Hear this page!
It’s now 12 months since many of us were at the Baptist Church drinking coffee, chatting to each other and listening to a talk about beavers on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate. Since then we have learned so much! New words and phrases have entered our lexicon: Covid; Zoom; social distancing; the ‘new normal’… Familiar expressions – such as stay safe, vaccination, and be kind – have taken on new significance. And there has been a great deal of change in our social behaviour. We have been encouraged to eat out, to stay at home, to stop hugging friends and relatives, and to take avoiding action when coming across people out walking. For me the most surprising change of behaviour is that we may now only go into a bank or post office if we’re wearing a mask over our faces!
Change management is a science on its own. This cartoon sums up in reverse where we are today. We cannot refer to COVID as a magical moment, for it is simply horrendous, but its impact on changing our behaviour has brought us some great new opportunities and challenges.
We have helped members to become IT competent when earlier they didn’t think they needed to know. Of necessity, we have learned how to keep in touch with family and friends through various social media platforms.
About half our u3a members now use our Zoom links. For our coffee mornings, using Zoom has allowed us to invite speakers from anywhere in the UK.
However, the most magical change for us is our new website – the result of much very real hard work on the part of our web team members. To continue the magical analogy, our website is an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. Recommended books to read, poetry, short stories, and photographs abound. There are forums to post in, and the opportunity to share projects we’ve worked on, and even to watch recorded presentations. You don’t need a genie – or to be an IT genius – to access the website, although you do need to register in order to enjoy all the benefits that are only open to registered members, including the chance to add to its treasures.
That’s enough of that! Next month I shall no doubt return to my usual themes of the need for more committee members to come forward, news of the annual membership fee, the opportunity in June to take part in a National u3a Day, and other organisational matters. But this month I strongly urge all our online members to take a magical journey into our new website.
John Batt, February 2021