Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Party

Edenbridge U3A Christmas Party
17th December 2013
The Songsters
Our final Edenbridge U3A Monthly Meeting was held in Rickards Hall, Edenbridge to celebrate 6 months of our new U3A with a Christmas Party. Around 50 people attended, each bringing a plate of savoury or sweet food to share with everyone else. The result was an amazing spread. You just need to look at the photos as proof of that. It was all washed down with a glass or two of Mulled Wine, Irish Coffee or Fruit Punch. In fact, many of our guests had the Irish Coffee without the Irish! A sensible lot as most were driving!
Busy with the quiz

The afternoon started off with a table quiz with almost everyone participating, recognising the faces of well known celebrities when they were children. It sparked the conversation and was an enjoyable start to a sociable afternoon.

The highlight of the afternoon was a small concert of seasonal songs and Christmas Carols sung by the Edenbridge Songsters. This finale of the party left us all in a mood for Christmas. The songsters are looking for new members. They don't call themselves a choir but have a philosophy of singing for health and well-being. If you are interested,  contact Jacky at They meet on Wednesdays from 2.00 - 3.30pm at the Eden Centre.
The next Monthly Meeting is on 28th January 2014 from 2pm - 4pm when Stephen and Mary Harding will give a talk about their VSO Adventures in Guyana and Rwanda.

If you want to see the rest of the photos please click on the link below.
Edenbridge Christmas Party Photos

Thanks to everyone who was involved 
in organising this very successful party!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

U3A Resources

Identifying U3A Resources

  • Resource Centre – via National Office
  • On-Line Courses – National website and Third Age Matters/M.O.O.Cs Massive Open Online Courses
  • In-Depth Courses – National website and Third Age Matters
  • U3A Subject Advisers –National website and  Third Age Matters
  • Sources magazine – Direct Mail (three issues per year)
  • ‘Time to Learn’ – being revised and reprinted
  • Shared Learning Projects – National website or via Regional representatives
  • Older and Wiser Books – National website
  • National Conference (every two years _ AGM 2014 9/10 September)
  • Royal Institution lectures – National Office and Third Age Matters
  • DANA lectures – National Office and Third Age Matters
  • Group Co-ordinator/Group Leaders’ Workshops – through your Regional Trustee
  • Local U3As – informal group exchanges
  • Summer Schools – National and Regional - websites
  • Resources within your U3A/Members own skills/experiences
  • Libraries/Museums
  • Local university links
  • National Trust
  • English Heritage (U3A group visits free – book in advance)
  • Books/Sports Associations
  • BBC
  • Open University – FutureLearn
  • Udacity  - scientific/TED short talks – some very good, some not so good
  • edX  Harvard, Berkeley/Coursera  Courses from 90+ U.S.  universities
  • Ted  short talks
  • You Tube – massive amount of information available
  • Coursera
  • Websites suggested at Workshop
  • Pinterest
  • Great Courses (American)
  • Ravelry (Crafts)

Group Coordinator Role

The role of the Group Coordinator

1   What does a GC actually do? Briefly the person who helps set up groups, supports Group

Leaders and is a  vital link between groups and members and Exec Committee

Words that describe qualities a Group Coordinator might need

Nurturing, cultivating, cherishing, enabling, empowering, facilitating, encouraging, reassuring, supporting, guiding, calming, enthusing, listening, enthusiastic, stimulating, motivating, inspiring, thoughtful,  persuasive,  helping groups to evolve to meet change (if they wish) and to resolve difficulties,

Plus diplomatic and tactful.

All positive words – which is what we are about  - being positive not critical– trying to help Group Leaders and Groups. The more help GLs get the more likely they are to succeed.

2      It helps to have a job description and a list of tasks:

For example:

