Category Archives: News

News items

Age UK during the Coronavirus Pandemic

A message about Age UK Lancashire from U3A Trustee, Sue Watkinson:

1.  Age UK continues to support older people during the Coronavirus crisis.  Services are available by phoning the central number 0300 303 1234 or email advice@ageuklancs.org.uk

The office is Ormskirk remains closed but the staff still offer these services to our community:

– Providing shopping services and collecting prescriptions
– Taking people home from hospital and settling them in
– Good Day calls – a telephone call to check well-being every day
– Information and Advice
– Dementia Support

2.  Another initiative from Age UK is a Zoom online Dementia Support meeting.  This is being run fortnightly on Friday afternoons to provide support and socialising for carers of those living with dementia.  There is usually a Guest Speaker.  They provide help to use Zoom or there is a telephone option if preferred.  A computer or tablet is needed but they have some available on loan.

Contact Anne Oliver on 07807 338783 or email aoliver@ageuklancs.org.uk.

3.  And finally, Age UK has a project ongoing called the Art of Isolation.  They are collecting examples of art/craft, poems/ short stories, photographs of newly made garden features or anything that has been created during lock-down.  A Lancashire storyteller and curator is working with Age UK to collect and assemble the examples into a professional publication.

If you would like to make a donation in the form of a photograph or text document then please contact me in the first instance and I will forward them onto the appropriate person at Age UK Lancashire.

Sue Watkinson on 01695 422423

Our Virtual U3A

A number of Groups (and Organisers of other events and individual members) are being very innovative in carrying on remotely! See below for the examples we know about so far. And please send the Web Team examples of U3A Remote Activities that we don’t yet know about.

  • Bridge Group is doing an excellent job of keeping going virtually! See Bridge Group during the Lockdown.
  • Computer Advice –  remote support by email (any time – using elearning@aughton- ormskirk-u3a.co.uk) and by phone (on Mondays and Tuesdays only, at the usual session times – see enews sent out on 8 April)
  • Choir – Is it true that some U3A singers are following Gareth Malone on YouTube? See this Classic fm article on the Great British Home Chorus.
  • Creative Writing are very creatively keeping in touch and developing stories and poems using technologies such as WhatsApp eg see Creative Writing Group During Lockdown.  They are also running a Short Story Competion open to all members.
  • Country Dancing write in the enews of 1 Apr 2020, 10:42  “We’ve set up a WhatsApp group to keep in touch & cheer us up.”  See the enews item for contact details if you’d like to join in.
  • Digital Photography – still running its popular Photo Competition. Get snapping!
  • The Drama Group is continuing to meet via Zoom. They report …..”At the moment we are not rehearsing for our next play although we may do at some point in the future ………. we are enjoying reading plays”.
  • French Conversation is conducting Zoom meetings. (There is very helpful How To guidance on Zoom on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.)
  • Gardening Group  members have been sending out most informative newsletters via Beacon emails including quizzes, jobs in the garden and hints on where to order garden-related supplies.
  • German Conversation are keeping in touch eg by email.  Homework is made available by the Group Leader. And a member is seeking out and sending  items to cheer up the others in the class.  Good idea!
  • Italian – We have heard through the grapevine that the Tutor is setting homework and conducting Zoom meetings. There is very helpful How To guidance on Zoom on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.
  • Latin & the Roman World Group is carrying on regardless while maintaining social distancing. See the Latin in Lockdown Group Post as an example of their virtual activities.
  • Philosphy – The Leader, Tim Miles, has set up an outlook email group to which group members, or others, can be added at their request. He has also had email exchanges re philosophy with group members.
  • The Poetry  Leader, we have heard, is sending members suggestions for a daily poem. If that is correct, do please send us a list of poems we can all enjoy.
  • Science Group Leaders, Jack and Alan have set up a new Group – Science during Lockdown.  It features a Daily Science Snippet, Science Jokes and Cartoons, Illusions, online Science Quizzes that any member can try out and links to Coronavirus articles.  If your Group would like to know how to produce a Quiz, contact the Web Team via the email address below.
  • Snooker cannot turn up to play but they do get together remotely to take part in quizzes.
  • Spanish Conversation – Leader, Bob Sheehan is sending articles in Spanish by email to the group on a regular basis to translate at leisure during lockdown.
  • Ukulele -The ‘UKULEERS’ will still be keeping in touch with each other with items about the ukulele, including self help videos.  What a good time to learn to play the ukulele!  See the Post named Play Ukulele!  if you would like to start learning to play this instrument. . Contact Leader, Tony Crimlisk, for more information.
  • Remote help has been offered by a member on one of her interests – Geneaology.  See the enews sent out to members only via Beacon on Sat, 28 Mar, 09:21 for this kind offer and contact details. Maybe a new Group possibility for the future?
  • Various members have helpfully suggested the following ideas:

An item appeared in a recent enews saying “Keeping fit while isolating is extremely important.   There is no reason not to keep fit so have a look at these NHS videos”.

The Speaker Meeting organiser suggests having “a look at the TED talks website, which is packed with talks on all kinds of subjects”.  Some Meetings have been cancelled for the duration but alternatives are being planned – see the Speaker Meeting page.

There has been mention by a couple of members of a local (non-U3A) Zumba class already being run using Zoom. Perhaps some of our classes could carry on in this way?

Check out the Website’s  Culture at Home Post for those missing their theatre and musical outings and meetings.

  • Watch this list for  More Ideas

So if your Group has found a way to carry on regardless,  then please email the Web Team and we’ll add it to the above list. You may inspire others to have-a-go too.  If you struggle with ideas or expertise in the appropriate technologies, again contact us.  Together, we can get creative, learn and share skills,  and at the same time help members feel more connected and less isolated.

email: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Remember too the monthly enews.  If you’d like an item to appear in it, send to the enews Editor at:

email: enews@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

The enews editor advises trying to keep the enews items brief.  If it is too long, send it in to the Web Team instead for publishing on the Website.  The Web Team will then provide a link to be included in your shortened enews item.


