Miscellaneous Help

Sidcup and District U3A
Computer Information


The Third Age Trust has arranged special deals for U3A members who want to buy computer equipment. Dell Computers offer a better-than-usual deal - including an increased warranty. Contact Linda Kavanagh 0844 444 5254.

When you make contact with any of these companies please say that you are a U3A member. Also, please contact us at The National Office to let us know how you get on as this will help us secure even better deals in the future.


The Trust can get software with an educational discount, so check with The National Office before purchasing programmes or upgrades.

U3A Online courses

U3A Online courses are short courses specially designed for older people, and are available through a partnership between the Third Age Trust and the U3A Online Inc. which is based in Australia.

These are courses for which no entry qualifications are required. They offer no credit upon completion and are designed purely for personal interest and enjoyment. They have been written by volunteers who are experienced tutors or course leaders in their fields. These courses are aimed at U3A members, ex-U3A members who are no longer able to attend a U3A, and those unable to access conventional courses for one reason or another (restricted mobility, disability, for example). Further details are available from The Third Age Trust’s website.

Help with computers

The U3A has published an excellent small book entitled “Computer Basics for Seniors” (a beginner’s introduction to computers and the internet). It is intended to help near beginners acquire basic computer skills, particularly in word processing, e-mailing and the internet. The book contains a CD-ROM which can be used as an alternative to the book.

The book is available from the U3A (020 8466 6139) at a very reasonable price of £6.00 including postage.

More computing help is available on this website and this can be downloaded in PDF format from HERE.

Third Age Trust website

Bexley Staying Put

If you need help with finding a reputable builder, electrician or any other sort of contractor, you can get in touch with Bexley Staying Put. The address is 151 Crayford Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 and the telephone number is 01322 559615. In addition to this service the Bexley Staying Put can offer help with hospital discharge, decorating, security, providing a handy man (or woman) and small adaptations. Opening hours are 9 to 5 weekdays.

John Mercer

Home fire safety checks

Age Concern England and Help the Aged provide a service whereby arrangements can be made for a "Handyvan Fitter", Mike Ryan, to visit the homes of persons age 60 years and over, by appointment, to carry out a fire safety check of their home and install smoke alarms. This service is free of charge. To request an appointment please telephone “Penny”, (Home Support Administrator, Age Concern England and Help the Aged) telephone 01255 477934.

The London Fire Brigade also provide a similar service and will offer personal fire safety advice in your home and fit a free smoke alarm where needed. To request a home visit phone 0800 284428 or e-mail

George Murrell

The Resource Centre (1)

The Resource Centre at the National Office in Bromley has a collection of non-book material available to all U3A groups to borrow free of charge except for the cost of return postage. Slides, videos, cassettes, DVDs and CDs are available for a wide range of subjects. Individual subject lists can be obtained from the Resource Centre on request, and the whole catalogue is available on the website with an ordering facility. Please note that you first have to register with the Resource Centre as a user either by telephoning between 9.30 am and 4.00 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or by going into the online resource centre catalogue and clicking on ‘sign up’. Bookings can be made nine months ahead and loans are for an initial period of 3 weeks. Over 75% of U3As make regular use of the Resource Centre to support and enhance their study groups and, if you would like more detail about a particular item, do not hesitate to contact the Resource Centre.

Third Age Trust Website     http://www.u3a.org.uk/     020 8315 0199

The Resource Centre (2)

To all group leaders/co-ordinators who are:-

>> New and need help?
>> Struggling to find new material to keep your members interested?
>> Trying to encourage your members to take a more active part in group sessions?

The Resource Centre can help you!

The Resource Centre in the National Office in Bromley has a collection of non-book material available for all U3A groups to borrow free of charge, except for the cost of return postage. There are slides, videos, audio cassettes, CDs, and DVDs available in many subject areas. Lists on all subjects are free and available on request.

To borrow items from the collection please contact the Resource Centre staff by letter, email, or telephone on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 4.00pm. Give the title of items you would like on loan and the date of the meeting at which you expect to use them. The earlier you send your request, the more likely you are to receive the items you want. Bookings can be made for up to nine months ahead.

Loans are for a period of three weeks and may be renewed on request if there is no other group waiting to use them. Items will be sent by post with a note telling you the date to return them. The re-usable packing is strong but light. When you return the item to us please obtain a certificate of posting at the Post Office. This is free but can be used to reclaim the value of the item should the package go astray. There is no need to use registered post.

Over ninety percent of all U3As in Britain use the Resource Centre regularly for material to support and enhance their classes. If we do not have what you need we can always try to obtain it (if it exists in non­book form) as new stock is being added all the time at the request of U3A members.

Elizabeth Gibson, Resource Centre Manager.
020 8315 0199. Email

Help for Group Leaders

The Third Age Trust website also carries information both on how to run a group, and how to deal with problems that may arise. These documents are available on this website. How to run a group is HERE, and how to deal with problems is HERE.

Neighbourhood Safety Issues

Information relating to safer neighbourhoods, including police information emails and newsletters, can be found at this website address:

ICE - In Case of Emergency

Eight out of ten people do not carry information that would help if they were involved in an accident. Storing next-of-kin details in your mobile phone can assist the emergency services if you are unable to tell them who to contact.

How does it work?
Simply use your mobile’s phone book to store the name and number of someone who should be contacted if you have an emergency - but add the letters ICE in front of their name. ICE stands for ‘In Case of Emergency’; this is what the emergency services will look for if you are involved in an accident and have your mobile phone with you.

Getting started
On most mobile phones you simply need to select ‘Contacts’ and choose ‘Add New Contact’. Next enter the letters ‘ICE’ next to the name, followed by the telephone number of your next- of-kin. Make sure you choose a number that is easy to get in touch with - a home number could be useless in an emergency if its owner works full time. It is recommended that you enter daytime and evening numbers where this is possible. For more than one contact name use ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

What should I do next?
Ensure that the person whose name and number you are using has agreed to be your ‘ICE partner’. You should also make sure your ICE partner has a list of people to contact on your behalf, such as your place of work. In addition, they will need to know about any medical conditions that could affect your emergency treatment, including allergies or medication.

If you are under 18, your ICE partner should be your mother, your father or an immediate member of your family who is authorised to make decisions on your behalf. Friends and other relatives will not be able to make decisions for you if you are admitted to hospital.

Storing an ICE number makes it easier for everyone if you are involved in an accident.

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national “In case of Emergency (ICE)” campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone’s annual life savers award.


The Office of Fair Trading has produced a guide to beating scammers. An original copy of the booklet is available from The Office of Fair Trading on 0800 389 3158. You may download the text from it in PDF format here. (I have added information about the postal scam that always crops up at Christmas).