U3A THAMES VALLEY NETWORK

Representatives’ meeting held at Benson Parish Hall on Friday 12th February 2016

Mike welcomed all to the meeting and extended a warm welcome to Brian Baldwin, Chairmanof Milton Keynes U3A

 

Present:   Committee – Mike Price Chairman (Greater Thame),Susie Berry Vice Chairman (Ridgeway),Agnes Budagowska Treasurer (Swindon), Anne Marie Lord Secretary (Chinnor & District), Avis Furness (Reading), Gillian Le Du (Henley) and  Len Smith (Wokingham). 

Third Age Trust Pam Jones (Chairman Third Age Trust)

Representatives. John Orchard and Fay Sinai (Abingdon), Norman and Esme Dutton (Banbury), Theresa Doherty and Pam Palmer (Bracknell Forest), Ian and Josephine Wright (Carterton), Jackie Cobb and Tony Biddle (Chess Valley) , Tim Layfield and Peter Metcalf (Chiltern), Rosie Hetherington and Dorrie Oliver (Chinnor & District), Shirley Rouse and Chris Jones (Didcot), Peter Foot (Faringdon), Ann Walsh and Jill Thomms (Goring Gap), Sandra Matthews, Ali Inman and Carole Campo (Greater Thame), Elaine Parkes (Haddenham),  Anne Partridge and Sheila Allcock (Headington), Jean Myhill and Bill Teasdale (Maidenhead), Mike Davis and Brian Homary (Marlow), Brian Baldwin (Milton Keynes), John Taylor (Newbury), Jane Sellwood (Reading), Annette Thompson and Pat Fewell (Ridgeway), Peter Carey (Slough), Glenys Bettley and Rick Budagowska (Swindon), Derek Randall (Thame and District), Neil Kelly and Siobhon Griffiths (Thameside), JillProcter, Margaret Edmundson and Mike Morphy (Wallingford), Joan Ford, Hazel Townesend, Liz Woollven and Graham Fisher (Wantage and Grove), John Wiggins (Windsor and District), Pam Hares(Wokingham)

1 Apologies:   

Representatives: Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale), Tony Darbyshire and Geoffrey Glover (Chalfonts), Eric Magson (Chess Valley), Margaret Lipscomb (Oxford), DavidTippins (South Bucks), Margaret Sherrington (West Oxford) Patsy Thornton (Wokingham)   

Hilvary Robinson (Regional Trustee)

 

2 Minutes of the last meeting (30/10/2015). It was proposed that these were a correct record of the meeting proposed by: Dorrie Oliver (Chinnor & District), seconded by Elaine Parkes (Haddenham), agreed unanimously and signed.

 

3.0 Matters arising  None.

 

4.0  Chairman’s Report.

Mike thanked everyone for coming and welcomed Peter Carey from Slough U3A which hasnow joined TVN. Chipping Norton is now continuing and TVN U3As were asked to support this U3A. He also welcomed Brian Baldwin from Milton Keynes who hadcome to see what the TVN was doing.

David Chesneau, who attended the last meeting has decided not to continue as RegionalAssistant to Hilvary Robinson (SE Region Trustee). The SE Region is a large region with over 180 U3As overseen by one Regional Trustee.

Mike thanked the Committee for their support and all the reps who come to TVN meetings,those who organise events, Susie for this meeting’s lunch (now £6) and all who help serve the coffee and lunch. (NB lunches should be pre-ordered and paid for on the day.)

He noted that at the AGM new committee members will be needed.

Mike has attended two meetings recently.

1  A discussion focussing on the question “Where is the Third Age Trust going and the U3A movement” led by Pam Jones. There wasan interesting exchange of views from representatives from around the country but no conclusions arrived at. Further meetings are planned.

2 SE Region meeting for Network Chairmen and regional Volunteers. Discussionfocussed on the relationship of U3As with the Third Age Trust and communication in particular. It was felt that Networks were a conduit for communication.

Hilvary Robinson (SE Region Trustee) would like to have Regional Volunteers in placefor the SE, training would be offered to enable volunteers to have up-to-date information in order to answer questions and be available to U3As seeking help/guidance.Please contact Hilvary if you are interested.

At present a new U3A has an initial meeting and adopts a provisional constitutionfrom the third Age Trust website. It can apply for membership of the Third Age Trust after 6 months at which point subscriptions are paid and members are thenable to access the members website. Each member of the initial steering committee has a pack taken from the website, it contains all the informationnecessary. There is a Training and Development Team fully trained to help set up U3As who should be able to answer any queries that arise.