If you would like to know more about some of the communication tools mentioned here and elsewhere, then there is very helpful How To guidance on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.

Important Caveat ………….

There is often no charge for downloadable Apps and information available via the internet.  But please do remember – ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’.

Be Aware and Use with Care!

Gardening Group-Garden Visits & Photos

Lockdown 2020

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.


Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. 

Garden visits

For anyone that hasn’t heard, the National Gardens Scheme have started garden openings with an online booking system for visits so that numbers are limited and social distancing can work. 

79 Crabtree Lane – which our group visited last year is opening this weekend – Sunday 5th, Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th.

Hazel wood  – which our group was due to visit this year is also opening this weekend – Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th and Monday 6th.

Just go online to ngs.org.uk and click on ‘book a visit’.

Photo gallery of our groups gardens .

Following on from the earlier success of the West Lancs in Bloom galleries on our U3A Website, the Web Team are wondering if Gardening Group members would be interested in a special gallery to add to our Group Page with recent pictures of your gardens?  West Lancs in Bloom was nearly exclusively Spring Blossom, so we were thinking of a gallery this time with a theme like Our Summer Gardens during Lockdown.

Contributions can be emailed as attachments to webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk.  As the website is public, contributors should avoid the appearance in a photo of recognizable people or obtain permission from those appearing. Please provide suitable short captions for your photos and say whether you would like your name to be included or not.

Looking forward to seeing your lovely gardens. I’m amazed at how resilient many plants have been to the recent extremes of weather, gales, heatwave, drought and torrential rain ! 

Stay safe and healthy,

Pam & Helen

Creative Writing Group During Lockdown

When we heard that we’d no longer be able to meet up for our usual monthly sessions, the Creative Writing Group decided that we’d still like to write something every month and share it via email. We knew it wouldn’t be half as enjoyable as getting together but it was better than nothing. However, with the next ‘meeting’ several weeks away, someone suggested we created a WhatsApp group so we could keep in touch in the meantime. What a great idea! National lockdown was looming but we were prepared.

We’ve got to know each other surprisingly well. Through the WhatsApp chat we’ve heard snippets of lives past and seen present day photos from daily walks. We’ve even had the odd glimpse into each other’s homes via Zoom. Strangely, during this time apart, acquaintances are becoming firm friends.

One day, a bit of banter on WhatsApp sparked a couple of lines of fiction and everyone joined in adding their own couple of lines. Before we knew it we had a page-worth of words that could have been lifted from a spy novel. It was a bit of fun so we decided we’d have a proper go with a new story. We’ve written seven so far, including one round of poetry. The six of us keeping ourselves amused with these exercises are set in a new order every time and then write two or three paragraphs each, usually two rounds per story.

Follow this link to see our most recent creation!

With all of this, plus our short story competition entries, we’ve done more writing in the last three months than most of us ever do under normal circumstances and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of lockdown.

Health and Wellbeing Update

Member Julia Bate has organised a series of talks on matters relating to health and wellbeing for 2020.  Unfortunately, after  a good start, talks  arranged for March and April had to be CANCELLED till further notice due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

More recently, however, Julia has had Zoom meetings with the Patient Safety and the Patient and Public Involvement Groups attached to the North West Coast NHS Innovation Agency. Check out this useful information from these meetings.

Contact details for Julia: Members, please refer to your monthly enews or  the latest U3A Magazine.

Bridge Group during the Lockdown

John and Joan, Leaders of the Bridge Group, have sent the Web Team some very interesting news about what the Group has been doing to keep going during Lockdown. What an active and adaptable Group!

 

During the lockdown, we have been in touch with all the group members with a regular email contact as well as by phone. We know that all our members are coping pretty well with all the restrictions, although two members of the group have had to be hospitalised due to falls, but are recovering well. Many members are becoming more IT savvy, using online platforms to communicate with each other and to play bridge.

Just before the lockdown, one of the group, Nick Dowrick, was about to start his ‘beginners’ bridge lessons.  Following a trial with some willing volunteers from the group, who had some expertise in the game, using Zoom and Bridge Base online, he started the lessons with 12 keen students, a few weeks ago.  All the feedback is very good and the students have praised Nick’s patience and knowledge.  We hope that they continue to enjoy the lessons and look forward to welcoming them to our bridge sessions when we get back to normal.  However, the two metre social distancing rule will cause some great difficulties for us!

We also have some budding poets in the group, who have been using their extra leisure time to put pen to paper – we have ‘published’ the poems on the group emails for all to enjoy.

Joan and John

Gardening Group – June

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Thank you to everyone who has emailed with comments or photos, good to hear from you. I hope you all enjoyed the quiz in the last email, here are the answers to that one and a new quiz for this month.

Answers:

Iris
Blackcurrant
Wallflowers
Foxglove
Copper beach(beech)
Par snips
Weed
Will…..ow
Weeping willow
Aster
Sweet William and Stinking Willy (oh dear)
Giant Hogweed

This month’s quiz:

1. What is the popular name for the flowering houseplant Impatiens Walleriana?
2. What would a gardener do with a dibber or dibble?
3. Charles Darwin described this carnivorous plant ? the most wonderful plant in the world?. What is the name of this plant?
4. The love apple is the original name for what?
5. The Death Cap is the most poisonous variety of what?
6. What is the name given to the female reproductive organ of a flower?
7. A Kumquat is a small Japanese variety of what sort of fruit?
8. Why is reindeer Moss so called?
9. Harry Wheatcroft was a renowned breeder of what?
10. What is the name of the 3 leafed clover associated with St Patrick?s day?

Answers to be revealed next month.

A Few Jobs to do now:

Hostas are looking great now, benefitting from the winter & spring rain, keep them looking good by being vigilent in your slug prevention & control.

Thin fruitlets on tree fruit, whilst the June Drop is the fruit tree’s natural method of shedding excess fruit, you often need to thin the crop further. Cooking Apples- 1 fruit every 6ins, desert apples to one or two fruits, pears to two fruits every4ins & plums to one fruit every 2ins.  This improves fruit size & quality & as sun & air can penetrate there is even ripening.