Groups Coordinator  functions:  To support existing Study Groups and assist the development of new groups.
To fulfil these functions the Committee is responsible for liaising with Group Leaders, the oversight of the Study Groups and fostering the development of Group networks, where appropriate. These responsibilities fall under three broad headings:  Providing information to members, support and guidance for Group Leaders and putting recommendation f to the Executive Committee
The Groups Coordiantor is responsible for the following tasks: Etc Etc
3     How can a GC make life easier for Group Leaders and improve the chances of a group being successful?
Provide a tool kit for your U3As Group Leaders
This might be a folder with information sheets and links to websites, including Advice Sheets from NO website. All the information might be on your website.
Practical help
  • Finances – dealing with cash/hiring halls, expenses,
  • Insurance – rules
  • Local venues and costs
  • Disability access
  • Transport
  • Grants – local or U3A
  • Photocopying and Copyright rules
  • Data protection rules
  • Equipment  available  such as laptops
  • Health and Safety
  • Accident form
  • Guidance on setting up, running a group and maintaining a group.
  • Hints on organisation such as having forward plans for the group meetings, sharing petrol and photocopying costs
  • Explanations of  the different ways people learn
  • Ways of preparing and giving presentations and talks – guidance in Time to Learn and the National Office DVD
  • Communication methods
  • Netiquette
4  What else can a  GC do?  Some or all might apply
  • Make it easy to set up a group
  • Be available and approachable – offer advice for problems
  • Encourage the GL to set rules for a group at the start eg  everyone must do a presentation, members must notify in advance if not attending, if the group has a waiting list non attendees must give up place if miss 3 meetings, no interruptions, questions at end, good manners -  that sort of thing.
  • Get GLs to question why attendance is dropping off
  • GLs to review group at times, ask members if they want to change way it runs, do they enjoy the meetings?
  • Suggest new ways of doing things – if always had meetings try going on a trip.  Use free bus pass
  •  Are there DVDs?  TV programmes? To support what the group does?
  • Share with other groups. eg  History group might join up with a book group to look at literature in a certain period
  • Tell a GL it is not for ever – put a limit on time for a GL
  • Search for new talent and expertise. Talk to members who currently don’t get involved. Ask for their help. Include questions on application form about what the new member can do for the U3A
  • Run sessions for new GLs on how to run a group or informal coffee mornings to exchange ideas
  • Looks for feedback from GLs
  • Group members share talks/organisation of visits
  • Use own or others experience to mentor new groups
  • Actively seek to set up new groups – ask members what they want
  • Have liaison groups with GCs from local U3As
  • Can you share groups for specialist subjects with other U3As?  Or groups that need to hire a hall and want lots of members?    Must be agreed by U3As Exec Committees
  • Do other local U3As run groups you might replicate?
  • Meet GLs regularly
  • Have GL conferences- with a lunch?
  • Starting a second group – how to encourage
  • Short courses might lead to a group
  • More groups to encourage men who belong to U3A but don’t participate
  • Encourage or support change and sharing of work
  • Do you visit your groups?  Go to first meeting?
  • Listen
  • Say THANK YOU to Group Leaders –provide a lunch or tea?
  • Can the Trust help with guidance?
  • Buddy system for new Group Leaders
  • Groups needing new members can do presentation at a monthly meeting
  • Enjoy the job = it can be fun and very rewarding

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Arcane Art of Dowsing

November Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, November 26th
The Arcane Art of Dowsing
John Watson

Do you know anything about dowsing? Or perhaps you know it as water divining. Do you know the meaning of arcane? Maybe you already knew that dowsing isn't always for water! Well, over 60 of our Edenbridge U3A members know an awful lot more about it than they did before last Tuesday. 

Our third monthly talk in Edenbridge's Rikards Hall was given ably by John Watson on the subject of DOWSING. And fascinating it was! He started by telling us about this arcane art which few understand and which seems to have mysterious results with not so many explanations. His fluent and knowledgeable talk took us through the meaning of the art, the psychology behind it and even the practical aspect of becoming dowsers ourselves using an old wire coat hanger and a pair of pliers.

Using two members of the audience, he demonstrated how one part of the brain could talk to the other and how the arms of a dowser, holding simple home made dowsing rods, could be used as magnifiers to highlight the body's reaction to whatever the dowser might be searching for, whether it was for water, something precious or even those keys that had gone missing months ago. He shared his experience of many uears of dowsing and told us that there would even be a group from East Grinstead experimenting with the art in Edenbridge in the next few days.

He offered some theories and explanations of why it might work and was convincing in his enthusiasm that it really did work.

Thanks, John for a really enlightening talk!

Dowsing Rods from a wire coat hanger

Using the audience to demonstrate his point

The camera never lies!. Brian and Barry volunteered to help John with his demonstration but wanted to shoot the photographer when he caught them in this pose. 
Two good sports!

This is how it's done!

And this is the theory behind it!
Discussing the talk over a cup of tea and a slice of cake!

January Monthly Meeting
Tuesday 28th January 2014
2pm - 4pm

VSO Adventures in Guyana and Rwanda
Rickards Hall Edenbridge

Hear Stephen and Mary talk about their volunteering adventures with Voluntary Service Overseas 
in Guyana and Rwanda.

See you next month!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

London Studies Old Operating Theatre

London Studies
Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret
15th November 2013

This was our third London Studies Visit and, like the previous two, was very successful. Thirteen of us met up at London Bridge Station to go to the Old Operating Theatre in Thomas Street next to Guys Hospital. We relaxed for a while in the Refectory of Southwark Cathedral where we had teas and coffees at a table big enough for all of us. 