 

5.0       Treasurer’s report

Agnes circulated copies of the TVN Account Summaries for December 2015 and for theperiod 1st Jan 2015 – 15th December 2015.

5.1 The balance at month end is £8796.51 with a total of £2233.03 outstanding for WellingtonCollege and future events the cash available is £6195.98 . £2000 of this is held in reserve.

5.2 Over the year Events income was £14670.10 and Affiliation fees £1742.20. Two events over thepast year did not cover their costs while 2 events were able to accept higher numbers of delegates than anticipated and realised a surplus.

Under expenses the website host fee is shown at £45.44; for Events it is not alwayspossible to split the cost of catering and venue hire.

Total income was £16412.30  ; total expenditure  £10,777.62 ,  a surplus of £5634.68.

 

5.3 The question of affiliation fees for next year was raised. This will be discussed at the next TVN Committee meeting and brought to the AGM.

 

6.0  SE Region Trustee’s Report 12/02/2016

6.1 The Third Age Trust would like all U3as to set up generic e-mail addresses for officers as this enables easier contact. These will also make it much easier for the Network when officers change within U3As.

6.2 U3As with income of more than £5000 are required to register with the Charity Commission. AllCommittee members are then Trustees. The Third Age Trust has prepared a model Constitution that all new U3As should use. U3As with older constitutions are encouraged to look at theirs to see if anychanges would be useful.

There was some discussion around this issue and a presentation was made by Banburyunder item 9. (Please also see the note included at the end of these Minutes)

6.3 Reps are asked to encourage members to look at National and Regional Events and to participateoutside their own U3A. A National workshop is to be held in London on 16th March titled ‘Participative Learning’ and is based on ‘More time to Learn’. Group leaders would benefit from this workshop but if only one person went from a U3A they could cascadeany information to Group leaders within their U3A. Bookings can be made on the National website by going to Members area, Events, lhs Participative Learning.

6.4 Photos on the web and copyright laws. Several U3As have been caught out by not following copyright laws regarding photos on the web eg they have downloaded and used aphoto from the web in their Newsletters, published their newsletter on the web, companies trawl the web to see who is using their picture and ask for moneywhich can be quite large amounts.

U3As are advised to check permission is in place before using a photo. Whensearching for a picture on the web put “creative commons” after your title to search, the pictures that come up are copyright free. There may be other sites,too.

Comments from Reps included : Google ‘Images’, click on search tools and then ‘usagerights’ and choose ‘non-commercial reuse with modification’, or in Microsoft edge find the images as above then click on ‘Licence’ then ‘free to share anduse’

Avis commented that it pays to check the claim as reading found that the photo theyhad used was not exactly the same as the one claimed by the company pursuing them.

Use members’ photos with their permission. If photos are of people permission isneeded from those photographed before it is put on a website. Where photos of people are taken at events/places visited check that permission is made to putthis on the web and do be particularly aware of any ‘no photography’ signs!

Note that the ‘Copying’ licence allows limited copies to be made of copyrightpublications it does not cover material on websites.

6.5 A talk is available by Susan Radford from the Resources Centre free of charge. Resources are available to Groups, go to the National Website www.u3a.org.uk in the members area and look at ‘Resources’. An up-to-date catalogue is available andresources can be ordered online. (Susan is very willing to give advice)

Resources are sent to one person in the group so registration needs to be made by thatperson, they are returned after two weeks. Many U3As book 12 months ahead. Members on-line courses are also available.

6.6 U3As are encouraged to look at the SE Region website www.u3asites.org.uk/south-east for courses and events for their members.

6.7 Hilvary has had notification of French exchanges. If any U3A is interested contact Hilvary.

6.8 The Third Age Trust has negotiated a licence fee covering films from a particular distributor serving many production studios all over the world. This is included in the Capitation fee. Anadditional licence at £60 a year covers some other studios. Films shown by U3As do not have to be ‘educational’ but the session should be ‘members only’ withno charge. A charge can be made for the hall used. It is recommended that U3As check exactly what is involved if they wish to show films.