Whilst we have had some welcome rain in the last few days, plants in pots, newly planted  & fruit & veg requires consistent & regular watering. Remember, don’t waste water by splashing it onto the leaves, it can cause scorch or mildew, water around the roots. If water is running off very dry soil, create a moat to keep the water in place.

  • Thin out hardy annuals. Be brutal – most of them (cornflowers, nigellas and English Marigolds included) benefit from spacing 30cm (1ft) apart.  Use pea sticks to support taller varieties. 
  • Next spring’s biennials, such as wallflowers and honesty, need time to establish. Both can be sown now, direct into a seedbed, spaced a couple of inches apart. Thin in three or four weeks to 30cm (1ft), and transplant to their flowering position in early autumn. If you are short of space these will be perfectly happy in pots in a sheltered spot until the autumn when they can then be planted in their final positions.
  • Deadheading flowers as they go over this month can result in a second flowering. 
  • Huge-flowered oriental poppies have finished flowering. Cut everything back to ground level, leaving no foliage standing. Feed mulch and give them a good dousing of water and the new foliage will grow back soon
  • Cut back delphiniums, right to the ground, leaves as well as old flower spikes. If you do this now, almost all plants will give you a second flush of Deadhead roses as often as you can now they’re flowering at full tilt. Snip off their browning heads to a bud or leaf below to help promote the formation of axillary buds, then more flowers will follow. Rambling and climbing roses will be growing rapidly so tie them in regularly as close to the horizontal as possible.
  • At this time of year, stems of mint will produce roots within a week if cut and placed in water. They can then be planted up, ideally in pots to contain their spread.

“There is no beginning and no end to a garden, it is a set of processes, not a product. This is what I love , this complex, interdependent evolution where you need to employ everything you have – experience, a little knowledge, craft, science, art and wherever you can a dash of poetry. Not to mention a lot of luck!”  Carol Klein.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Stay safe and healthy,

Science During Lockdown

A new virtual group – Science during Lockdown – has been specially set up for these strange times.  It features a Daily Science Snippet, Science Jokes and Cartoons, Illusions, online Science Quizzes that any member can try out and links to Coronavirus articles.

2020 AGM

Due to ongoing restrictions on our activity, the 2020 AGM of the Aughton & Ormskirk U3A, scheduled for 21 May, was postponed. You will be advised of a revised date in a future update.

As per established practice, you will be invited to propose agenda items for that rescheduled AGM. If appropriate, we will also advise you of vacancies for Trustee and Management Committee positions and invite nominations. The usual timetable for such activities will apply.

In the meantime, members of the Management Committee and the Trustees will continue in their current roles.

Poems for Lockdown

This Post was the response to a request for poems from the Web Team, in early May 2020 (during the coronavirus lockdown),  for members to read on our U3A Website.  The result below is an eclectic mix penned by known poets and by our own talented U3A members. Many, many thanks to all contributors.
Please note – This particular post is now complete.  But members are always welcome to send in contributions for publication on the website  sharing their many and varied literary and artistic talents eg poems, stories, paintings, cartoons etc to:

Continue reading

Gardening Group – May

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself – Alice Sebold.

Hello Everyone –  Helen here from the Gardening  Group.  I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Garden centres are now opening so we can get on with planting up lovely colourful summer baskets and containers. For anyone isolating many are still offering local delivery and online ordering.

Continue reading

Our U3A in Times of Social Isolation

Garden trees in Spring

New leaves under a pandemic-blue sky (an Aughton Garden, April 2020)

Check out our website News page and the Coloured Alert Box and Sidebar Links on the Front  Page for ideas on how we can all keep in touch and active during these unusual times. Please send your own ideas and activities that might be of help and interest to other members, and the community at large, for inclusion to: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.

Latest Website initiative – the not-currently-relevant Events Menu Item has been temporarily exchanged for another called Keeping in Touch.

And don’t miss out on the many, fantastic opportunities open to members on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website. There is something for everyone there – from Maths to Mindfulness, from Keeping Well to Keeping Fit (with Mr Motivator, no less).

 

 

Latin in Lockdown

Leader of the Latin & the Roman World Group, Dennis Morley,  has sent the Web Team the following example of their activities during Lockdown.  The Group is certainly being kept busy.

Lockdown for the Latin Group means just a change of method, as the group have continued their course without interruption.

Although “red ink” assessments are not used, there is a lively exchange of translations and comprehensions. This week we are looking at some “Cicero” to see whether Boris was affected by his rhetoric.

I attach a selection of cuttings from local and national rags all of which contain some “errors”; a big part of Latin in translating from English is to strip the language down to its most literal form.

See how many errors you can spot! Responses published in next edition.

Lapsus Linguae u3a

The Association this year argued that schools could only afford a 2% increase for teachers, meaning the remaining 0.75% would need additional funding.

This legislation will mean that myself and many other families will, hopefully, not have to endure   the torture of not knowing where their loved one’s remains can be recovered from.

I do not know if this follows a decision to purge the party of moderates like us, or if it was a crude attempt to see us fold under pressure.

The Church of England has published official advice that sex is only good for married heterosexuals only.

Pervert jailed for abusing girl now sent down for rape.

Labour MPs can barely look one another in the eye, let alone be bothered to seriously challenge the government.

For more than 25 years, she only told a few people close to her about the encounter.

Re-cycling is well established in kitchen and grocery products, with Tesco announcing last week that it was removing certain shrink-wrapped multipacks.

People doubtless go to church for all sorts of reasons. But I’d advise anyone looking for friends to inspect a church’s advice on relationships.

At a summer camp in Ohio, I complained to colleagues about the state of my hair, due to the wind.

Remember that not all the attendees would be fervent followers of Jeremy.

Still, if there’s one upside to Brexit it’s that hopefully we will be seeing a lot less of Farage.

 

Play Ukulele!

