From the Chair – November 2021

By | November 28, 2021
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2021 has been another turbulent year of change and uncertainty.  And, as I said last month, things will never be quite the same as they were before the pandemic struck.  After spending some time considering our programmes for the rest of our u3a year, your committee has concluded that any plans we make must fit under the heading ‘Adapting to Covid’.

To find out how we might adapt the monthly coffee morning system that has worked well for over 20 years, we have decided to trial a new model of meetings for our membership as a whole.  As you will have seen on the front page of this month’s newsletter, what we propose is to continue to hold an illustrated talk once a month – and also a separate social coffee morning.  The talk will continue to be held on the third Thursday of the month (except August and December, of course) and will take place via Zoom.  This will mean we can continue to enjoy talks from a wide choice of excellent speakers, no matter how far away from West Somerset they happen to live.

As well as providing a virtual home-based presentation open to anyone using IT, this approach also creates an opportunity for members who don’t have internet access or who aren’t confident IT users to gather in small groups in someone’s home to share and discuss the talk.  I therefore encourage those of you who are comfortable ‘Zoomers’ to invite along others who aren’t so tech savvy to enjoy the presentation together.

However, we recognise that a proper coffee morning – one at which we can chat and actually drink coffee together! – is central to the core ethos of the u3a.  We are, therefore, going to trial various venues and days to see how best we can continue to develop the social side of u3a membership.  Details of the first social coffee morning are on page 1 of the Nov/Dec Newsletter.  At first, it’s probably going to be enough to have the opportunity to be in the same room again with fellow members and to catch up on each other’s news.  However, the committee is considering whether these gatherings would benefit from having a focus such as a trading table, book/plant swaps or, occasionally, brief informal presentations by members, for instance.  If you have any comments or other ideas for enhancing these coffee mornings, please get in touch with me or one of the committee members. 

Unfortunately, ‘Adapting to COVID’ will have an impact for us all as individual members.  While Townsend House can accommodate small groups, the need to keep up Covid precautions means that the rooms there will no longer suit the larger groups that have used them in the past.  In moving to a different venue with more suitable space and ventilation, there may be unavoidable changes for some groups.  If individuals are affected by such moves, I hope you will understand and do your best to adapt.  Sometimes a change that is unpopular at first makes us think differently about our priorities and can lead to positive changes to our lives that we might not otherwise have considered possible.

In looking forward to 2022, therefore, we shall find opportunities to refresh and refine our u3a, but success in the changes we make will very much depend on your involvement and support.

John Batt

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