From the Chairman
From the Chairman
Dear Members, We are now about 2 weeks on from the cancellation of our last
general meeting, unfortunately 2 weeks of social and physical distancing and
for many or most of us, self-isolation. I do hope that you are keeping safe and
well during this very difficult period and finding some things to do to keep
brain and body active. I am very conscious that now is the time when, ideally,
an organisation such as the U3A should be helping to minimise the social impact
of such "confinement to barracks" but I hope you agree that there
really was no option but to cancel everything we do which involves congregating
Since I asked the Group Leaders to suspend their group activities, a number of
them have been thinking of ways to continue contact among group members and I
know of at least 3 groups that are now progressing towards using video
conferencing. I hope this sort is something that can be quickly rolled out to
all members who want to keep involved. We can then think of Cirencester U3A as
not being "closed", but being open while operating in a different
way; there is more on this under Virtual Meetings.
Below I have summarised the action taken so far to meet all government
guidelines regarding Covid-19, a catch-up on what has been happening in the
meantime, and some thoughts for the immediate future. I end with sincere good
wishes for your health and wellbeing over the coming weeks, and I'll keep in
touch regularly until we can once again open our doors and meet in person. Tony
Immediate action taken
General Meetings - the general meeting on Tuesday 17th March was
Group Meetings - all Group Leaders were asked to immediately suspend all
group activities until further notice.
Meeting rooms - all rooms, halls, sports facilities, etc, bookings were
cancelled until at least the end of May.
National Office - all NO activities have been cancelled or postponed,
for example, the Cotswold Link AGM which we were to host in March, the Summer
schools, the U3A Day for June 3rd is put back provisionally to October 1st. All
staff at NO are working remotely from home and so the telephone lines are open
but likely to be very busy.
Decisions for the immediate future
General Meetings - the general meeting due to be held on April 21st
AGM - the general meeting due to be held on May 19th is CANCELLED, while
the Annual General Meeting planned also for that day will be POSTPONED. The
content of this AGM (Agenda, Trustees Report, Financial Report, Election of
Officers, etc) will still be put together so that it represents our normal end
of year and to ensure there is an operational committee to take us forward into
2020/21. The AGM will be rescheduled for August 18th (subject to latest
Government advice) to go through this content and ratify any decisions that may
have been taken in the meantime.
Newsletters - editions for April and May will be not be published;
please do not send any items for publication during this period to our magazine
editors. However, I intend to publish a news sheet such as this one as
frequently as necessary to keep you all up to date. If you have any urgent news
for members that you like to put in the next news sheet, please send it
directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoughts for the near future
AGM - the key thing here is that we have a full committee to take us
forward from May 2020. Any nominations are still required to be submitted to
the Business Secretary by April 21st latest. If need be, send an email to
Andrew with the nomination (including names of proposer and seconder) and we
can process the paperwork with signatures for the records at a later date.
Committee - we are in regular contact (by email) and by early May will
formally review the latest Government advice with regards to potential
meetings, or not, as the case may be. Rest assured, we will only re-introduce
face-to-face meetings when it is completely safe to do so and in accordance
with all government advice.
Virtual meetings - (eg. contact within Groups, contact across Groups,
Committee meetings) a small working party is being put together to plan how to
include as many members as possible in the use of video conferencing, and in
particular one called Zoom. This would allow all the members of that group to
meet on-line and to see and talk to each other, thereby continuing their group
discussions almost business as usual. Unfortunately, this will not necessarily
help such groups as walking, petanque or walking netball, but with some
creative thinking by the group members, some other activity-based groups such
as Tai Chi, Quilting, Art, etc, may be able to make use of the system. Very
early days, but this will be driven forwards very quickly.
Members - of course, any ideas from members about how to keep in touch
with each other, how to keep groups active, starting a new virtual group, etc,
etc, will be welcomed with open arms. Please send your idea to me to either
point you to the right person to help, or to just advertise it among the
membership. As an example, the Yoga group are receiving a weekly exercise sheet
from their Group Leader.
National Office - The NO web-site on www.u3a.org.uk/ is very useful and
where you will also find their latest advice on coronavirus. National Office's
main form of communication nowadays is via a regular newsletter which is
available to all members, and I do recommend that you sign up for it on