Tony Crimlisk, Leader of the Ukulele Group has sent in the following message and kind offer:

In isolation? Now’s your chance to learn a new skill. Why not beg, borrow or steal a ukulele and have a go? This is just a brief introduction to show how easy it is to start.

To get underway, download these instructions from Tony.

West Lancs in Bloom

The daffodils had faded, but there was no shortage of beautiful blooms appearing in our gardens and local countryside. Member, Audrey Patterson, had sent the Web Team a stunning photo of a lovely tree in her garden. This was the inspiration to set up a new Photo Gallery to brighten up both our spirits and the website, and to show off West Lancs in Bloom. A request to members for photos taken when  pottering in the garden or out on a daily walk was so successful that we have now included some late additions and an extra gallery 7 that you may not have seen earlier.

Many Many Thanks for contributing to and viewing these photo galleries. It has proved very popular with loads of hits on this Webpage.  No more photos are required for the time being for this Webpage.  But if the lockdown persists, we may set up another one on  nature seen in the local gardens and countryside later into the summer.

But in the meantime, if you would like to view some further excellent photos taken by members, take a look at the Competition Winners to be found following on from the Digital Photography Group Page.

Click or tap on any of the photos in the Gallery you wish to view, and then scroll through the slideshow for that Gallery to see the images full-size.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

Even the leaves are ‘blossoming’ (mostly taken by Alan N)

Gallery 4

Gallery 5

From Pete and Val’s Garden

Gallery 6

Gallery 7

Lovely, and mostly pink, Clematis, Cherry Blossom and Camelia

More TAT Advice and Info

Following on from the Post called TAT Advice and Info on this website, here are some other great lockdown ideas and activities from the Third Age Trust (TAT).

Exercise Motivation

Find out about a great opportunity that has been arranged for U3A Members via YouTube.

Mr Motivator has joined forces with U3A for a weeklong series of exercises. Mr Motivator – famous for his brightly coloured outfits and enthusiastic tv workouts- has compiled a workout aimed at specifically at Third Agers. It started on Monday 20 April AM and will run every day through that week working on every muscle in the body.

For for information and trailers and the sessions, check out the official YouTube channel of the University of the Third Age in the UK.

Tech ‘How To’ Guidance

Here you will find links to guides to tools that will help you stay in touch and connected with your friends, family and U3A.

National U3A Support Forum

This is an online message board available to all U3A members.

The Third Age Trust has launched three online discussion forums so that you can share ideas and support each other during this time. This user guide will walk you through the registration process and basic navigation and use of the forums.

TAT Advice and Info

The Third Age Trust (TAT) currently issues regular bulletins to members. Please check the TAT website regularly and, if you have not already done so, sign up to their national U3A Newsletter which disseminates advice and information quickly to all U3A members. On a rainy day, stuck in the house  during this lockdown, you might also like to pass some time browsing past issues – see the newsletter archive.

When looking at the TAT website, you will find the first three top menu links particularly useful for the current circumstances viz Home, Learning and Newsletter.  Another very helpful place to go  on the TAT website is down to the grey footer area on the main pages.  Here you will find an area called Covid Links with 3 very useful entries for these times.  Have a browse.

Membership Renewal Online:

As there will be no Horizons meetings for quite some time, you can renew your U3A Membership in one of two ways:

  • Renew online – just click on this link and follow the instructions. This is the preferred method.
  • Use the Membership Renewal form in the Magazine which you should have received though the post by now.

Zoom Boom!

Although fairly familiar, or at least aware of, a good number of apps, I had never heard of Zoom until the start of social isolation.  When asked about video conferencing, a younger family member immediately said Zoom.  Soon after that, we also heard mention of it from a couple of U3A members.  A Computer Helper, Ann P, had already done a family meetup using it and Willem, Computer Advice Leader was already experimenting with it for U3A and non-U3A use. Since then, our Website Media Manager, Alan N, has joined in with a non-U3A online Pub Quiz run with Zoom which after a few initial hiccups – technology rather than alcohol related – worked amazingly well.  And recently the Burscough, Formby and Aughton Nolans have had a Zoom get-together.  After we learnt how not to talk over each other, it was pretty good. We have also heard from Megan, the U3A Secretary, that there is a non-U3A Zumba class being run with Zoom by a local teacher.

If you already have used Zoom, please do share your experiences.  Contact:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Or if you would just like to know more about Zoom (and other communication tools), then there is very helpful How To guidance on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.

Important Caveat

There is no charge for the basic version of Zoom, But remember – ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’.

And some reservations are already being mentioned in the media.  Thanks, Ann P, for sending this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/27/trolls-zoom-privacy-settings-covid-19-lockdown

And for further information on security issues, check out this other recent Guardian article which includes the Pros and Cons af various Video Chat options.

So if you do want to try video chat, as with all Apps,  ……….. Be Aware and Use with Care!

Joyce Nolan (Web Manager)

 

Culture at Home

Many of our favourite activities and interests have been curtailed due to social isolation.  But here are some ideas how can keep your participation alive.

National Theatre at Home

Watch top-notch online shows for free. Productions are shown every Thursday at 7pm and are then available for 7 days.

‘Local’ Theatre

Spot On is Lancashire’s touring theatre network. They are obviously currently not able to Tour but they area launching and an innovative project to compensate for this.

We will be launching Spot On Stories on Tuesday 21st April at 3pm via our websiteFacebook and YouTubeFind out more about our first show.

Tuesday afternoons will be stories for children and families, and Thursdays will be something a little more grown-up. Once they are live, they’ll be available to watch on the Spot On website for 30 days.

The Royal Opera House

The ROH is offering selected productions on demand free of charge as part of a wider package of online content available for audiences.

Travel

If you are missing  holidays, enjoy seeing the sights  from your armchair courtesy of the BBC.

Virtual Museum Tours

Take a trip round a Museum without leaving your home.

