U3A THAMES VALLEY NETWORK AGM
held at the Sports Hall, Watlington, courtesy of Ridgeway U3A,
on Friday 20th April 2012
Present: Pam Jones – Chairman (Witney) Trustee South East Region, Agnes Budagowska Treasurer (Swindon), Len Smith (Wokingham), Ann Mary Ware (Marlow), Anne Marie Lord (Chinnor & District), Susie Berry (Ridgeway), Anne Gould, Pauline Nuttall and June Morris (Abingdon), Shirley Stokes and Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale), John Haywood and Bob Mann (Banbury), Christine Cox (Bicester), Pam Palmer and Tony Fulford (Bracknell Forest), Peter Metcalf and Allan Ferrier (Chiltern), Molly Milner and Diane Carver (Chinnor & District), Ian Clarkson (Faringdon ), Ann Cooper and Ann Atkins (Greater Thame), John Brandis and Kevin Nash (Haddenham), Ruth Waddle and Val Ryan (Headington), Barbel Cheesewright and Nadia Ellis (High Wycombe), Vina Orso and Harry Burnham (Maidenhead), Mike Davies (Marlow & District), Avis Furness and Fadela Bird(Reading), Jacky Wagstaff, Pat Fewell, Angela Jacob (Ridgeway), Jeanie Dickie(Swindon), Peggy Miles and Derek Randall (Thame & District), Neil Kelly (Thameside, Wallingford), Hermione Whitehouse (Wallingford), Clare Balme and Gordon Balme (West Oxford), Valerie Palmer and Shirley Rawlings (Witney), Barry A Byrne and Richard Hughes (Wokingham), Clare McKinley (Woodstock)
Apologies: Mike Price (Greater Thame), Peggy Penfold (Bicester), George Hunter (Chinnor & District), Cath Wallace (Faringdon), David Vincent (Goring), Frank Metcalf (Greater Thame), Jenny Cooper (Maidenhead), Margaret Edmondson (Wallingford), Margaret Sherrington (West Oxford)
Minutes of AGM (06/05/11)
The Minutes for the AGM held on 6th May 2011 were approved and signed.
2.1 Matters Arising There were no matters arising.
A request was put forward that the agenda include the date for the Minutes that will be considered at the meeting.
The chairman was asked to include the TVN Conference where appropriate.
3.0 Network Committee Reports
3.1 Chairman (summary)
There are now 36 U3As in the Network, Chiltern U3A (Amersham) joining in 2011. The 2011 Conference hosted very efficiently by Swindon was a great success. Barbara Lewis was an inspiring speaker. Delegate numbers were, however, disappointing. Representatives were asked to encourage members to attend the 2012 Conference in Abingdon particularly as so much work goes into the planning, part of the Riverside Project exhibition will be on display and the whole day provides an opportunity for U3A members to meet. This will be the last Network Conference.
Since the last AGM there have been a number of events and study days including an Arts and Crafts Workshop, Opera day, Social History day and a Training day for committee members with Lin Jonas and Mike Long as speakers. A Bridge Tournament was cancelled due to lack of support but 5 U3As are getting together for a Jubilee quiz hosted by Carterton U3A in June. Most events have had waiting lists and the events team is working hard to pitch the cost of events per head correctly. Ann Mary and her team were thanked for all their hard work and members were thanked for participating in events. Ann Mary is standing down as leader of the Events team and Avis Furness of Reading U3A was welcomed as the new leader.
The Riverside Project continued through 2011 with a variety of activities including Swan-Upping, a Boats day and an Abingdon Activities Day, walking continued and the Project culminated in a very successful residential school in October at Wellington College. This had proved to be a Project that had many working closely together on something very worthwhile. Patsy and Avis have been talking with Berkshire Records Office about a “spin-off”.
Pam thanked the Committee for their support and explained that Martin McBride had relinquished the role of Treasurer which Mike Price took on temporarily until Agnes Budagowska was able to take on the role which she has done with great efficiency. Anne Marie Lord was thanked for being Minute Secretary and has agreed to become a full member of the committee. Len manages the website efficiently but would welcome more hits. Representatives were invited to suggest anything else that could be added. The Speaker database has been thoroughly reviewed by Martin and is significantly more manageable. The Committee works as a team in decision making for which Pam is grateful. She also thanked Susie Berry for the lunches that she prepares for meetings.
The Network needs to continue moving forward. A grant of up to £500 is available from National Office if 5 or more U3As are represented at workshops on U3A related subjects. Pam suggested that local U3As could set up computer based workshops on subjects such as setting up a website, surfing the Net for beginners etc. catering for up to 20 people. A book of poems written by members could be produced etc. etc. We need to be drawing on the talents of members.
