Thinking back to early March when the first signs of the pandemic were building, who can honestly say that they thought we would be in this position 6 months later? But things are improving…we can visit friends, family, grandchildren, we can go to the shops, restaurants, etc., we can even go abroad if we want to relinquish the small freedoms we have when we get back! However, it’s all in moderation, small gatherings, social distancing, using face coverings, not “normal” life yet.
So it is with our U3A. We can’t open everything and do as we did 6 months ago, but we are restarting more and more groups, albeit with restrictions in place. The outdoor groups are doing best at the moment, with Walking, Petanque, Birdwatching, Golf, and Cycling groups meeting up outdoors with smaller numbers, and I think Gardening is starting as well. Indoor groups are also trying their best to restart in one way or another, with outdoor gazebos being used as well as the now ubiquitous Zoom.
Overall, we have over 32 groups out of 57 meeting in one way or another…that’s over 50%, so well done everyone and let’s keep pushing for the others as well.
Meetings indoors with more than 2 households involved are still not allowed under government regulations so that clearly is a problem for 15 of our groups, but even if they wanted to move to community venues, these are few and far between at the moment. As an organisation, we make use of 14 venues, many by just 1 group, and many of these are open. But 3 of the larger venues (St Lawrence Hall, The Waterloo, and the Ashcroft Centre), which would normally accommodate 16 of our groups plus our Monthly meeting, are not yet open for business. Even if they were, the numbers allowed to use them, with correct social distancing, are quite low. For instance, the Ashcroft Centre main hall where we would hold our monthly meeting will only accommodate 32 people when it does open, so it’s not very attractive for us to restart the monthly meeting on that basis.
However, rest assured that we (Committee members and Group Leaders) are all trying to find the best and safest way forward to re-open our U3A as quickly as possible.
Thank you to those who attended the AGM in August. We did not have a quorum but by holding the AGM we did comply with one of the Charity Commission rules which is to hold this meeting once a year, and not more than 15 months from the previous meeting. There were no objections to the committee nominees, although it was noticed that we had broken the rules by having one nominee proposed and seconded by committee members which is against our constitution. This has now been corrected and the proposer and seconder now come from the membership. My apologies.
Last month’s newsletter was great, full of information and articles. However, I’ve been warned by this month’s editor that there are very few articles and a full newsletter is not possible. On this basis it was decided to not go to print but to send out by email only. Filling the newsletter is not the responsibility of the editor…if you want a newsletter to continue, then articles need to be submitted. Any of your interests or lockdown exploits outside of U3A are equally welcome to your group reports within U3A.
I’ll shortly be sending out the invitation to join our general meeting via Zoom on Tuesday September 15th when we will hear from Tom Way and see some of his magnificent animal photographs. It is my wedding anniversary and my son’s birthday on that day, so if I can make it I am sure that you can…I look forward to seeing many of you there.
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.