Group Timetable

Click on the link for each group for more details. Our group leaders will be happy to answer all your questions at enrolment on Saturday 11th September. Some groups will be limited for space and we will enrol members on a first come first served basis on the day. If you are unable to attend, please be sure to complete your enrolment form online and indicate which groups you would like to join.

MondayTap Dancing: Monday 11 – 12.
Gavinton Village Hall from 20 September

Walking Netball: Weekly 10 – 11 from 13 September. Volunteer Hall
Opera Appreciation: Monthly on Mondays, 2:00 – 4:00. Volunteer Hall from18 October
Middle East Book Club:
Monthly 2 – 4 from 1 November. Home based
TuesdayLandscapes, rocks & fossils: introduction to geology: 1st Tuesday, 10 – 12  Whitsome Ark from 5 OctoberLatin and Classical Studies: 1st and 3rd Tuesday, 2 – 4 Southfield Centre from 21 September
Walking: 1st Tuesday.
Meet in Duns Square at 1pm from 2 November
WednesdayWildlife and Ecology 2nd and 4th Wednesday,
10 – 12, 2nd Wednesday at Southfield Centre* from 13 October. 4th Wednesday site visits.
Craft and Chat: 1st Wednesday, 2 – 4 from 6 October
Southfield Centre
Creative Crafting: 3rd Wednesday 2 – 4
Southfield Centre
Local History: 4th Wednesday 2 – 4 Southfield Centre* from 22 September
Carpet Bowls: 2nd Wednesday 7-9. White Swan Hotel from 13 October
Mahjong: alternate Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30. Home Based. Next meeting 1st December
ThursdayCountry Dancing: 9:30 -11:00
Gavinton Village Hall
From 16 September
Italian for Improvers: Weekly 4 – 5.30 Volunteer Hall from 23 September
Italian for Beginners: Fortnightly 2 – 3:30 Southfield from 7 October
French conversation: 1st and 3rd Thursdays 2 – 3:30 Home based from 7 October
Improvers Bridge: Every Thursday 2:30 – 4:30 Turnbull Court from 7 October
Pickleball: 6-7pm BHS Sports Hall
FridayMiddle East Studies: Alternate Fridays,
10 – 12. Gavinton Village Hall/Zoom from 22 October
Poetry Circle: 4th Friday from 24th September. 3.30 – 5, on Zoom until February and then Southfields
Making Music: 1st and 3rd Fridays. 2-4 from 17 September. Home based.
Crime Book Group: 2nd Friday,
2 – 4 Volunteer Hall from 8 October
Themed Book Group: 3rd Friday,
2 – 4 Home based from 17 September

Our interest groups are run by u3a members, for members. There are no entry requirements other than a willingness to learn with others. Members can join as many groups as they like. Non-members are welcome but will be invited to join the u3a after their second session. Please note that, in order to keep subs low for everyone, some groups will ask members to contribute to the cost of hall hire (no more than £1 per session).

Everyone has retained their enthusiasm for the next u3a year and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that “contact” groups such as dancing and groups that rely on being together, such as Classical Music Appreciation, can resume normal service, which is brilliant. Understandably, some groups may wish to continue to meet on Zoom until levels of confidence are higher, or even as a way to continue through the winter. Group leaders will have more details at enrolment.

We love it when we’re approached with ideas for new groups, especially when members offer to lead them. Let us know if you have a particular subject you would like to study.

Download the full group list here:

New groups starting this season

Pickleball: Our group leader has been playing Pickleball with a group of friends at Whitsome Ark for a number of months now. Played with a light ball over a low net, the game is a very accessible cross between tennis and badminton. The link below is to the web site for Pickleball Scotland and explains how it is played.  There is minimal equipment needed.

Group Leader: Pat Harrower

Meeting time: Weekly, Thursday, 6 – 7 pm

Carpet Bowls: Carpet bowls began around 30 years ago as a way of being able to play indoors but in a smaller space. It allows bowls to be played regardless of the weather and without requiring a large indoor green. The object of the game is the same as for lawn bowls: to get your bowl closer to the jack than your opponent’s. Teams can be any size up to 4 players, so that singles and doubles matches can be played, as well as teams of 3 or 4. It is a very accessible game, suitable for all levels of fitness and ability.

Group Leader:

Meeting time: 2nd Wednesday, 7 – 9 pm

Making Music: This group is for anyone who, either would like to learn a musical instrument but either had not practised for years, or was totally new to playing. There is no need for prior knowledge or skill. The main aim of the group is to learn the basic skills – and have a lot of fun. Instruments are mainly guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer and autoharp. Help with learning basic music theory and sight-reading as required.

Chamber Music: for experienced wind and string players.

Group Leader: Kit Hobkirk

Meeting time: Various, arranged by players

Ceilidh and Country Dancing: This is a friendly group who meet to learn easy Scottish dances.  No partners are needed, as we all change partners for each dance. After a gentle warm-up we dance to very good Scottish bands on CD for an hour, and finish with a sociable cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit.

As this is a contact activity (we give hands to partners) it would be sensible if all members had had two doses of the vaccine, and used hand-sanitiser between dances.  The wearing of masks while dancing is not compulsory, although we will all keep to the guidance available at the time, which at the moment advises the use of masks while entering and leaving, and while chatting indoors.