Finally Pam thanked all the representatives for their support.
3.2 Treasurer’s report
Agnes Budagovska circulated copies of the TVN Account Summary as at 28/12/2012. On the first page BALANCE AT BANK 28-1-2011 should read BALANCE AT BANK 28-12-2011.
Agnes explained that Mike had stood in as Treasurer until the Riverside Project was completed and she was able to take over. The account summary was for 28-12-2011 as this was the first opportunity that had occurred when the accounts could be reconciled. She is now producing monthly summaries which were also circulated. The following were noted: Jan 2012 under Expenses, Venue Rental was for Wellington College; Feb 2012 there was no income but expenses caught up; March 2012 under Expenses, Venue Rental was mainly for the Opera day. The balance in March was £4497.96.
A request was made that the surplus/loss for individual events be shown. The following was readily available and reps were advised that the Riverside Project realised a surplus of £250 and the Opera day a surplus of £400.
It was suggested that with income totalling more than £5000 TVN should be registered as a charity. Richard Hughes (Wokingham) will provide references from the Charity Commission so that the Committee can look into this.
Gordon Balme (West Oxford) proposed that the Treasurer’s Report and Accounts be accepted and thanked Agnes for her work as Treasurer, Anne Gould (Abingdon) seconded this proposal which was agreed by those present.
4.0 Election of Committee
The Committee for 2011 – 2012 was as follows:
Chairman Pam Jones (Witney); Vice Chairman Mike Price (Greater Thame); Treasurer Agnes Budagovska (Swindon); Secretary (co-opted) Anne Marie Lord (Chinnor & District); Events Team Ann Mary Ware (Marlow and District); Susie Berry (Ridgeway); Martin McBride (Carterton); June Morris (Abingdon); Len Smith (Wokingham).
For 2012-2013 Mike Price, Martin McBride and Len Smith need to be re-elected as they have served 3 years. This was proposed by Witney U3A, seconded by Abingdon U3A and agreed by those present. Anne Marie Lord was proposed for election by Witney U3A, seconded by Abingdon U3A and agreed by those present. June Morris and Avis Furness have agreed to be co-opted members of the Committee.
5.1 As the Network is once again carrying a surplus it was agreed that £2000 be set aside for contingency, more expensive study days could be considered and, in order to benefit all members affiliation fees will be waived for 2012-2013.
5.2 It was agreed that all members of the Events Team should be able to attend the TVN Reps meetings.
As Regional Trustee Pam meets people from the 160 U3As in the Region and is aware of criticism of the National Office. She emphasised that the Officers and Trustees work extremely hard and are dedicated to the U3A movement. This year there will be a great deal of change on the National Executive Council as a new Chairman, a new Vice-chairman and 4 Trustees are due to be appointed. It is the NEC that makes decisions and the staff at National Office follow these through. Pam praised the staff and particularly Lin Jonas who fields many questions from U3As on a daily basis. (This was endorsed by Reps during discussions in the meeting) As membership grows she feels that staffing at National Office may also need to increase.
Trustees, too, work extremely hard and take on enormous responsibilities. Currently there is no appointed Treasurer and the Finance and Governance committee work with the accountant to keep the financial side of things moving, including dealing with the budgets for the new financial year. Pam is a member of the Development committee which is looking at ways to deal with waiting lists. Training for Regional Volunteers is about to take place to ensure that they are enabled to work to set up new U3As following a standard procedure. There is a concern that many U3As have moved away from the Objects and principles of U3A and from Charity Commission rules.
Pam said that her personal interest as Trustee was in setting up new U3As, currently she is in conversation with people in Havant, Hampshire, 2 places in Sussex and 3 places in Kent who are setting up new U3As. She would like to set one up in Didcot and appealed for help from the Network. (If you can help contact Pam).
Pam hoped that everyone had seen the Regional newsletter that she had put together. She has had favourable feed-back and a member has volunteered to set up a Regional website.
A Group Co-ordinators workshop which Pam is running is to take place in Farnham, Surrey with participants from Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Wokingham. Pam is delighted to have U3As prepared to join in activities across Network borders and is keen to encourage this.
7 Network activities
7.1 Events Team Report/Programme for 2012
i Ann Mary reported that June Morris and Avis Furness had been welcomed onto the Events Team.
ii Abingdon U3A reported on their preparations for the TVN Conference to be held on Saturday 16th June at John Mason School, Abingdon. The Conference will be free but delegates will be asked to pay £1.50 as they arrive to cover the cost of tea and coffee, however if they have chosen to pay £6.50 for a buffet lunch the tea and coffee is included.
