Hear this page!
Last year ended on a successful note with the creation of our new website, featuring the lively Advent calendar, and a special coffee morning with live music. As I wrote in December, with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, it may be possible to return to holding meetings indoors later this year. Until then, however, our u3a activities will continue to depend on making the best of our technology.
Although many of us have found the current situation difficult, it has created a unique opportunity to develop new online skills. Sometimes we learn most through trial and error – as my failed attempt last month to create a personalised email to you all demonstrated so clearly!
Without our customary face-to-face contact and the commitment of a meeting date in the diary, I know it is difficult to keep fully involved in u3a activities. However, it is mutual support and shared learning that makes our movement so special and dynamic. Although I’m not normally a fan of New Year resolutions, I’d like to encourage you, in 2021, to be as proactive as possible. You can do this not only by supporting your convenors and other u3a members in their endeavours, but also by making a habit of looking at the website to see what other groups are doing. For instance, you can check out all the latest reading lists of the book groups, read work by members of the creative writing group, or admire and comment on photographs and artwork posted on the website. You can catch up on PowerPoint presentations or the text of talks you may have missed, and even contribute to the website yourself by submitting a news item, if you think the topic may interest your fellow members.
This column has primarily been about re-energising our u3a. However, other organisations are finding it challenging to keep members engaged during this period. One in particular is the Townsend House Trust. In a normal year, about 60% of its room bookings are for u3a activities, which means that most Townsend House users are u3a members. Eileen Ann Moore has asked me to remind as many of you as possible to renew your subscription to the Friends of Townsend House or become a new member in order to support this worthwhile organisation. Contact Eileen Ann for more details, to make a donation, or to ask for a membership application form.
John Batt, January 2021