Zoo Outing

Chester Zoo

 

 

All suggestions to add to the above list are very welcome.  Contact us:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Coronavirus Suspension

Following a meeting of the Management Committee and Trustees, all Aughton & Ormskirk U3A face-to-face activities are suspended with effect from 17 March 2020, until further notice.

This government guidance on coronavirus includes ongoing and changing information about how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help, and provides advice about social distancing, staying at home and travel etc.

The Third Age Trust (TAT) has published a special new and ongoing bulletin on their website – Covid-19 News and things to do.

Speaker Meeting News

Those of you who attended Carolyn Kirby’s talk in the Ministry Centre last year will remember that she gave a very interesting and entertaining talk on the background to her first novel, The Conviction of Cora Burns. Carolyn has written another book, When We Fall, based on the female pilots of WW2, which has been published through a small publisher, No Exit Press. She will be coming to talk to us in October (all being well), but in the meantime I have received the following email from her:

This is a very tough time for small businesses, my publisher – No Exit Press – being one of them. In order to bring in some income, the availability of my new book When We Fall has been brought forward and for a limited time the price has been cut – by 50%. So even with £2.90 p&p (which remains the same even if you order some more of the excellent No Exit Press books at half price) the cost is less than the full price if the book. Full details of this offer – which is only available if the book is ordered direct from the publisher – are here: http://noexit.co.uk/index1.php?imprint=1

 I wonder if you could put this info in the U3A newsletter? The members might be in need of reading matter for the coming weeks!

 Carolyn is also planning to produce a short video by way of an introduction to her talk, which we are hoping to be able to post on the website.  Keep an eye on the Speaker Meeting Page for further info.

Pam Ball

Let’s Communicate (Remotely)

As you probably are aware, enews is emailed to all members with an email address on the Beacon Membership System.  But you may not be aware that Group Leaders can send emails to all members in their Group.  A number of Groups are set up in Beacon to enable this already – extremely useful in the current circumstances. If your Group cannot do  this, contact the Web Team and we’ll explain the procedure to get you started.

Remember too that all members are very welcome to make use of our U3A’s facebook page. You can send in items to Brian Bostock, the facebook editor. And you can even arrange with him to be allowed to post info on U3A facebook for yourself. If you don’t know how to get in touch with Brian, contact the Web Team.

Website Group Leaders and Authors are encouraged to add appropriate information applying to the current situation on their Group Pages and Posts. Members of Groups with no Author can  send their content direct to the Web Team.

There are many other technologies useful for communicating remotely via social networking, web conferencing and such, that can help us all keep in touch with family and friends and neighbours as well as fellow U3A members.  Common examples, in addition to facebook above,  are Skype, FaceTime, Twitter, (the very popular) WhatsApp, (the increasingly well-known) Zoom, Echo Show,  WHYPAY? (for conference calls) and (the latest to have come to my attention) TikTok. Over the following weeks, we could perhaps use this website to provide info on and experiences of some of these, if there is a demand.

There are also YouTube videos and TED talks that might be pertinent to your Group or other U3A activities that you organise. Let the Web Team. know of your interest in learning about them and especially if you have expertise to impart.

Do return to this  Website regularly as these are fast-changing times. And please do send your ideas to the Web Team (email address below) on your ideas on how to keep in touch and help each other during social isolation.

For now …….

Stay Safe, Stay Well and Stay in Communication with the U3A.

from the Web Team (Maureen, Alan and Joyce)

Email: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Message from the Chairman

Greetings.
I hope you’re all coping with this period of social distancing. The latest edition of the magazine is winging its way to you. Expect your Postman to drop it through your letterbox in the next few days. This would not be happening if it were not for the great joint effort from the Communications Subcommittee and the Membership Team. The Magazine Editor had extra work this time round, altering content as the coronavirus situation developed.  As usual, he had welcome assistance from his proofreaders. Finally all the magazines were put in envelopes, stamped and labelled and delivered to the Post Office next to Christ Church. So, on your behalf, I would like to offer them all a GREAT BIG THANK YOU. I would also like to thank Ian at the Post Office for helpfully getting this much larger number of Magazines into the system.
In the present circumstances, the preferred way of renewing your U3A membership is online; if you are unable to do that, you can use the membership renewal form enclosed in the magazine. Although we cannot participate in our normal group meetings, your membership fee is still important if we are to meet our financial obligations both now and when we can resume our activities.
Alan Starkie

Your U3A Magazine

If  you have not yet received your U3A Magazine through the Post, please email:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Bill Evans, the U3A Magazine Editor, has written a very interesting article about how your U3A Magazine is printed and also, for this March issue, ‘why’ it was printed:


Usually, this is the ‘timeline’ of the U3A magazine:

  • I work on it for approximately four weeks or so, before the Distribution Day – sometimes in Ormskirk, occasionally in Spain, and for this issue, in ‘Center Parcs’ near Penrith.
  • Feature pages and photographic pages are created first.
  • The ‘group copy’ is read by one or two ‘volunteers’.
  • Then the group copy is inserted and made to fit. This is the part which can take a considerable amount of time. Sometimes I have enough group copy to fill 22 pages – other times only enough for 17 or so.
  • Hopefully it leaves me on the Wednesday or Thursday before ‘Distribution Day.
  • Production then takes place.
  • It gets delivered to either myself or the Scout & Guide HQ on the Friday, or over the weekend, or perhaps the Monday before Distribution Day.
  • On (and around) Distribution Day (a specific Horizons meeting), Magazines are distributed by various methods. These include:
    • individual members turning up at the Distribution Desk at Horizons to pick up their own and maybe one or two for friends and neighbours
    • Hand delivery at members’ addresses by a team of local Deliverers
    • Handover by Group Leaders or others during Group Meetings
    • Mail Posting for the remainder

This current issue was a little different:

  • I had it virtually ready for printing but waited until our Management Committee met on Monday, 16th March
  • A decision was made to ‘go ahead and print’ . . . but I needed to completely re-jig the front cover. (Obviously lots of our meetings and events are postponed or cancelled . . . but hopefully some of the later ones may take place.)
  • This time round, our magazine left me on Saturday afternoon of the 21st March
  • The platemaker came in on the Sunday to compete his part of the job
  • Our printer delivered the job to the Scout & Guide HQ in the early evening of Monday 23rd. Here they joined the already printed labels and stock of envelopes
  • For this print issue, isolated at the Scout & Guide HQ through Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the Magazines were put in envelopes along with Membership Renewal Forms and then Beacon address labels were stuck on and stamps added from our pre-purchased stock
  • All the magazine were delivered to the nearby very helpful Post Office by early afternoon on 24th March ready to go out.