Old Operating Theatre
After a short walk through Borough Market, we went to the Museum where we had an inspiring talk by a volunteer at the museum – 1 ½ hours of interesting facts and figures about medicine in the area in the 19th century. It even included the mock amputation of the legs of one of our members after a vivid and gory description as to the reason why his limbs had to be “chopped off”. He then took us around the area including the Guys Hospital Museum and Chapel. The whole 2 ½ hours went by in a flash as it was so interesting.
Guy's Hospital Chapel

We had lunch in the George Inn, the only remaining galleried inn in London and finished off with the delights of Borough Market which boasts a whole array of British and Continental foods. A perfect, sunny day, added to the mix made it a very successful visit.
Our Group Contact, Sue Bell, also took lots of interesting photos and these can be found by clicking on the link below…..

After three successful visit, we’re all looking forward to the next one. See above for details of our planning meeting at the Henry VIII pub in Hever at 12-00 on 6th December.

Herb Garret

Lotions and Potions
Amusing Story from the Guide
The Shard next door by contrast

Monday, 4 November 2013

First Monthly Meeting The Edenbridge Museum

Two Firsts for Edenbridge U3A 
on Tuesday 24th September
(adapted from a report by Jo Scott, Edenbridge Committee)

This was the first Monthly Meeting and was attended by approximately 50 members. The first publication of the Quarterly Newsletter was also distributed.

Guest Speaker
Jane Higgs was the guest speaker and spoke about ‘The Edenbridge Museum and the Search for Local History’. With the help of slides, Jane showed how Church House, which has medieval origins, was renovated to how you see it today. This was made possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A tremendous amount of work was involved to gather and log the 700 objects required to be registered as a Museum. This was undertaken by an army of volunteers under the guidance of a part time professional curator.

The Museum was finally opened by Lord Astor in the year 2000 with a big parade through Edenbridge High Street.

The Chairman, Sue Bell thanked Jane very much for the interesting talk which was well received by those present. She was pleased to report that a least a dozen courses were up and running and that the Spanish Group now has a Group Contact.

The Group Co-Coordinator, Molly Ward, explained that we have some study groups that are still in need of a Group Contact. She emphasized that the Contact does not need to be an expert on the subject.

Web site administrator, Stephen Harding, explained that the website is for the benefit of members and that he would like some help providing content for it. He would therefore welcome as much feedback as possible, including pictures and reports from the Study Groups as well as their calendar dates. He explained that he is also responsible for e-mailing Members. He reminded people that If anyone does not want to receive the e-mails, there is a facility on the web site to  ‘unsubscribe’.

The meeting then broke up for refreshments. This gave the Members the opportunity to view the artefacts Jane had bought, collect their copy of the newsletter, enrol for membership or just chat with friends and enjoy a cup of tea and cake. 

Thanks to those who gave up their time to provide refreshments and organise the meeting.

Artifacts from the Museum
Getting to know each other
Guest Speaker Jane Higgs


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Immigration Through Ellis Island

If you weren't able to attend this month's meeting, you missed a real treat. Jill talked about the immigration through Ellis island, New York with passion and great knowledge. We thank you for such an enlightening talk.

Tuesday, 29th October 2014

Immigration into America through Ellis Island
 in the 19th Century
Jill Linden

Monday, 21 October 2013

London Studies Visit to the British Library

Visit to British Library 18th October 2013
On Friday, October 18th a group from Edenbridge U3A enjoyed a tour of the British Library followed by lunch, and for energetic members a walk around the Squares of Bloomsbury. 

The British Library, next to St Pancras, is shaped like a ship of knowledge but built of similar brick to St Pancras. It is sent a copy of every publication in the UK and houses many of them in the eight underground storeys beneath the building.  

When readers require a publication, miles of conveyer belt grind into action to ensure books are crated to reading rooms above ground. Another highlight of the visit was seeing the King’s Library of George III.  Its treasures include the 9th century Anglo Saxon Chronicles and Handel’s Messiah. Information on the British Library is on

If you are interested in joining the London Studies Group, contact Sue Bell by email at

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Digital Imaging Feature

Digital Imaging 2nd Year

The meetings will be on the 4th Tuesday morning of each month except  December starting in October until June from 10 – 12.30. Please put these dates in your diaries.

4th Tuesday morning   10am – 12.30pm  except  December

We will be meeting at the Riverhead Bowls Club hall which is on the A25. Going from Riverhead to Westerham it is on the left before you get to the school with a grass roof! Go through the 5 bar gate and turn to the left.

There will be a small charge for the 9 sessions to cover the hall and refreshments. I will be able to let you know the cost when you arrive on the 1st session so please bring your cheque book/cash as I will have to pay for the hall asap.

If you are now unable to come to the course please let me know asap as this will effect the cost for the other members. Please come to the sessions before 10 am so that there is time to set up your lap-tops ready to start at 10 am. If you are unable to come to any of the sessions please let me know, but not by e-mail, on the day before the meeting. Please leave a telephone message.

I will be putting your addresses etc. on a list so please let me know if you would prefer not to be on it. I am pleased to say that Sylvia Jones has offered to help me again this year.

Looking forward to us all getting together and enjoying a fun and happy course.

Best wishes,

Any queries my telephone number is   01732 460578