Update on U3A activities in 2020


Hello everyone

On Easter Saturday the Management Committee had its first meeting since the AGM on 6 March. Because we could not safely or legally meet face-to-face, we decided to use Zoom software and conduct the meeting as a ‘virtual’ gathering.

Although most of the Committee had no previous experience with Zoom, the meeting proceeded very well. That it did so was largely due to the work done by Ernie Moules, our IT Coordinator, to organise and host the session, which lasted more than an hour. The Zoom software was easy to use and required hardly any input from the participants.

One thing the committee decided was that it should provide members with its views about how and when our U3A might safely restart its activities in 2020. Given the likely progression of the disease, the committee agreed that there is no realistic possibility that we can go back to normal operations before the end of Term 2. Subject to changes in the advice issued by the government’s health authorities, however, it might be possible to hold some of our usual activities in Term 3, which begins in late July. The Committee will be keeping the matter under review, and will inform members of any developments through TownCrier.

Because of the ease with which the Committee was able to use Zoom for its meeting, the Committee felt that before Term 3 begins, we should explore whether it might be feasible to arrange for any of our activities to be conducted using Zoom. It might, for example, be possible for some book groups, language or history classes to get together that way. While that would not be as good as meeting face-to-face, it would at least provide an opportunity for members to resume acquaintances, chat in a group situation and learn more about subjects of interest to them. The U3A Singers have already been using Zoom, and have been delighted with it! We invite tutors to get in touch with our Course Coordinators to see if they might be able to make use of Zoom to run virtual classes, while the restrictions remain on face-to-face gatherings.

It might also be helpful to everyone if members and tutors were to tell the rest of us about anything they might have been doing to keep in touch with other class members, while they have been self-isolating. Sending photographs to each other, composing poetry and emailing links to documents come to mind, but members might have other good ideas as well.

Another thing which will be occupying the Committee’s attention in the period leading up to our May meeting is a review of our key documents – our Constitution, Rules, Committee Handbook and so on. While our ordinary business is on hold, now is an ideal time to bring these documents up to date. If any members would like to contribute to this work, that would be welcome. Just let any of the Committee members know that you would like to contribute.

And in the meantime, please stay safe and well, everyone.

Ross Thomas,