Room 8
Status: Welcoming new members, please contact Jackie                           Contact Me

A new Creative Writing group welcoming beginner writers as well as writers with more experience. Sessions will feature short story writing, autobiography and poetry. Optional homework and additional resources provided and your suggestions for writing topics always welcome!

Cribbage and other Card Games
Group Contact: tba
Meets: 2nd & 4th Friday of the month 1:30 - 3:30pm
Venue: Naval & Military Club, Royal Terrace, Southend
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                            Contact Me

This group needs someone to take it forward, if interested and willing to help please contact the groups co-ordinator.


NB: Days/times/location are not set in stone and can be changed to suit members if necessary.

Cryptic Crosswords
Group Contact: Pat Wickham
Meets: 3rd Monday each month 3 - 4 pm
Venue: Various, see below
Status: Spaces available, please get in touch with the Group Contact                 Contact Me

The Cryptic Crossword group aims to support members to improve their skills at completing Cryptic Crossword clues (i.e. those which are not just straight definitions).
Both those with existing skills and those who want to learn how to do crosswords of this type are welcome to join the group.

Group members bring along crosswords they are working on and blank crossword grids are provided for those who are beginning to learn.

More experienced members of the group support new learners.

We also have general discussion on the different types of clues and how they can be solved
Members are invited to nominate a Clue of the Month which they have found particularly clever, challenging or amusing!

The venue for the meetings is generally at cafes in the Leigh area. At present it is at the TruLeigh Scrumptious, (opposite Leigh Library), Broadway West.

Your Group Contact will e-mail members each month to confirm the meeting date and venue.

Please check with Pat before attending.

Current Affairs
Group Contact:
Meets: 2nd Monday afternoon in the month
Venue: Private house
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                 Contact Me

The group consists of 14 members and are asked that, if possible, everyone bring an article from the media or write out a subject that they would like discussed and these are put into a bag and pulled out at random. We do not discuss religion or politics (very wise) but the topics are varied and can be anything from space travel, state/private education, the pros and cons of medical science etc. and of course we also have light hearted topics such as "talking is the best way to beat winter blues" (no problem for us) or life begins at 60 not 40 (very encouraging). Each meeting is different so it is not possible to be specific on the topics but the most important thing is that obviously everyone has their own ideas but there is never any bad feeling however diverse opinions maybe.

We end with tea and biscuits and the satisfaction that we have put the world to rights - leaving as the same friendly group that arrived.

Current Affairs & General Discussion
Group Contact: Barry Freshwater
Meets: 3rd Monday of the month 10.00 - 12.00
Venue: Leigh Community Centre
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                            Contact Me

A friendly group which encourages members to talk about any subjects that interest them. This creates added stimulus and variety in other areas besides our news reviews.

We are pretty full right now but please let me know if you are wanting to join us and I'll let you know once a space is available.

Days Out by Coach
Group Contact: Moira Sweet 01702 710337                                                News & Events
Meets: Various Days
Venue: Various
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                               Contact Me

The title says it all!

The group will enjoy bi-monthly(ish) visits to interesting venues using scheduled coach trips from local coach companies. Destinations will be within approximately two hours journey time.

I will be using Cooks Coaches for transport on all excursions, all their vehicles are air conditioned with a toilet. The pick-up points will be Chalkwell, Leigh Elms and Thames Drive, although if sufficient demand for other pick-ups these could be added.

I will also be using two companies with guides, Greatdays (www.greatdays.co.uk) and City and Village Tours (www.cityandvillagetours.com). Both companies have very good websites, so do take a look.

