Badminton GroupActive Walking Group
Badminton GroupActive Walking Group

Note that information about interest groups is changeable.

Interest groups run from September until May each year, coordinated by a group leader. Meetings may take place in members’ homes or in public halls.

New groups are created in response to requests and the availability of a group leader and venue. If you have an idea for a new group, you can get in touch with the Groups Coordinators (see the Contact Us page).

Prospective members can view an outline interest group programme to get a rough idea of the programme (no login required).

FVu3a members can view the detailed interest group programme and can also view the group leader guidelines (login required).

Current groups are listed below, but note that this is an evolving list. Where there are several groups on the same topic, the name of the group is shown in bold. Click on the name of a group to expand or contract its description (where available).

  • Afternoon Tea
    We meet four times a year in various venues within the Forth Valley to socialise over a lovely afternoon tea. All FVu3a members are welcome to join us at any event so no need to join the group.

  • And Sew Forth (Crafts)
    We are a very sociable group where participants bring their own projects and crafts (knitting, crochet, tapestry) to work on in group meetings.

  • Badminton
    We aim to play badminton and have fun. The group is for all ability levels.

  • Blethercraft (Crochet/Lap Crafts)
    To follow.

  • Board Gaming
    The aim is to have fun learning and playing a variety of interesting board games. These typically use a board or are built up from tiles. The games will appeal to a wide range of adult players and will involve some strategy and thinking. Typically a game will last about an hour. We do not normally play well-known games or ones largely relying on chance.

  • Books
    We cover both fiction and non-fiction books as suggested by members. The books can be bestsellers, classics or ones that have come to our notice in other ways.

  • Bridge
    Bridge is proven to sharpen the mind and improve memory. We play social contract bridge in an enjoyable atmosphere.

  • Celtic Studies
    We are following a timeline from the Iron Age to the Synod of Whitby. We dip into Celtic seasonal festivals and customs, and have fun spotting Celtic influences. We try simple skills such as writing in Ogham, drawing Celtic knots and weaving.

  • Chess (Online)
    The national chess network encourages local u3a chess groups who play face-to-face and online. All chess abilities are catered for. We especially welcome members who have just started playing chess.

  • Clash of Clans (Gaming)
    Download the app for your tablet or smartphone and play with other u3a members in a safe, secure and non-threatening environment. Some members of the Clan play live and meet up for coffee and a chat. We can help you to get started.

  • Coffee Club (Alloa)
    Informally known as ‘Clacks Chat’, we are a very sociable group who meet every Saturday morning in the Clackmannanshire area. This is a valuable social gathering for members in the eastern part of FVu3a. Attendance is informal, with people staying for a whole session or just part of it. This allows everyone to fit in coffee, tea and a chat.

  • Coffee Club (Dunblane)
    We meet weekly and informally in Dunblane for coffee, tea and a chat.

  • Coffee Club (Stirling)
    We meet regularly in Stirling for coffee, tea and a chat.

  • Crafting for Fun
    The group meets to try out a range of different crafts such as mosaic, embroidery, card making, clay modelling and jewellery making.

  • Creative Writing
    We have warm-up exercises to increase our use of adjectives, etc. Then we read out our stories (500 words) to each other. This is followed by discussion and choosing the next writing title.

  • Cross Stitch
    Everyone brings along their own project, with guidance being given to beginners. The more experienced people can share their knowledge. We have coffee, tea, biscuits and plenty of great conversation.

  • Cultural Activities in Care Homes
    The CACH project offers music performances, reminiscence sessions and life-story work in local care homes for older people. We aim to provide stimulating activities, broadening the range of cultural and leisure opportunities available to older people. We include care home residents in meaningful activities, promoting learning among younger and older generations. We welcome new members who can help with these activities or with the general running of the project. See the separate web page for more information.

  • Culture Vultures
    We are a group with similar interests that attend activities such as the theatre, concerts, etc. with like-minded companions. We regularly attend streamed and live performances. We sometimes combine these with a meal. We also go to museums and special exhibitions.

