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Hello Members,

Where did the last month go? It seems just a few days since writing for the January edition! I do wonder if time really does speed up during a pandemic…

Anyway, hopefully there has been enough time for a large number of you to have your Covid inoculation…I’m still waiting for mine, but hopefully I’ll be invited during the next month.

The next committee meeting is on February 18th and high on the agenda will be a discussion about membership fees. This topic is not straightforward at the moment. Last year (pre-AGM) we had decided that the subscription should remain at £10 for 2020/21, but be increased to £12 for 2021/22, i.e. from April 1st this year, to cover the increased costs levied by National Office. However, with so little happening last year, this increase seemed unreasonable and the committee decided in December that the increase should be postponed. The question now is whether even £10 is reasonable. What you may not realise, however, is that National Office are still asking for their annual dues which are based on the number of members, so we have to pay these anyway and this is a significant proportion of the £10. But rest assured that we will look at all scenarios and come to a fair conclusion that leaves the finances in a healthy position to guarantee the future of our u3a.

We will also discuss the AGM which is due in May 2021, and look at the future structure of the committee to meet the needs of our u3a post-Covid. We are approximately 100 members down on last year at the moment and clearly there needs to be a focus on improving this situation. National Office will be initiating a large publicity campaign and recruitment drive once gatherings are allowed again and this will require some focus from a (new?) committee member. This is in addition to the replacements I mentioned last month.

I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the many warnings currently in the news about cybercrime. Scams are increasing dramatically during these Covid lockdown times, coupled with the huge increase in on-line and telephone banking and purchasing. We need to be extra vigilant and I guide you to a (genuine!) government web-site on this topic at

https://cfa.nhs.uk/resources/downloads/fraud-awareness/covid-19/COVID-19_SMS_and_Text_Message_Scams.pdf.

Also, if you look on our own web-site and go to the menu item 'Zoom and Technical' you will find the addition of two documents written by one of our own members who is an IT expert. These will guide you at two levels: one document suggests improvements we can make to our own behaviours on-line and on our mobile phones, and the second is aimed at members with a little more IT prowess. This one suggests what software solutions we could use to improve our security. Of course, you should also contact the relevant authorities if you are at all suspicious on https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Stay safe in all respects.

Tony Natt – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.