Please note: As of the March 2020 trip, I am changing payment arrangements.  I will be taking a non-refundable deposit of £5 per person at the time of booking, with the balance being due about six weeks before departure.  I will also limit each trip to a maximum of 40 people, and I will only do about six trips a year

UPCOMING TRIPS (please click on trip name for more details when available)

Wednesday 12th February 2020 - A Brief History of Jazz
Thursday 12th March 2020 - VERNACULAR SPECTACULAR
Thursday 7th July - Sutton Hoo and Woodbridge - details to follow
Thursday 10th September - Beach Huts and Barnacles - details to follow
Dessert First Lunch Group
Group Contact: Trevor Matthews
Meets: Various on a Sunday
Venue: Various
Status:  Please contact Trevor if interested                                      Contact Me

This second Sunday Lunch group got off to a start with lunch at the Southchurch Park Dining Rooms.  Some wonderful home cooking that was enjoyed by everyone.  Plans for 2020 were also discussed and organised.

This group does exactly what it says so if you want to enjoy lunch on a Sunday along with friends then please contact Trevor who will keep you informed of where and when.

Discovering Essex
Group Contacts : Richard Lytheer                                                                           News & Events
Meets: Various
Venue: Out and about
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                                                Contact Us
Saffron Walden: The Youth Hostel -- an old maltings.

Discovering Essex does what it says on the tin. We are a group keen to learn about the people and places of our County by visiting or, very occasionally, having a speaker. Essex, despite its reputation, is rich in history from the dawn-of-time right up until yesterday and we intend to discover some of it.

One month there might be a guided tour of a historical building, on another, a trip on an ancient vessel or we might find ourselves watching someone practising an ancient Essex skill or craft.

We all take turns suggesting and organising an event of interest which means there is something for everyone and we all enjoy ourselves whilst continuing to feed our brains a little  (and usually, satisfying our bodies too!).

See our newsfeed for what we've done in 2019.....





East London
 Group Contact: John Walters                                                                                 News & Events
 Meets: 1st Tuesday of the month 2.00 – 3.45 pm
 Venue: Leigh Community Centre
 Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                                           Contact Me

Members of the group are now organising the sessions. Our objectives are explore and discuss people and their occupations, history events and locations that make up the area East of London. We do not restrict ourselves by looking at London’s East End only but will be exploring South East and North East districts as well as London’s sprawl into Essex.

Family History
Group Contact: Derek Murphy tel 01702-556680
 Meets: 3rd Tuesday each month 10 – 12 noon
 Venue: Leigh Community Centre
 Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                           Contact Me

This group is for everyone who is interested in family history matters in all its many facets. It is not solely for research into ancestry but covers any matter which is related, however loosely, to family history generally.

If you have a family history matter/mystery that you would like the group to research for you please get in touch with the group contact mentioned above. Derek will be able to indicate what may be possible and talk to you about what information you already have or need to find to enable the research to commence.

Fabulous Fashions
Group Contact: Heather Tetchner
Meets: Varies
Venue: Private House and out and about
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                                        Contact Me

A new group that has got off to a flying start.  If interested in finding our more then please contact Heather using link above.

  • Saturday 29th Feb - Kimono Exhibition is on at the V&A plus Fashion in Focus Tour
  • Jan / Feb Mary Quant at the V&A Museum date to be confirmed
  • April ‘Out of the Blue’: 50 Years of Designer Guild £8.80 – date to be confirmed, but it will be a Wednesday 8th, 15th, 22nd or 29th.
  • 10th June meeting at Jenny’s house.  Contact me for address.
Group Contacts: Mary and Ruth                                                                       News & Events
Meets: 4th Tuesday each month, alternate months we go on a fashion adventure
Venue: Private House
Status: Please discuss with the Group Contacts                                            Contact Us

Fashion Matters. To the economy, to society and to each of us personally. Faster than anything else, what we wear tells the story of who we are - or who we want to be. Fashion is the most immediate and intimate form of self-expression.

Please click on "News & Events" button above for a write up and pictures on events we have had so far.

Our latest Winter/Spring 2019/2020 Programme can also be found on the "News & Events" button.