Alex McMinn will speak on “Interactive U3A” in the morning and Beth Butler on supporting group leaders in the afternoon. Discussion groups will be “The Media” - friend or foe, “Climate Change”- myth or reality, “Speed Limits” - costs and benefits, “Modern Technology” - for or against, “Shopping” - in or out of town.
Part of the Riverside Revealed exhibition from Wellington College will be on display.
Currently 50 applications have been received, flyers and application forms were available at this meeting or they can be downloaded from the TVN website. The closing date is 5th May. An appeal was made for support given the work involved and especially as Abingdon is one of the smallest U3As in the Network.
In answer to questions from representatives Abingdon will do a mailshot. The choice of Saturday as an appropriate day for a Conference was queried but as schools/colleges tend to offer the most appropriate venues then the choice is half term/vacation or Saturday.
iii The Programme planned for 2012 is as follows:
16th June Conference at Abingdon.
14th August Training day for group co-ordinators and group leaders.
Bob Jones (Reading U3A) has offered to arrange a Jazz history study day with afternoon concert in September, to be held in Reading.
19th October Food science, Health and Wellbeing at Benson Village hall. Details will be out in May.
16th November Understanding Opera through the Operas of Mozart- this is being planned by Anthony Burdall. Venue: Rewley House, Oxford.
iv Berkshire Record Office has contacted Patsy Thornton following the success of the riverside project. They are suggesting a Historic Pathways project which will involve U3As researching local footpaths including their history but also looking at hedgerows, industry etc. The idea is to start with definitive Millennium footpath maps and work back through older maps, the historical research can take place through the winter months and actual walks can take place in the summer. An initial meeting is planned for the afternoon of 8th October at the Records Office. There will be a TVN planning meeting ahead of this date. It is envisaged that walks will take place from April to October 2013 and the project pulled together in 2014. (All subject to change).
Other County Record Offices will also be contacted so that the project extends beyond the current Berkshire County boundaries.
It was agreed that TVN will donate £50 to the October meeting to cover tea and coffee, expenses will also be covered.
7.2 Programme for 2013 (proposed):
March- History of Italian Art study day
April- Photography study day
May- Modern Novelists – book readers’ day
June- Chess Valley activities day
July- Jazz Big Band day (Bob Jones)
Sept.- High Wycombe activities day
October – Training day
November- proposed study day on Benjamin Britten ( Woodstock U3A)
Ann Mary has a back-up day available titled English Social History.
She is now standing down but remains on the Events Team.
Ann Mary was thanked for all the work she has put in to Heading up the Events Team.
7.3 Ewert House and Oxford Brookes campus at Harcourt Hill were suggested as possible alternative venues. Headington U3A’s rep will also contact Avis as Oxford Brookes are keen to participate in study days and conferences from 2013.
8 Network Information
8.1 Contacts list Mike Price has sent out the Contacts list and uses it to send out information, agendas, Minutes. Reps were asked to put any amended details on the attendance list.
8.2 Database of Speakers Martin has significantly amended the database of speakers and this has been sent out.
8.3 Network website www.u3atvnetwork.org.uk Len reported that it was not being used as much but he keeps it as up-to-date as possible. He was keen to encourage U3As to send him information.
9 Open Forum
9.1 Informal arrangements for groups to join together with groups from other U3As. No views were expressed.
9.2 Future arrangements for AGM. The AGM could be held in the morning and a speaker arranged to follow lunch. The AGM could be incorporated in a Reps Meeting.
9.3 Financial problems. Theatres still accept payment by cheque.
9.4 Memory course. Alex McMinn will be asked to bring the “U3A Memory Course “ handbook with him to the Conference in June.
9.5 Advice Sheet 11 – Induction of new U3A Trustees. Reps confirmed that this had been received and was being used.
9.6 U3A Logos Information is included on an advice sheet.
9.7 New Model Constitution This is now on the web in the members area and is available in document downloads. U3As set up before 2000 were advised to look at it.
i Reading U3A has had a problem with the U3A magazine not being received by members. They have sent their database to National Office. Pam will investigate. Wokingham have had a similar problem but only a couple of members have been affected. It was suggested that the Third Age Trust could hold a database for each U3A.
It was also pointed out that two systems operate regarding the magazine: some U3As have all the copies for their members sent to one address for distribution by that U3A, others set up a database so that individual members receive the magazine directly at a cost of £1.60pp, this is usually built into membership fees. The Third Age Trust is trying to discourage the first option. A standard database is not available for membership but it was suggested that when setting one up members could be asked whether they wish to receive the U3A News.
11 Date of next meeting to be announced
Representatives were thanked for attending by Pam who closed the meeting at 12 noon.