  • Current Affairs
    Group members bring along subjects to discuss from newspaper clippings or TV programmes seen over the previous two weeks. We abide by the principles for a good discussion, and are developing new procedures to better serve members with hearing difficulties.

  • Dancing
    We use WhatsApp to post dance events group members may wish to attend locally. We meet at various venues on various dates to dance the night (or afternoon) away.

  • Family History
    We meet monthly over coffee to share our researches into our genealogy, combining our knowledge and information.

  • Film Buffs
    We get together to go to the cinema or meet in members’ homes to enjoy a film and snacks.

  • French Conversation
    We are a group of enthusiasts with an interest in French language and culture. Meetings are informal and friendly, and we are always pleased to welcome new members. Members of the group organise a wide variety of activities in French that are fun and informative. The level is intermediate, and there is no formal instruction. Besides the main programme, there are conversation sessions for those who prefer something informal. See the separate web page for more information.

  • Gaelic
    This is a small group of people who maybe have some Gaelic or would like to pursue an interest in Gaelic.

  • Garden Visits
    Members of this informal group share an affection for gardens and from time to time arrange to meet up at a venue of particular interest. Anyone can suggest suitable visits, which are advertised in the Monthly Update.

  • Gardening
    Our monthly meetings are enjoyable and varied. The format is informal and sessions are planned month by month. We learn from each other and share ideas as well as plants and produce.

  • German (Intermediate/Advanced)
    We meet at the Smith Art Gallery for conversation in German.

  • Guitar (Beginners)
    We meet fortnightly to play easy guitar music suitable for beginners.

  • Guitar (Playing for Fun)
    Members should have a basic knowledge of guitar playing, and should know some chords and strum patterns. Members should ideally read ‘TAB’, with no need to read musical notation. We have beginner sessions for those without these prerequisites.

  • History (Scottish)
    We have sessions on all aspects and periods of prehistory and history, with particular reference to Scotland. Topics are chosen and presented by group members.

  • Italian (Improvers)
    Being an intermediate group, we concentrate on speaking and writing in casual mode. We each keep a file, divided into three sections, that covers greetings, grammar and other topics.

  • Jigsaw Library
    This is not the usual kind of group. We collect a variety of jigsaw with varied themes and sizes. There are no group meetings. Instead, members can request a loan as required. See the evolving list of jigsaws (login required).

  • Karate
    Karate can be practised at any age as long as a person is relatively healthy. Older people may not be as strong, fast or flexible as someone in their 20s. However, they can still practise karate at their own pace and derive great physical and emotional benefit. Karate training builds strength, balance, flexibility, endurance and improved cardio performance. It also builds self confidence and self esteem and has been shown to improve cognitive ability.

  • Languages Online
    Anyone in the u3a language groups can provide text in the language of their choice to the Languages Online leader. In return they will receive suggested corrections for their text.

  • Libretti (Opera Appreciation)
    We research opera librettists and how they worked with composers. We read through the libretto in the target language while listening to the main opera arias.

  • Looking at Art
    Our aim is to develop an appreciation for art through meetings in members’ homes plus visits to art galleries and similar places of interest. The art includes paintings, sculpture and films (where appropriate).

  • Lunch Club
    Every month, we have lunch in a restaurant in the Forth Valley area.

  • Mahjong
    Mahjong is a traditional Chinese game that is enjoyable and not too serious. We play games informally in pleasant company.

  • Mindfulness (Experienced)
    Group members have learned mindfulness in the past and now have regular personal practice. We meet fortnightly to practice mindfulness together and to discuss bringing mindfulness into daily life.

  • Painting (Art)
    We are very sociable, aiming to do painting at all levels of ability. You do not have to be a brilliant artist. Drawing and painting can be very relaxing. There is no pressure and it is very therapeutic. We are a small friendly group, all at different levels, who help and encourage each other.

  • Painting (Basics in Art)
    This is a tutor-led course covering basic drawing, line and tone with an introduction to watercolour techniques. All materials are provided initially.

  • Philosophy (Be A Philosopher)
    We are a group of enthusiasts with an interest in philosophical questions. The format is flexible, but basically alternates between historical philosophical topics and lively philosophical discussions as suggested and led by members.

