Message from the Chairman

By | October 25, 2020

U3A ACTIVITIES  – From your Chairman, Alan Starkie

You do not need me to tell you about the restrictions that have been placed upon us during the Covid pandemic. The restrictions have also put a halt to our normal U3A activities, which we have all previously enjoyed.

Your Committee and Trustees have, over the last six months, endeavoured to formulate a plan that would allow certain groups to re start under the prevailing rules at the time. As the rules are changed and the virus increases in severity, any plans for face-to-face meetings in the near future are now very much on hold.

Meanwhile, the way forward is for us to be a “Virtual” U3A.

Some groups have already started Zoom meetings in order to keep in touch with their members.  In order to facilitate this and to broaden its use by more groups, we have now purchased a 24/7 Zoom licence.

This means that instead of meetings lasting for about 40 minutes, as per the personal channel, they can now last for as long as is required.   Group leaders will be informed how this will work and they will no doubt contact you in the near future to encourage you to participate.

Our Treasurer, Derrick Fewings, using experience gained throughout his working life, has formulated an approach to restarting activities and the associated risk assessment.   This will enable the restarting of face-to-face activities as circumstances change in the future. Again, Group leaders will be heavily involved in this process and they in turn will keep you fully informed.

Things will change.

We cannot expect to continue, “as was” before all this upheaval started in March.

We may have to change our meeting venues and times and how we run our meetings under stricter hygiene precautions but…


Footnote – from Chairman of Trustees, Sue Watkinson

Our members who are now ‘Zooming In’ are leading the field.  All over the country u3a members are developing creative ways of keeping in touch and moving their group activities forward.  I’ve been enjoying the Creative Writing Group via a private 40 minute link since early on in lockdown and we’ve now taken up a two-hour slot on the new  u3a system.   At the moment it’s free for members.

Among others,   Italian groups have kept up their language skills, Musical Theatre and Drama are active and some monthly groups are meeting for discussion, poetry, book reading and Shakespeare.  Congratulations to all group leaders and members who have kept contact during these long months whether it is by email, digital meetings or the good old fashioned telephone.

Zooming In can give great social contact.   Our new licence gives 24/7 access so why not have an evening or weekend meeting?  It gives time to catch up, share experiences, plan and get ready to start up again.

I’ve always been proud of our u3a and I still am.    It has meant so much to me in retirement.   If there’s an opportunity to try a new technique for you to enjoy it in a different way, why not say yes.

Keep safe, stay well and see you all soon.