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