I hope you are all still well and not getting too frustrated with this lockdown. I must admit, I haven’t noticed too much difference since the slight easing was announced last week, but a short visit to a garden centre did at least give some variety to the new routine.
Another committee meeting was held on May 19th, the date originally set to be our AGM. The new phase of lockdown was discussed and the conclusion was that it makes little difference to the way we are currently operating our U3A. The strong advice is that we must continue to follow and respect government advice and there will therefore still be no meetings for the foreseeable future. However, we do intend trying to hold the July General meeting virtually…see details below. We also finalised the annual Trustees Report which covers the membership year 2019/20 and this would have been read out at the AGM; it will be now be published on our website over the next few days for you all to read.
Two members of the committee ended their term of office, Alex Nisbet as Treasurer and Rachel Ward as Vice Chairman. As there was only one nomination for each vacancy, Robert Lang (Treasurer) and Anne Vardy (Vice Chair) were formally co-opted onto the committee in those roles. I’m sure you would all like to join me and the remaining committee members in sincerely thanking Alex for his 6 years and Rachel for her 3 years of excellent dedication in keeping our U3A running smoothly within National Office, Charity Commission and Government rules and policies, and financially healthy so that membership subscription can remain at £10 for another year.
New Committee for 2020/21
Chairman – Tony Natt
Vice Chair – Anne Vardy
Treasurer – Robert Lang
Business Secretary – Andrew Williams
Membership Secretary – Ian Harvey
Groups Co-ordinator – Cashy Smith
General Meetings – the live general meetings due to be held on June 16th and July 21st are cancelled. However, the speaker who was booked for July 21st is Zoom enabled and is willing to be our guinea pig in trying to hold the General meeting via Zoom video-conferencing. I will send out an invite nearer the time to all members to join this meeting. Any member wanting to listen to James Taylor speak and watch his presentation about “Brilliant British humour in the forgotten art of the postcard” has plenty of time to learn about Zoom or ask for help in doing so. If this is successful, we will try to move to this format each month assuming the booked speaker is willing and able to do so.
AGM – the Annual General Meeting planned for May 19th is postponed until August 18th.
Group Meetings – live meetings are still cancelled, but Birdwatching and Gardening are adding to the list of those going virtual.
As you are aware, our full monthly newsletter was cancelled when all other events were cancelled, being replaced by this short news sheet pro tem. As soon as enough events return to our diaries (starting with the July virtual general meeting) and/or if Group Leaders and other members can submit enough copy to make the newsletter worthwhile, we will of course re-introduce it. Think about this and if enough copy can be collected for a July or August issue, then we could re-introduce it around then.
For those members already using Zoom video-conferencing, please note that there will be an enforced software upgrade to version 5 before joining any meeting after May 30th. This should only take a couple of minutes but log on a little earlier to get this done unless you do the upgrade before the deadline. If you are unsure, help is available with this upgrade at the Zoom Guidance page on our web-site, at www.cirencesteru3a.org.uk.
If you do not have access to a PC, lap-top or tablet, then you can join meetings by phone, again guidance is given at the link above. (Please pass this last information on to any member you know who has limited IT access).
In the latest edition of the NO newsletter, the following statement is made by the U3A Chief Executive, Sam Mauger…
"…Some members have been asking about whether it is time to resume some face to face meetings. It is really important that we all continue to follow the government and NHS guidance. The U3A movement has been guided throughout this time by that advice and should continue to do so – for the safety and wellbeing of all our members. We have been advised by our insurers that this is crucial from a public liability insurance perspective…”
There was also a statement from our insurers, dated 20.5.20…
“All U3A activities should have an appropriate risk assessment / checklist to ensure they are safe for U3A members to participate in. Government input about Covid19 is central to any risk assessment and given the advice remains “stay at home as much as possible” and “limit contact with other people” it follows that face-to-face U3A activity should not be undertaken at present. The government reasons for leaving home remain very limited and do not include for leisure activities such as provided by the U3A”
Could I please again encourage you to sign up directly to the NO newsletter.
KEEP WELL – STAY SAFE
- If any member or Group Leader is in telephone contact with a member who does not have email facilities, could they please make these members aware of the content of this news sheet as we do not have access to printing facilities at this time. Thank you.