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Project summary


An increasingly larger part of the population in industrialized countries is spending longer time in retirement than before. Increased life expectancy will lead to a steady increase in the number of people in retirement, their “third age”. Within Europe one can expect up to a quarter of the population in this category. Consequently, it is of utmost importance for future Europe to guarantee the highest quality of life for this large group of citizens and ensure that their valuable experience and knowledge are made accessible to younger generations and to society at large. It is against this background that the project Be Active through Lifelong Learning – BALL, is defined. It aims at facilitating the entry into retirement through early and systematic planning, which is essential in order to be able to add value to the “third age”.


The project addresses the urgency to establish guidelines and practices on how best to prepare individuals at an early stage for the “third age” with emphasis on learning, cultural environment and ambiance, and sharing of knowledge. This is an innovative approach, which has not been applied before. The results are directed to all actors interested in providing training for citizens, members or employees approaching the “third age” We intend to raise awareness on the vast and ever increasing “third age” human resource of knowledge and experiences and its importance for individuals and society at large.


The main objective is to develop innovative guidelines and recommendations for use at lifelong learning centers; universities; companies; unions; associations; local and regional authorities that wish to prepare and encourage their employees/clients to prepare for the “third age”. We will use the project and its outcomes to raise awareness on these important issues and disseminate the results throughout the European Educational Area and the worldwide U3A network.

Number and profiles of partners

Four partners cooperate in the project. Evris Foundation is the coordinator, responsible for management and organization. U3A Reykjavik provides learning and cultural ambiance and activities for its “third age” members. Lublin University of the Third Age (LUTW) is under the patronage of five universities in Lublin with the organizational and academic supervision of the Society of Polish Free University. Its Gerontology Section is responsible for creating a friendly and inspiring environment for retired people, giving them opportunities to meet, integrate, learn and develop. The Permanent University, UPUA, Spain, is a scientific, cultural and social program, developed by the University of Alicante to promote Science and Culture, and inter-generational relationships, with a view to improve quality of life for the older generation.

Description of activities

The activities will concentrate on mapping and research to shed light on current situation in the partner countries including a survey in each partner country. The survey identifies opinions and expectations towards retirement of a significant number of individuals in each country. The results of the mapping exercise will then be elaborated, including a comparative study, which will form the basis for the final output, i.e. the recommendations and guidelines. Experts from the partner countries will elaborate on these results and define outcomes and guidelines. A pilot course will be conducted in each partner country to test the guidelines and finally the guidelines will be edited and published.


The work will be conducted through research, mapping and by surveying present situation in the partner countries in accordance with best practices in research methodology of social sciences. The results will be tested through pilot courses that may serve as a tentative model for future use of the guidelines and recommendations.

Short description of results and envisaged impact

The project will result in guidelines and recommendations for identified stakeholders, describing “best practices” in preparing individuals early for upcoming retirement: An active and enjoyable “third age”. The project outcome will have an impact by engaging, guiding and encouraging organizations, institutions and companies to arrange educative and stimulating events and assist their members and employees in realizing the importance of early preparation for retirement.

Potential long-term benefit

It is envisaged that the research undertaken, the resulting guidelines and recommendations will be disseminated widely and that the material will be of use in future activities in a long-term perspective. The future activities of the partners themselves and the stakeholders engaged will certainly be guided by the results. All partners are affiliated with the worldwide U3A network of organizations, which will be a forum for disseminating the results, which in turn influences the future activities of these fellow organizations.



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