How our magazine is printed:

A little technical ‘info’ on four-colour printing:

  • If we printed only 250 or so, it could probably be printed ‘digitally’ i.e. no film or metal plates.
  • The ‘copy click’ charge wouldn’t be too excessive.
  • Most companies ‘rent’ from Canon, Xerox, etc, etc, and pay a ‘copy click’ fee for each print – usually between 5p and 10p per sheet.
  • This is because hardly any ‘local’ printer would actually have their own digital printer – they are enormously expensive.
  • Our print run of around 1,800 would cost a fortune printed this way.
  • We use two companies to produce the magazine ‘lithographically’.
  • Using the ‘hi-res’ pdf file I send them, one company makes the 40 ‘plates’: 10 pairs of A3 pages x 4-colour: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
  • The other company collects the plates, prints the magazine and delivers them.
  • The companies are extremely efficient and they do a great job for us. Unfortunately, both these companies are being ‘hit’ like most firms are, with the Coronavirus. Jobs being cancelled, or printed and then not required, etc, etc.

Drama Group

We are really disappointed that our planned production for April – “Death By Paintbrush” has had to be rescheduled.  All being well we hope to perform it later in the year.

All April tickets will still be valid for the later performance and anyone unable to attend will be entitled to a refund.

Best wishes

U3A Activity Suspension

To all Members,

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Committee and Trustees of Aughton & Ormskirk U3A have taken the decision to suspend all group activities and Horizons at all U3A sites as from midday, 17.03.2020.

According to Government information, the isolation policy for the over 70’s could last for several months.  We will make every effort to maintain contact with you through email, Magazine, Facebook or Telephone and the Website.

We will continue to send further updates via email.

Group Leaders – please could you contact any Group member not on email.

If you know any member of your Group who may live alone, a phone call for a chat could make all the difference to their wellbeing through the forthcoming isolation.

In the meantime keep well, keep safe.

Megan Tomlinson

Secretary

Message from your Treasurer

Revised Message from your Treasurer:
Due to the Corona virus, the request for money to be deposited with the Finance team before the end of the financial year (31st March) is set aside. Please hold on to the money and deposit until the suspension of the U3A is lifted. If a significant amount of money is held and you are uncomfortable with this then please email me (treasurer@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk) to discuss how the money may be banked.
Regards,
Derrick

U3A National Newsletter

The Management Committee  and Trustees think it would be a good idea to pass on this message from the National Office regarding the U3A National Newsletter to the membership to help keep them in touch.

The National Newsletter is crucial in reaching out to members as we have no direct contact with them. During this period we would be very grateful if you could assist members who are happy to do so, to sign up to the national newsletter.

The March Newsletter can be found here.

Health and Wellbeing Talks

 Talks CANCELLED till further notice

Member Julia Bate is organising a series of talks on matters relating to health and wellbeing over the coming months.  Julia says:

The next date for your diary is 18th March at 3pm in the Cinema Room in the Christ Church Ministry Centre when Dr Dennis Wat, Respiratory Consultant at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital will speak about the respiratory condition COPD, and I have also asked that he includes some information on sleep apnoea in his talk.

On 22nd April, we have two local Cardiac Nurses from Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust coming to discuss how we can help to keep our hearts healthy and they will also have some advice for anyone with existing cardiac disease. This will be at 2pm in the Cinema Room at the Ministry Centre.

If you are interested in attending either talk,  please let me know by email so that we have an idea of numbers because of limited space in this room.

Julia Bate

Contact details for Julia: Members, please refer to your monthly enews or see foot of page 16 in the latest U3A Magazine.

Forget me not appeal

Textile Group – Tap to enlarge

In mid February,  a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society, Gina Berry, came to collect all the knitted, crocheted or stitched ‘Forget me not Flowers’ made by our own Textile Group, the Creative Stitchers from Aughton Village Hall and the Knit and Natter Group from Christ Church.

The flowers will decorate the staircases at the Harris Museum & Gallery in Preston where they will be part of ‘The Unfurlings’, an events programme to support those living with dementia, their carers and families.  Events have just begun and continue until the end of May.  Everyone is welcome to attend and they are all in the afternoons.

Gina is the dementia adviser for West Lancashire and was quite overwhelmed at the numbers of hand-made flowers presented to her.  We didn’t count them but there were probably around 250.

Open Forum

The Open Forum, held on 23rd January, 2020, was interesting and several points and questions were put forward by members.  Alan Starkie., our Chairman, opened the Forum reminding members that the U3A is all about its members.  Also that the National office have now opted not to use the word ‘university’ but simply call ourselves U3A.  National U3A Day is on 3rd June, 2020 and U3As are encouraged to celebrate this day.

The change from four issues to three of the Magazine was well received and it was noted that our magazine continues to be much appreciated. Suggestions were made as to how to recoup the cost of postage.  Moving forward, newer members tend to visit the website and read enews.

It was put forward that the Management Committee and Trustees should be combined for more efficient working and members were encouraged to come forward to join Committees.

It was generally agreed that new members should be made welcome at Horizons and everyone was urged to assist in this. A ‘Meeter and Greeter’ was suggested.

Discussion about car parking took place and efforts are being made to co-ordinate activities with Christchurch School, The Ministry Centre and Christ Church.

This is only a brief outline of the Forum – a more detailed account will appear in the next issue of the Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Magazine.