Fashion & Fabrics
Group Contacts: Joan Murphy and Linda Butler                 News & Events
Meets: 4th Friday of the month 2.30 pm
Venue: A member's home and alternate 'awaydays'
Status: Full but please register your interest.               Contact Us

Fashion comes quite high on the list of interests of lots of women, with this in mind we could see the need for another group dedicated to inspiring and furthering our knowledge. Meetings are taking place on the 4th Friday of every month. Alternate months 'AT HOME', an hostess from the group members at 2.30 pm to discuss future events. The other alternate months we will endeavour to have an' AWAYDAY' to anything fashion related that catches our eye.

This promises to be a valuable and informative time for us which will hopefully enable us all to make the most of ourselves and not fall into the trap of 'looking old'.

Folk Dancing
Group Contact: tba
Meets: tba
Venue: tba
Status: ON HOLD

This group had its last meeting on Monday 29th July 2019

If you would like to see the group continue then we need someone to take over the role of Group Leader/Contact.  Please get in touch with our Groups Co-ordinator if you can help and keep this group running.


French Conversation
Group Contact: Andy Archard
Meets: 2nd and 4th Friday in the month 3 - 4 pm
Venue: Private House
Status: Please register your interest by contacting me                         Contact Me

Learn a second language like you always promised yourself you would.

Gilbert & Sullivan
Group Contact: John Wickham                                                                     News & Events
Meets: 3rd Tuesday of the month 2 - 4 pm
Venue: Leigh Community Centre
Status: Spaces available. Please contact me                                                Contact Me

The group aims to enhance our knowledge of the works of this theatrical duo by talking about one of their operettas and where possible play a DVD or YouTube performance at each meeting. There may also be outings to performances of their work.



Gilbert & Sullivan Group are meeting Tuesday 17th September at 2.00 pm at Leigh Community Centre. Fancy escaping for an afternoon. We will be watching a DVD recording of The Sorcerer. Sit back and enjoy Sullivan's sparkling music and Gilbert's marvellous wit and cutting humour.

The villagers of Ploverleigh are preparing to celebrate the betrothal of Alexis Pointdextre, the son of the local baronet, and the blue-blooded Aline Sangazure Alexis reveals to his fiancée his plans that love should unite all classes and ranks. He has invited a representative, John Wellington Wells from a respectable London firm of sorcerers to Ploverleigh. Aline has misgivings about hiring a real sorcerer. Nevertheless, Alexis instructs Wells to prepare a batch of love potion, sufficient to affect the entire village, except that it must have no effect on married people. The village gathers for the wedding feast and the potion is added to a teapot. All of the villagers, save Alexis, Aline and Wells, drink it and, after experiencing some hallucinations, they fall unconscious. What can possibly go wrong!

Guitar Group
Group Contact: David Kay                                                                        News & Events
Meets: 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of the month 9:30am - 12:00 noon
Venue: St Peter's Church Hall, Eastbourne Grove, SS0 0QF
Status: Spaces available. Please contact me                                                                      Contact Me

The group's initial meeting was on the 17th October 2019 and is being well supported.

The group mainly comprises members who have no previous experience of the guitar although a few have been playing for many years.

The intention is to gradually learn the basics of playing melodies and simple chords to reach a reasonable standard and have fun doing it. There are a few spaces available so, if you are interested, please contact David using the above "contact me" link for further details.

Jazz Appreciation
Group Contacts: Liz and Neil Jaggers 01702 710056                                     News & Events
Meets: 2nd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month 7.30 - 10.30 pm
Venue: Private house
Status: Please register your interest by contacting us                                   Contact Us

This is one group, but divided into two consecutive sessions, sharing the same programme. This means we can listen - and (hopefully)- learn of the history and development of Jazz from its origins to the present day in the comfort of our home. The programme is not chronological, but an eclectic mix to appeal to all tastes.
No live music, but we would typically have a mixture of DVDs, CDs and LPs.

The aim is for an enjoyable and sociable evening which runs from 7.30 until 10.00 - 10.30 pm with a halfway interval for refreshments and chat.