 

7.0 Chairman of Third Age Trust

Pam Jones thanked the TVN Committee for all that they do and declared that this wasthe best Network in the Region. She said that Networks are a conduit for communication which is the focus for improvement in the future. TheConstitution was last up-dated in 2008 when Regions were introduced following the pattern of Government regions. It was recognised at the time that the SE Regionwas going to be large and therefore particularly challenging with only one Trustee serving there.

Pam has set up a series of consultations to be followed up next year. She hopes towrite an article for the April edition of TAM and will be looking for reorganisation of the NEC. She hopes to present several discussion points atthe Conference/AGM and stressed that it is important that U3As and Networks are involved.

Although U3As are increasing there are still many people who have not heard of U3A. Pamsaid that the Third Age Trust does have a journalist who will specifically promote the U3A. Reps also pointed out that U3A was featured in the Radio Timesof the week of this meeting.

 

8.0 Network Activities  

8.1 Events Team Report on 2015

Jane Sellwood gave the report on behalf of Patsy Thornton.

Generally all events in 2015 were full and the final event, the Opera day, was verysuccessful..

8.2 Events for 2016 March (Staying Connected – Living with Hearing Loss), April (Kelmscott with a second dayoffered in August, also fully booked) and May (Civil War, a few places currently available, at time of this meeting. Places were originally offered tomembers who had attended the Event last year which suffered from many glitches.) are now fully or almost fully booked.

Advice is for U3As to let members know as soon as flyers come out and, if there is aninterest group that might be interested in a particular Study day to let them have the flyers promptly.

Another Study Day similar to the Civil War day is being considered.

11th June Practical Wildlife Day (moth tracking and talk) at Woolley Firs Wildlife Centre Maidenhead  led by Jon Cole (Wokingham U3A). Limited to 50 members.

21st June History of Railways at Swindon Steam Museum with free access to the museum  organised by Glenys Bettley (Swindon U3A)  Two highly recommended speakers in the morning, tours and time to view the museum in the afternoon.

15th July Learning Languages in Later Life at Benson for anyone involved in learning a language, two Third Age Trust language advisors will be speaking,arranged by Susie Berry

24th September Children’s Literature at Oxford University Press. Arranged by Fay Sinai.(Abingdon U3A)

5th.October  Wine tasting day at Benson Parish Hall

November (23rd? tba) a special combined event. Paul Inman of Oxford Brookes University has offered tohost a day for U3A members and his own students. The theme may be “Robots and artificial intelligence”, he will organise the speakers. There will be amaximum of 150 places for U3A members. Recommended transport is to use the 400 Park and Ride bus from Seacourt P&R or Thornhill P&R

 

The next Events Team meeting will be on 16th March current organisers will be there and if you have any ideas for events/study days pleaselet Patsy know, you will be very welcome too!  The meeting is likely to be at Nettlebed.

Guidelines for study day organisers will be on the website shortly. Please use the websitefor up-to-date information.

8.3 Events in 2017

The following are under consideration: Social history of the Thames Valley at theRiver and Rowing Museum, Henley, Crime and punishment in the 17th Century, Gilbert and Sullivan, a 2nd Wildlife day, a day looking at craft activities including flower arranging, Cryptic crossword workshop(suggested by Oxford U3A)

 

Suggestions were requested for the Network training day/workshop run with funding by theThird Age Trust.

Suggestions included a day for U3A Treasurers, areas of organisation and the Beacon system.

Pam Jones pointed out that the Beacon System which is a management support systemhas not been adopted by the Third Age Trust because of legal implications, there is concern at present regarding hacking. This will be put on the addendafor the next Reps meeting and if considered appropriate could be included in a training day.

 

9.0 Network Information

9.1 Contacts List   Please keep Mike up-to-date at present he includes the e-mail address and telephonenumber if given. It is incumbent upon U3As that whoever receives e-mails from TVN disseminates or acts upon the information.

 

9.2 Speaker’s Database  This has been up-dated and will be sent out shortly. Please let Avis or Mike know of any changes/feedback especiallyany new speakers.

 

9.3 Network Website  Len gave a short powerpoint presentation illustrating navigation of the TVN website.

www.u3atvnetwork.org.uk 

He reported that there were 364 hits in January (408 last year) and 212 inDecember (238 in Dec of previous year).

Len supports the view that generic e-mail addresses are very helpful in maintaining contact communication, herecommended gmail as a possibility.

