U3A THAMES VALLEY NETWORK

Representatives’ meeting held at the Sports Hall, Watlington, courtesy of Ridgeway U3A,

on Friday 30th November 2012

 

Present: Pam Jones – Chairman (Witney) Trustee South East Region, Agnes Budagowska Treasurer (Swindon), Mike Price Vice-chairman (Greater Thame), Len Smith (Wokingham), Martin McBride (Carterton), Anne Marie Lord Secretary (Chinnor & District), Susie Berry (Ridgeway), Ann Mary Ware (Marlow), Avis Furness (Reading), Christine Cox and Peggy Penfold (Bicester), Theresa Doherty (Bracknell Forest), Ian Wright and Josephine Wright (Carterton), Peter Metcalf (Chiltern), George Hunter and Dorrie Oliver (Chinnor & District), Roy Coates (Chipping Norton), Brenda Cutler and Anne Hales (Didcot & District), Pam Feltbower (Greater Thame), John Brandis, Carol Mason and Kevin Nash (Haddenham), Ruth Waddle (Headington), Barbel Cheesewright and Nadia Ellis (High Wycombe), Harry Burnham (Maidenhead), Jacky Wagstaff, Pat Fewell, Angela Jacob (Ridgeway), Colin O’Rourke (South Bucks), Jeanie Dickie (Swindon), Derek Randall (Thame and District), Mark Phillips (Thameside), Margaret Edmondson (Wallingford), Margaret Sherrington (West Oxford), Valerie Palmer and Shirley Rawlings (Witney), Barry A Byrne, Patsy Thornton and Edward Miles (Wokingham)

 

1.0  Apologies: Tony Fulford (Bracknell Forest), Goring Gap, Princes Risborough, Anne Anderson (Ridgeway), Peggy Miles (Thame and District),

2.0  Minutes of 29/08/12

These Minutes were approved and signed.

2.1 Matters Arising

       5.2iv Photocopying licences can now be bought by individual U3As through Lin Jonas at the Third Age Trust office. Cost £60.

2.2 Any other matters arising

      5.2 and 8 The question of an upper age limit on insurance for day trips was raised. The insurance offered is 3rd party public liability. It is not personal accident. The insurance has a £250 excess per incident.

     AOB 7.7 Martin brought some examples of calendars produced by Carterton U3A.

 

3.0 Network Committee Reports

3.1  Chairman (summary)

Pam welcomed all present and particularly representatives from Didcot and District, a newly formed U3A and the first for many years in the Network. A U3A has existed in Didcot for many years but recently Pam was asked to help set up a second U3A. Sixty people attended the public meeting to gauge the level of interest and a wonderful steering group was set up to guide the U3A until its first AGM. Brenda Cutler and Anne Hales were wished all success by everyone present.

The House of Lords  allows a charity to take over the Chamber for debate once a year and offered it to U3A for 2012. Martin McBride and Patsy Thornton will be taking part from TVN in the intergenerational debate on Friday 7th December. It will be broadcast on the Parliamentary Channel with a 15 minute delay and will also appear on a special page of Hansard. Chairman, Barbara Lewis, has worked really hard to set this up. Martin and Patsy will be asked to report back at the next TVN reps. meeting.

The TVN Committee meeting in October confirmed that one delegate per U3A can vote at the Reps’ meeting, a second rep. will be welcome but will not be able to vote. The TVN members do not vote unless their own U3A has no representative present. To ensure greater transparency the voting representative for each U3A will have a card with their U3A title to hold up when voting takes place.

Pam commented having had her attention drawn to the photo and caption of herself in the pull-out section of “Third Age Matters” she has submitted a poem to the Chairman and CEO of the Trust. (Copies available at next meeting.)

In closing, Pam asked all U3As to continue supporting TVN activities and meetings as it continues to thrive.

      

3.2  Treasurer’s report

Agnes circulated copies of the TVN Account Summary as at 30/11/2012. The Opera and Food Science study days were included and there were no outstanding credits/debits. The balance at the month end was £3446.07. Agnes was thanked for her continuing work as Treasurer.

 

4.0  Network Activities

4.1 Avis reported that the Food Science, Health and Wellbeing day on 19th October had gone well. Benson village hall offers good facilities. The Understanding Opera through the Operas of Mozart on 20th November was described as a stunning day. 108 delegates attended, although a long day, it was very well arranged. The lunch was good, a room had been booked for those with packed lunches and an extra room was opened for those who had booked lunch.

 

4.2 Patsy Thornton reported on the Historic Pathways project: Some research has already begun. A  meeting to launch the project will be held on Thursday 14th March at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley. An Archivist will give some training. Currently maps and records can be found at the Berkshire Record Office, the Oxfordshire Record Office has not been visited to date. This is a 2-year project initially with the Berkshire Record Office but hopefully will extend into Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and it can be seen as a follow on from the Riverside Project.

Avis is keeping a research log. Please contact her if you wish to research a particular footpath to see if anything has already been undertaken by someone else.

This is a shared project and members of the Ramblers Association are also involved. The research will be shared with Sources” magazine, no other publishing is planned at present.

4.3 Dates and proposed calendar for Study days in 2013:

A proposed Italian Art study day in March is to be removed from the website as no date is available

14th March Historic Pathways project day at the River and Rowing Museum, Henley

13th April photography study day at Cressex Community school arranged by Ann Mary Ware. Advice is to apply ASAP

28th May Book readers’ study day arranged by Patsy Thornton at Wokingham Speaker Penny Hunter from Reading University. The theme will be “Books are a window on the world”. In the afternoon Guy Pringle will be the speaker, there will also be a local publisher talking about publishing books and there will be a book swap. Cost is £12 including a 2 course lunch. Application forms should be out in January.