Group Leader: Rhona Burchick

Meeting time: Weekly, Thursday, 9.30 – 11.00 am

Tap dancing: Research has suggested that as you get older you should attempt to learn one new skill each year. Could that be tap dancing? Tap dancing is good for fitness, balance and co-ordination. Learning simple routines is good for memory. Keep fit, have fun and enjoy!

Group Leader: Dorothy Dickinson

Meeting time: Weekly, Mondays, 11.00 – 12.00

Classical Music Appreciation: It is with great sadness that we must report that our Group Leader, Donald Stokes, passed away in the early hours of 16th November. This group is now closed.

French Conversation: The group will listen to audible books as well as picking interesting topics and straight forward everyday conversations. We don’t “Do” grammar! and try very hard to expand vocabulary, all with a sense of fun and humour.

Group Leader:

Meeting time: 1st & 3rd Thursday, 2 – 3.30 pm

Walking Group: These walks will be approx 6 – 7 miles at a good pace, over some rough ground and usually with a hill.  Car-sharing (wearing face coverings) to the start of each walk. Please feel welcome to join our friendly walking group. Meet in Duns Square at the Market Cross at 1pm on the 1st Tuesday of each month.

Group Leader: Myra Watson

Meeting time: 1st Tuesday, 1 pm

Bridge: This group will meet every Thursday at Turnbull Court in Duns. An opportunity for experienced players to enjoy Bridge. This is not a session for absolute beginners.

Group Leader: Gwen Cole

Meeting time: Weekly, Thursdays, 2.30 – 4.30pm

Crime Fiction Reading Group: “Crime fiction is my favourite book genre because it’s so varied, including noir, cosy, police procedural, historical, courtroom and psychological crime novels, and more” – Janet O’Kane, Group Leader. The group will offer members the chance to discover new authors to read, perhaps ones they may not have tried on their own, and chat with others about the books.

Group members will decide at the first meeting on the ‘theme’ to guide our reading. Before everything stopped for lockdown, we were reading and discussing books by authors representing different decades of the 20th century. The group may want to return to this, or perhaps consider other themes, such as reading crime fiction from around the world.

Group Leader: Janet O’Kane

Meeting time: 2nd Friday, 2 – 4 pm

Themed Book Group: Each year the Themed Book Group focuses on novels by authors who all have something in common. This year we are exploring works by female Scottish authors, as diverse as Gail Honeyman, Kirstin Innes, Kirsty Wark, Ali Smith, Sara Sheridan, Helen Sedgwick, A L Kennedy, Sally Magnusson, Muriel Spark and many others. From a prepared long list the group will select up to 10 titles to read and discuss throughout the year.  We always have lively chats, rarely entirely agree about a book and thoroughly enjoy debating the differences in our opinions. Come along and prepare to be surprised by what you find you actually enjoy!

Group Leader: Carol Pease

Meeting time: 3rd Friday, 2 – 4 pm.

Landscapes, Rocks and Fossils, an Introduction to Geology: By looking at landscapes, rocks and fossils, we shall interpret past environments from deserts, to tropical seas and frozen plains. We will explore deep time and put the evolution of life and the development of our landscapes into context. We shall explore the exciting journey, over 400 million years, of the British Isles from south of the Equator to our current latitude.

Group Leader: Elizabeth Devon

Meeting time: 1st Tuesday, 10.00 – 12.00.

Local History: The Local History Group will have a monthly theme which will provide people with an insight into life and work in Berwickshire. We will encourage discussion and conversation to bring to life the history of the area and share memories, stories and information.  It is aimed at both newcomers to the area and those whose families have lived in Berwickshire for generations.  It will focus on story telling rather than lectures.

Some possible topics are:

  • The Covenanters
  • Stories of life in the Lammermuirs
  • The Berwickshire poets
  • The great Borders flood of 1948
  • Castles and Historic Houses

Group Leader: Anne McNeil

Meeting time: 4th Wednesday, 2 – 4 pm

Latin and Classical Studies: Stories from the ancient world addressing universal themes of love, jealousy, anger, ambition and deceit are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Revisit the Latin of your school days or maybe it’s something you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity. We will follow a structured course looking at Latin grammar and trying our hand at simple translations. Beginners, Improvers or just generally interested, come along and give it a try!

Help keep Latin alive!

Group Leader: Dorothy Dickinson

Meeting time: 1st and 3rd Tuesday, 2 – 4 pm.

Wildlife and Ecology: A meeting of wildlife enthusiasts to discuss and investigate the wildlife and associated issues. Indoor meetings will be a presentation and discussion. Outdoor meetings will visit some of the interesting sites in our area.  All outdoor meetings subject to cancellation in bad weather. No meetings will be held in December, except for a social get together at a suitable venue.

Group Leader: Peter Rowberry

Meeting times: 2nd Wednesday, 10.00-12.00 and 4th Wednesday, site visit.

How to enrol

On our Membership page, you will find a link to download an enrolment form and timetable for 2020/21. Just tick to indicate the groups you are interested in, return both pages to us, and we will contact you.

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