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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 together.

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 Natt

Immediate action taken…

General Meetings - the general meeting on Tuesday 17th March was cancelled.
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 is CANCELLED.

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

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 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…

Tony Natt

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