 

 

10 Reps Open forum

i  Gill Le Du spoke about Welcome packs for new members. The Third Age Trust is preparing a leaflet for inclusion.

ii Norman Dutton raised issues from the “Constitution and Committees forum” focussing on a lack of flexibility withinthe 2012 model constitution with particular regard to length of service for U3A officers and an additional clause requiring U3As to inform the Third Age Trustof any proposed changes to existing Constitutions (to which the Trust may or may not agree).

Norman felt that the “Trust’s fixation with and promotion of short lengths of service as their ‘we know best’ versionof good practice needs challenging and debating, both for new and existing U3As”. He has written an article on the subject for inclusion in TAM, this hasbeen rejected but copies were available to Reps. for their consideration and information.

iii Research sub-committee A request was made for reps/members to form a research group to develop another project forTVN to undertake.

 

11 AOB 

11.1 Slough U3A wish to belong to TVN. Peter Carey asked what policies other U3As have for sharedtravel expenses. Advice was that there is no policy but where friends/members offer lifts personal insurance should cover passengers. There should be nocharge but passengers can offer a contribution, buy tea/coffee/lunch as appropriate. Mike will ask Lin Jonas for clarification regarding more formalorganisation of car sharing as this could be legally limiting.

11.2 Milton Keynes highlighted the problem of ensuring that training and support enables membersto access technology that is increasingly used for communication within the U3A. Reps agreed, some U3As have technology groups, postal mailings are stillused, others ask members on e-mail etc to keep those without access/skills informed, Ridgeway runs a 6-week course.

11.3 With reference to 10.4 in the last minutes (Payment of a fee to a speaker who is a member of another U3A), a unified response isneeded, Mike will clarify this with Pam.

 

Mike closed the meeting with thanks to all Reps.

 Date of next meeting Friday 29th April 2016  at Benson Parish Hall. 10am for 10.30am

 

date …………….                    Chairman ………………                                                       02/03/16

 

ADDENDUM POST MEETING

 

 Following a telephone call to Lin Jonas I should like to add the following to the minutes of our meetingon 12th February :

The new U3A constitution from the Third Age Trust:

The new constitution options have been developed specifically with newly forming U3As in mind so they can agree a constitution quickly, get their bankaccount open and start to collect membership fees.  At any time up to the first AGM they can revisit it and tweak it before it is presented to their members at an AGM.

A U3A with a pre-2012 constitution will have charitable objects, either one clause or two and theonly change allowed to this clause would be to replace it entirely with the charitable purposes clause in the current model.  This would require the prior approval of the Charity Commission and there is currently a scheme in place for U3As which wantto do just that. These are the charitable purposes of the U3A movement and they are the essence of our charitable status.  They focus solely on education, which is what the regulatory authoritiesin England and Wales and Scotland had requested, because of a tightening up in the rules on charitable benefit. The rest of the new constitution has been agreedclause by clause with the Charity Commissioners and reflects recommended good practice as acceptable good practice.

 

The new constitution requires U3As to obtain the consent of The Third Age Trust if they wish to alter their constitutions. This is to enable U3As toutilize the expertise at National Office where much time has been spent talking to the Charity Commission about what is and what is not acceptable in a charitableconstitution and also to prevent U3As introducing clauses which are ambiguous, contradictory or unworkable.

Lin stressed that all U3As are independently managed bodies, but to belong to the Third Age Trust, they agree to conform to the principles of the U3Amovement and adopt its agreed constitution.  When U3As apply for membership they agree to that and to submit proposed constitutional changes.  All the current model constitution does is to include it as a reminder.

The Charity Commission is getting much tougher on all registered charities after some of the highly publicized recent problems with some highprofile charities.

All current constitutions which U3As are using, and have been agreed with the Charity Commission, can continue in use. There is no specific need tochange them. It is only if changes are thought necessary by that U3A that they should look at the new model constitution when considering what changes theymay want to try and make.

-          They should then send the proposed changes to National Office first,

-          Then seek the approval of the Charity Commissioners if they are changing specific clauseswhich require prior approval e.g. objects, alterations to the constitution, dissolution.

-          Then get approval at an AGM or EGM for the changes,

-          Then send the new constitution to the Charity Commission to be filed

-          New U3As should utilise the new constitution as current best practice, and can get assistancefrom National Office.

I also raised the question of payment to speakers who are members of another U3A. Lin advised that the ethos of the movement is that no payment toany member should be made. Reasonable expenses are acceptable but not payments. There would not be a problem with the speaker putting out a collecting tin fortheir particular charity.

Mike Price       February 2016