  • Poetry Appreciation
    We read and discuss poetry, either a specific poet or a theme. Our range covers poetry from the 14th century to the present day.

  • Pool
    We welcome anyone who would like to join us for a game of Pool, some fun and friendly banter, and getting to know each other in a friendly atmosphere.

  • Portuguese (Beginners/Intermediate)
    Our main aim is to speak Portuguese and not worry about making mistakes. We each keep a file, divided into three sections, that covers greetings, grammar and other topics.

  • Quintessentials
    We discuss a diverse range of topics that shed light on the human condition. Each meeting is led by a member who has researched the topic. Religion and politics are not out of bounds, so at times we have to show sensitivity and ‘disagree well’.

  • Quizzing for Fun
    We organise light-hearted quiz sessions where individuals contribute ten questions that are answered by small groups of people. The atmosphere is not competitive and we aim to have plenty of laughs.

  • Science Matters
    We discuss scientific topics and try to make some sense of them. Each meeting is led by a group member on an issue of their choice.

  • Scrabble
    Participation is open to anyone who enjoys a game of Scrabble among friends. Most meetings are in members’ homes.

  • Short Story Appreciation
    Each meeting discusses two short stories that we have read during the previous fortnight. The stories are taken from classic collections by a wide range of authors and are chosen by the group leader.

  • Singing for Fun
    We aim to be informal, covering songs of all varieties that are sung to a recorded accompaniment. We have a range of talent, so the ability to sing in tune is not really required! We cover traditional music from Scotland and beyond, musicals and songs requested by group members.

  • Spanish (Intermediate/Advanced)
    We cover greetings, discussion topics and grammar with the aim of promoting general conversation in Spanish.

  • Story Time (Reading to Children)
    We read stories to the enthusiastic toddlers at Wellie Tots in the Dunblane Centre.

  • Table Tennis
    We have sociable play, mostly in mixed doubles.

  • Tai Chi
    Tai Chi focuses on the body as a whole and uses slow, graceful movements combined with mental concentration and relaxed breathing. It is performed slowly and with minimum use of physical strength. No special clothes or footwear are needed. Tai Chi can bring mental, physical and energetic benefits. It achieves a natural state of relaxation, rejuvenates the body and harmonises the mind.

  • Technology Help
    This is not the usual kind of group. Anyone can request help on technology-related matters such as getting photos from a camera onto a PC, setting up a smart TV, or using a microwave oven. There are no group meetings. Instead, individuals ask for one-on-one help as required.

  • Travellers' Tales
    We usually have a presentation by one or two group members about their travels in the UK or abroad. The people giving the talk often host the meeting and provide the refreshments (possibly from the area being discussed). Talks can be illustrated by photos or videos displayed on a screen. However, a selection of photos and objects can just be passed around. This allows us to learn a lot about other countries in an informal setting with opportunities to socialise.

  • Trees for Life Grove
    This project aims at supporting a rewilding project located in the Highlands of Scotland. By supporting this initiative we aim to positively impact climate change as well as helping re-establish a revitalised wild forest right here in Scotland.

  • Walking (Active)
    Our walks are usually 4-5 hours in duration and over a variety of terrain. A typical walk might be a long flat forest walk, or a hill walk in the Ochils or Trossachs. We don’t overreach ourselves, especially in winter.

  • Walking (Easy)
    This group does flat-route walks in good weather of 3 to 4 miles, not strenuous ones. We aim to finish off at a pub/eating place!

  • Walking (Strollers)
    We walk for no more than 30-40 minutes on good, fairly flat surfaces. All walks are followed by coffee and a chat.

  • Where angels fear to tread (Bespoke Visits)
    The group organises visits to a wide range of places beyond the usual. This includes “behind the scenes” tours and places not normally open to the public.

  • Wine Tasting
    This is a group for those who would like to widen their experience of wine in good company. We meet in different member’s house, where the host provides a small selection of wines as well as a few snacks.

  • Wood Carving
    We hand-carve wood using knives as a creative and satisfying pastime with a little dexterity needed. At the end of the day a hand-carved wood project has been created.