Megan Tomlinson (Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Secretary)

Short Story Competition

If you would like to submit a short story of no more than 1000 words, on any topic, you could win a £25 book token and see your work in print in the August edition of the magazine. This is a new venture for the Creative Writing group and we are hoping for lots of entries, so please start writing now.

Some members of the group have offered help with typing and emailing so, if you would like some assistance, please consult Sue Watkinson at Horizons  or email CreativeWriting@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk and we’ll do our best to support you.

Read on for the full details …….

Short Story Competition Guidelines

  • The competition is for a story of no more than 1000 words and no fewer than 300, on any topic.
  • Stories should not have been published previously.
  • There will be one prize of a £25 book token.
  • Entry is restricted to members of Aughton & Ormskirk U3A.
  • The competition will close at midnight on Saturday June 27th 2020.
  • The result will be announced in August.
  • Pages should be A4 size, typed in 14 point using a plain font with 1.5 spacing.
  • Pages should be numbered.
  • The number of words used, excluding the title, should be included at the end of the piece.
  • Entries will be judged anonymously, so do not put your name on the text pages of your entry.
  • The story should submitted to CreativeWriting@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk as an attachment to an email listing the title of your story, the number of words, your name, phone number, email address and U3A membership number.
  • Your entry will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  • Copyright remains with the author but by entering you are agreeing to publication of your work in the August edition of the U3A magazine and on the website if you win.

Two New Bridge Courses for 2020

Short Courses – (1) Learn to Play Bridge; and (2)  Improve Your Bridge

The Bridge Group will run a 10-week course starting in March for members who would like to learn how to play Bridge or to return to playing after a break from the game.

We plan to follow this up in the Autumn with a course for improving players – all members with a working knowledge of bridge will be welcome, whether or not you have been to the first course.

If you would like to find out more about either course and/or register your interest, then please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988 119 408.

Digital Photography Restarts for 2020

Check out the Digital Photography Group Page (and the Group Posts that follow it) for details of the first meeting this year and exhibitions of the excellent photos taken in past years.

Swimming at Park Pool

From the beginning of February, certain days and times will be dedicated to U3A swimmers, with the services of a Lifeguard and Instructor to help members regain confidence.  These are not swimming lessons for beginners although classes may be possible as the months go on.
My items in the magazine and the last enews attracted over 20 names, which is a great start.  If you would like to join in then do get in touch with me and I will pass on details to the West Lancs Leisure team.

This is not a group: simply U3A members attending the pool together at specific times, at normal pool prices.

Contact Sue Watkinson on 01695 422 423 or at Horizons most weeks.

Latest News – sessions start on Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th February!

Medication Safety

NHS Innovation Agency

North West Coast Patient Safety Collaborative

on Medication Safety

On behalf of our U3A I attended a meeting of the above group on 22nd January. They are conducting a project aimed at increasing medication safety, looking at four areas in particular:

  1. The safe prescribing of medicines in primary care.
  2. Transfer of care between primary and secondary care to ensure effective and timely communication of any medication changes when a patient is discharged from hospital.
  3. Poly pharmacy (prescribing of large numbers of medication items to one patient, which increases the risk of drug interactions and can lead to failure to take medicines correctly).
  4. Medicines administration in care homes.

If anyone has any suggestions of how medication safety could be improved from a patient’s perspective, please contact me – Julia Bate, Tel: 01744 883086 – and I will mention them at the next meeting which will probably be in 2 or 3 months’ time.

Julia’s email address can be found in Bob Carlton’s January enews.

English Medieval Cathedrals – 2020 series

English Medieval Cathedrals of the South and South-east

Commencing Tuesday 28 January, for this fourth series of Church History we move to medieval cathedrals in the south-eastern extremity of England, interspersed with two visits to more-local medieval sites.

The 1st talk is on Canterbury Cathedral – part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and mother church of the Anglican Communion, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Speakers are Peter Goodrich, Peter Hatfield and Peter Gateley. For further details, please refer to the Church History Group Page.

Trustees Open Forum

Following the success of last year’s Open Forum at Horizons, the Trustees now announce that there will be another Open Forum at Horizons on Thursday 23 January 2020 at 10.30.

All members are welcome. Please come along and air your views or ask questions on how our U3A is run.

We welcome your opinions and suggestions. Please put this is your diary now!

This Forum will be held in the Ormskirk Room, so there will be no Book Stall on this occasion due to space restrictions.

Search for a new Musical Director

We are a very friendly, sociable group with 35 Members and like to sing a wide range of music including; Musical Theatre, Folk, Sacred and Popular.  We enjoy the challenge of three part singing as well as a good unison sing-a-long at most of our sessions. We give one formal concert a year in the summer and organise the annual U3A Advent service. We are also regularly invited to sing at several local nursing homes.  We meet every Wednesday morning at Aughton Village Hall from 10 am until 12. (Broadly following school holidays).  We have a well organised team who take care of admin, finances and hall bookings.  We need someone who can inspire us, build on what we have already achieved and lead us along an exciting and rewarding musical path.

If you are interested in finding out more then please contact the U3A Choir Group Leader, Ann Henders, on 07847 364330.  Closing date for expressions of interest Tuesday, 21/1/20.

Please note there is no remuneration for this role.

Recent works

Here are some photos taken by Bill Soens of recent works by members of the Painting Group.

(Bill also produced a YouTube video of some of these works – watch it here)

Keeping fitter in 2020

The new Marketing Manager at West Lancs Leisure Services will be our Guest Visitor at Horizons on Thursday 9th January.  He is hoping to generate interest in specific U3A activities at Park Pool, Nye Bevan Pool and Burscough Sports Centre and wants to talk to members about their preferred sport.   He is in contact with the other five U3As in West Lancs so look forward to some competitive elements as well as keeping fitter and feeling better.  Come along and talk to him at the Scout & Guide HQ between 9.30 and 11.30 a.m.

Bridge

The Bridge Group are looking at running a short course in March or April 2020 for members who would like to learn how to play Bridge, or who would like to return to playing after a break from the game.  If you think you may be interested in such a course, the please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988119408 to register an interest.

