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There has been quite a lot of activity from the National Office of the U3A in the last month. The Third Age Trust, which is the umbrella organisation, held their AGM on-line. Technology moment at its best – I was unable to log on, but Jan fortunately was able to and she cast our 2 votes on the various agenda items. We did, along with other U3As in the SW, oppose a fee increase on the grounds of the current situation, but the resolution to increase the fee was passed raising it by 50p for the year 2021/22 – but not £1 as another resolution proposed. They have also launched a new logo, more on that in the future, and a podcast on YouTube which is quite an interesting to listen to, if you have half an hour.
The Chairman of the U3A Trust, Ian McCannah, also produced a paper ‘Planning for the U3A Movement Post Lockdown‘. It was written using surveys and a questionnaire. I had posed a similar question in my July column but had no responses in my quest for ideas. However, this paper does give some thoughts on how we can reinvigorate our ‘offer’, looking at different ways of meeting and communicating. Two suggestions are… (i) for blended/hybrid groups, where up to 6 members can meet in a COVID safe environment and others opt to attend virtually; (ii) to develop new activities and processes adapted to social distancing.
The principle of Lifelong Learning is at the heart of the U3A and the current situation has created this opportunity to learn about technology, and it is provoking us to find ways we can continue to follow our interests with like-minded people. The IT champions are a new group exemplifying this, offering their skills and expertise whilst taking on the challenge, as a team, to develop a new website that will help us all. If you have any thoughts or ideas for new groups, or how we can re-energise our existing ‘offer’, then please get in touch.