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From the Chairman

As well as being Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th was the day of an excellent Group Leaders’ meeting, organised by Cashy Smith, our Groups Co-ordinator. 23 Group Leaders (approx. half our total) representing some 31 groups attended. The format was very informal with each GL giving a quick description of their activities plus some examples of good and not so good aspects of their group. As Chairman I find these meetings really useful to learn more about the groups and to help me recognise more and more Group Leaders. Even better is the inspiration I get from hearing the commitment of the GLs, some over many, many years. The most commonly used word during the meeting was FUN! I think at least three-quarters of the GLs there used this word during their description of their group’s activities, and I think it is wonderful that members are having so much fun as part of the learning aspect of their group. It certainly fits with the new strapline for U3A…Learn, Laugh, Live.

As part of the meeting, I had hoped to go through the strategic plan developed by the committee over the past months, but time wouldn’t allow more than an extremely brief summary. However, two aspects of the plan fit extremely closely with some of the common themes coming from the GLs’ discussions. These are continuity planning and creation of more groups. I asked the GLs present to help with these two themes and, via this article, I would include all other GLs not present to please contribute where relevant. Continuity Planning – as you are all aware, committee roles are time limited to three years (except Treasurer at six years) and so there is always a steady turn-over of people needed to fill committee positions. GLs can be important “eyes and ears” to help identify potential candidates (but this can also come from any member) and suggestions/offers to help on the committee are always welcome. Don’t forget the many other (non-committee) roles that may become vacant at any time.

Creation of new groups – our total membership continues to rise, and this of course puts pressure on our current groups in terms of size. This pressure can build for several reasons; indoor groups may have filled the available space in someone’s home or at the rented room; language groups may be following a particular learning book which is difficult to join in once the group has progressed; outdoor groups may get too large to fit into the pub at lunchtime!! So, we need to create more new groups so that we are able to offer new members the choice that keeps them as long-term members. I have asked all GLs please to share their waiting lists with Cashy so that we can be more aware of when there are enough people interested in a subject but can’t get into full groups, or enough people are interested in a new subject, to then co-ordinate the creation of a new group.

Of course, creation of new groups will also require new GLs to step forward and take on this important role… it’s not that daunting, and help will be available at all stages including a new Group Leaders’ Handbook which is under development…watch this space.

Tony Natt

We are delighted to welcome a further 15 new members this month

Forthcoming meetings-

November 19th - Passports, Assassins, Traitors and Spies - Martin Lloyd

December 17th - The Cirencester Parish Hand Bell Ringers

See the Events Diaryfor a more detailed list of meetings

Meetings held in the Ashcroft Centre, at 2.30 pm on the third Tuesday of the month unless otherwise stated.


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