Keyboard Advice

Starting Monday 13th January at 1.30 pm, Dave, our Digital Music Advisor, is inviting any U3A members who are bemused by their keyboards, to come to the Scout & Guide HQ.  Dave will happily advise what the ‘Keyboard Buttons’ are for.

You don’t have to be a member of the existing Keyboard Group, which recommences on 6th January.

A Message from the Membership Team

Advice from the Membership Team:

Maintaining accurate records for all our members on the Beacon Membership System is vital in order to keep you all informed.  Please let us know if any of your personal details change e.g. address, telephone number, email address so we can keep the database up to date and ensure you receive your monthly enews and correspondence etc.

If you become aware of a change in a member’s circumstances, please contact us so we avoid sending correspondence when it may not be appropriate.

We can be contacted via our email address: membership@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

As a Member, you can also update parts of your Beacon Membership Record for yourself.  Just ask the Membership Team for help or the Computer Advice Team who are  offering an E-Mail Computer Advice Service. The e-mail address for this service is elearning@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk . 

November 26th 2019 – mid-break meeting

Prior to starting on our exploration of medieval cathedrals of the South and South-east of England in January 2020, there will be a mid-break meeting at the Scout Hut at the usual time of 14.00 on Tuesday 26th November.

This will give the opportunity for a brief preview of the 2020 programme, including the nationally historically important Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

As a holiday treat we will whisk you abroad to look at eight medieval French cathedrals, although separated by relatively short distance we will be able to see some of the differences between English and French Gothic, as well as show regional differences within the large geographical extent of France itself.

Speakers: Peter Goodrich, Peter Hatfield and Peter Gateley

Xmas Events & Celebrations

holly

All U3A Members Invited

 

 

“Please click on links listed below for each group to view more details of the various festive events.”

 

 

November 13th – Gardening – :  Festive ideas to help decorate your home for Xmas. Christmas from the Garden. 

November 29th & 30 Drama Production – :  Come along and “taste” our recipe for  A Christmas Pudding. 

December 3rd – Local History – :  Our seasonal meeting on.   A Winters Day

December 5th – Advent Event  – :  Come along to Christ Church at 10.30 am. for the  Advent performance form the Choir and Recorder Groups

December 6th – Wine Tasting – :  Come along to our  Wine Event

December 12th – Philharmonic Visit – :  Listen to enchanting music in the beautiful St. Georges Hall Concert Room.  Xmas with Septura

December 13th – Christmas Lunch – :  Christ Church Ministry Centre.  U3A Seasonal Social Event

December 19th – Christmas Walk & Lunch – :  Garstang  Golf Club – Walking Group D
Walking Group E


Stroke Risk

Are you at increased risk of stroke?  Take our 30-Second Test.
Earlier in the year, we had a visit by the NHS Innovation Agency to our U3A Science Group.  They demonstrated a simple diagnostic tool (the MyDiagnostick!) which can pick up an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation or AF).
AF is a common complaint but one which can increase the risk of stroke in the older age group by five times, therefore identifying people at risk is very important. In many cases simple medication can be effective for the condition.
If you would like to be tested using this hand-held device, Joy Taylor, one of our U3A members will be at the Horizons coffee morning on 5th December. Come early and have your check done prior to attending the Carol Concert at Christ Church that morning. Alternatively if you would like your Group to be tested, then Joy is happy to come along to your usual meeting point when contacted by the Group Leader.  For example, many members attending a recent Table Tennis meeting, cheerfully succumbed!
Joy can be contacted on 01695 423694.

Christmas 2019 – Advent Event

Our U3A Choir gave a sincere and heartfelt Advent Performance on Thursday 5th December at Christ Church which marked the beginning of the Christmas season.  It was an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to have a good sing!  Once again we asked for donations for the Ormskirk Food Bank and members were very generous.  The Recorder Group  also  performed at this event.

At the end of December, the choir also sang at Aughton Park and Ince Blundell Nursing Homes where we were very warmly welcomed.  This is now a Christmas tradition for us and it is lovely to see familiar faces.  Sadly, Christmas saw the retirement of our Musical Director, Duncan Roberts.  We said a fond farewell to him and wish him all the best for the future.

Local “Dementia Therapy” Course

Age UK Lancashire is launching a brand new service in West Lancashire for people living with mild to moderate dementia.

Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (MCST) is a 12 weekly programme designed for people living with mild to moderate dementia and is the only non-drug treatment recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to improve cognition, independence and wellbeing.  Taking place in a safe group environment, participants will take part in meaningful and stimulating activities designed to maintain or increase levels of mental functioning, independence and happiness.

The initial pilot course is available to older veterans (born before 1st January 1950) living in the West Lancashire area.

Visit our website for more information:  https://www.ageuk.org.uk/lancashire/our-services/maintenance-cognitive-stimulation-therapy/

We expect a high level of interest from potential participants, due to limited places please register your interest early to avoid disappointment.  The waiting list for future courses is now open.

 To find out more or to make a referral to dementia services please call Age UK Lancashire on 0300 303 1234 or email referrals@ageuklancs.org.uk

A Film of a Book about Pie?

Come along to the Film Appreciation Group, Monday morning, 28th October to see:

The Guernsey Literary Meat and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018).

This is an historical romantic drama based on the book of the same name. In the aftermath of WW2, a writer forms an unexpected relationship with the residents of Guernsey. The film has wartime pathos, mystery and stunning photography.

 

Missing Guillotine

Have you seen or used the Guillotine that usually resides in the Scout & Guide HQ?  It has disappeared in the last few weeks.  It’s quite a large one so not easily missed or hidden from view.  Contact the Secretary  if you have any ideas on where it might be lurking.

A Tower with a View

Heritage Open Day in Christ Church, Aughton on Saturday 21 September. Church Tower open for viewing  and a talk on Christ Church History  given by U3A member, Peter Goodrich.  See the Parish Newsletter and also Posters in the Christ Church Ministry Centre