 

June - Chess Valley U3A are considering holding an activities day but there is no information to date.

July – Jazz day, a venue with adequate parking is being sought

 

September 19th History of High Wycombe study day. This will be held at the Clare Foundation at Saunderton. Ninety delegates can be accommodated and the cost will be approximately £20 including lunch and coffee (available all day)

 

October Training day on Communication.

November Opera day- possibly on Benjamin Britten

 

4.4 The following have been put forward as possible study/activity days:

Faringdon – Games day with taster sessions for chess, scrabble etc  please give some feedback on this proposal

Railways – possibly looking at the Great Western railway, current development, technology. Swindon and Didcot were suggested as venues as local museums link in. There was a positive response to this from reps.

Arts and crafts Movement study day

History of Pop music study day. There was another positive response to this from reps..

A Residential Summer school is being considered for 2014. Anthony Burdall is exploring this idea. Please let Avis what could be included.

4.5 There is a box of rosettes that can be used to identify study day organisers etc at events. Please ask Avis if you need them.

4.6 The Events Team were congratulated by the Reps..

 

5 Regional/National matters –

5.1 Discussion  Interchange of Interest group members between U3As – to charge or not to charge?

i an informal arrangement can exist between a cluster of U3As such as CHATTR (Chinnor, Haddenham, Greater Thame, Thame & District, and Ridgeway) where members can join a group in another U3A provided this does not preclude members of the host U3A, the only cost is the charges for running the group.

ii some U3As invite other U3As to fill coaches for outings/ holidays.

iii High Wycombe invited other U3As to go on their website to consider their proposed holiday to Spain costing around £500 as more numbers are needed.

iv  if an activity is funded by membership subscriptions then a visitor’s donation could be requested for perhaps one or two visits only.

v If people join more than one U3A only one capitation fee is required by the Third Age Trust but this depends on individual U3as and how Treasurers cope with the administration.

 5.2 Pam reported that the NEC is looking at some of the older U3As which are gradually dying because of more vital, livelier U3As nearby. They have to decide to let go or have a campaign to revitalise the U3A.

It was agreed that there will always be those who renew their subscriptions but do not take part in anything. Some could be housebound and it was felt that other members could help but we must be aware that the U3A should not become a welfare organisation. There are also on-line courses available.

 

5.3 The following were recommended to Reps. :

“Time to Learn”    a free one off publication appropriate for groups

“The U3A Story” by Frances Beckett, also free

“Third Age Matters”

“Sources”

“The Essential Trustee” can be downloaded from the Charity Commission

Applications for Resource Centre information are available at this meeting

 

5.4 Reps were reminded of the following:

i There are 15 advice sheets and 4 discussion booklets available from the Third Age Trust website.

ii U3As are encouraged to set some money aside in order to enable one member to be a delegate at the Conference to be held at Nottingham University 13th – 16th September.

iii Eric Midwinter (founder member of the U3A movement in Britain) will be a speaker at the Founders’ Lecture at the Friends’ Meeting house, Euston on 9th April.

 

6.0 Network Information

6.1 Contacts List

Mike has sent a message to U3As asking for up-to-date changes. He pointed out that it is up to individual U3As to pass any information on to their members. It is advised that there is a designated contact who will do this.

6.2 Speaker’s Database

This has been up-dated and sent out. This will normally be done prior to a Reps’ meeting. A speaker will be removed if two separate U3As send Martin adverse comments.

6.3 Website

There were 220 hits in November compared to 270 in November 201. It was felt that the Riverside Project contributed to the higher figure in 2011. It was agreed that the website contained plenty of interesting information, Len asked people to use the site.  www.u3atvnetwork.org.uk

Len was asked to put “hot news” re list of up-dates on the website so that they were easily available.

It was suggested that information on Study days could include whether they are fully subscribed.

The revised Trust website should be ready by January.

The subject of hacking was raised and a request was made for an advice sheet from the Third Age Trust. Pam will take this to the NEC.

Reps also pointed out that finding a resource at the resource centre had been difficult.

 

7.0 AOB

7.1. A request was made that applicants for Study days be told if the day is fully subscribed and a waiting list applies

7.2 Avis still has sets of plays suitable for play reading groups.

7.3 An “Older and Wiser” series of books has been produced for the U3A.

7.4 Banking – three TVN U3As use a method other than cash/cheque for collecting subscriptions. Some have considered on-line banking but identifying the payee can be difficult. CAF payments can be operated with 2 authorisations. Mike will put together and send out a questionnaire to members.

7.5 Surveying members was considered – Wokingham have carried out a survey regarding their newsletter. This was done through their convenors at Interest group meetings.

7.6 Reading offer a reduced subscription to members who receive their newsletter by e-mail.

7.7 Generally no reduction was given for joint membership of partners.

 

8.0 Memory Course This has been produced for U3A members and designed by Aughton and Ormskirk U3A.

Pam suggested that the course be offered as a Network course. She asked for 2 administrators to help with this and for 2 professionals to run the course. She explained that there would be a maximum of 10 people on the course who would need to make a commitment of one and a half hours per day for 4 consecutive weeks. National Office had contributed to organising a day based on this.

Maidenhead have already run this course with the help of professionally qualified members. They are very enthusiastic.

Haddenham offered a poem on the subject from a group in S Africa. (Copies available at next meeting).

 

9 Date of next meeting …Friday 18th February 2013 at 10am for 10.30am at the Sports Hall, Watlington

                                           AGM 10th May 2013 at Benson Village Hall. Speaker Barbara Lewis, Chairman of the Third Age Trust

 

date …………….  Chairman ………………                                                                07/01/13