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:
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.
- Finances – dealing with cash/hiring halls, expenses,
- Insurance – rules
- Local venues and costs
- Disability access
- 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
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?
- 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