Groups 2014 – An Overview
We started this year with 27 groups and ended with the same number but with 5 changed subjects. The losses were: Modern Technology, Twiggy Group, Film Club, Bookworms and Music for Pleasure. Those we gained are Architecture, two Needlework & Patchwork Groups, a second Table Tennis group and Walking. Although strictly not a group we have also got the addition of a ‘drop in’ Coffee Morning at the Victoria Inn.
So what will happen in 2015? How will we make our U3A progress and remain vibrant? According to my records we have these numbers of members interested in the following:
Family History (10); Travel, Outings, Theatre etc (28); a second Gardening Group (15); another Book Group (10); Appreciation of the Arts and Antiques (10); Music (10)
We have a comprehensive diversity of groups but it was pointed out on a recent questionnaire that we lack Languages (we only have French). Although we have occasional theatre trips and outings, we do not appear to have a specific group/person to deal with them. Also we lack an appreciation group covering art, music, antiques etc; it would be good also if we could see a way to revive the Music Group: although Derek has already tried several ways of doing this, your suggestions would be welcome. There are enough members interested in Family History to form a new group and there are also enough interested members to form both another Book Group and another Gardening Group.
The U3A national website tells us that its approach to learning is “learning for pleasure”, and Interest Groups provide this. For each group there needs to be a convenor or, as we call them, a group leader who are the lifeblood of the U3A. We all enjoy our groups and to keep our U3A growing we need to enable those wanting to join groups to do so. Recently at a U3A Association Meeting there were many questions asked and discussed and one of these was ‘How do you get new group leaders?’ – it turns out most U3As struggle with this and nobody had an answer. Maybe people think it is an arduous task – but it doesn’t have to be: for example our French Group has a leader, but each week (yes, it does meet weekly) one group member hosts the group and organises the morning’s session and the next week another and so the workload is shared between all members and functions perfectly well even when the leader is absent. Another way of reducing the leader’s duties is to have joint leaders, as in the Bird & Wildlife Group.
If you feel you could help set up a group there is plenty of help available from the committee, the current group leaders and myself and even those already members of current groups (book or gardening) could assist in helping set up another group. To get the ball rolling for 2015 I shall start by trying to get together all those interested in forming a second Gardening Group and hope you will meet me at the Coffee Morning at the Victoria Inn this coming Tuesday 13th January at 11.00; so please come along and also anyone else that can give advice and encouragement would be welcome – in fact anyone at all.
There is a questionnaire on the pages overleaf and if you could fill this out it would help with the way the groups and our U3A can progress and at future monthly meetings there will be a Comments Book available for you to add any comments you wish to make – we value your input.
Many thanks for reading this and as the U3A is a self-help organisation only we together can make it what we want it to be. A Happy New Year you all,
Diane Caulkett(for Open Day 2015)