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CHAIRMANS REPORT - PRESENTED AT BRANCH AGM 12TH MARCH 2019

We have had another successful year, our thirtieth, with two enjoyable social events and a series of excellent speakers - so a big thank you to Julia Whitburn who has booked speakers until the end of 2019 and has a full portfolio of good potential speakers. So anyone prepared to take over ers secretary would not find it intimidating or onerous and would free Julia to devote herself to working with groups – which she has been doing in tandem up to now. So another big thank you to Julia for running group affairs as well as finding speakers. And where would we be without the hugely important sociable cup of tea and biscuit after those monthly talks? So a big thank you to Rose and Steve Saunders for organising the tea rota every month. Our finances are healthy - more from our treasurer later - big thank you to Chris Sharratt.

Membership matters are under control due to Lianne Hill’s efficient organisation - big thank you to Lianne. Subscriptions are equally efficiently organised by Sylvia Leyton- big thank you to Sylvia. Our wonderful website is the envy of many other U3As - big thank you to Barrie Brinkman. Our informative and entertaining newsletter is second to none - big thank you to Roger Warr. We are so very lucky, it’s no wonder we attract so many new members!

We are about to deal with the committee elections for the coming year but I have to say that until a few days ago we were at the point where the entire committee felt ready to resign at the next A.G.M. because of feeling so under supported.

Some members have asked what is the point of a committee - why do we need one? Why should I bother to help? We are ALL part of the whole U3A. I quote John Donne ”no-one is an island unto themselves alone”and also “many hands make light work”. Any organisation needs a team to keep the show on the road. We are a charity and the Charity Commissioners REQUIRE a committee to be in place - without one we simply cannot function. Some members have stated openly that they would not care if we did close down.

Having, through membership of the u3a, set up the groups that mean so much to them they would simply continue to meet and nothing would appear to change. Fair enough for some, but not all groups.

So what does membership of the U3A offer? There is insurance in place while members are involved in U3A activities - for instance walking, going on trips, meeting in one another’s homes. Special terms for visits and entries can be claimed by quoting U3A membership and there are the wonderfully varied and stimulating monthly talks.To lose all that would be a sad day for 1300 plus people living in and around Winchester and enjoying all these U3A benefits.

Five noble members have stepped up to offer help: Pam Underwood (below, left) is a former chairman and has been a loyal member for many years and is now offering to take office as secretary and allow me to continue wearing only the chairman’s hat. Vernon Tottle (below, right) is willing to share with us his financial experience and let Chris Sharrett retire from his lengthy stint as treasurer and devote more time to his family and his many other responsibilities. Nick Vernon, Belinda Ward and Paul Bracey are ready to serve without portfolio and be on hand to help when a need for help is identified by the other officers. This lifts a huge immediate burden of worry but limping from crisis to crisis is not going to keep us afloat for ever.The committee are deeply concerned that unless more members are willing to help in the organisation of their U3A the A.G.M. of 2020 may well be the last Chairman’s report

punderwoodvtottle

Freda Bates

03/19

 


TUESDAY AUGUST 13TH MONTHLY MEETING

Following the recently established tradition of making our August meeting into a sociable occasion rather than a talk, we shall be having a cream tea and entertainment. The entertainment will be provided by David Bonney, a magician, who will talk about his art and also give a demonstration of his skills. If you would like to learn about the art of magic (or is it a science?), it is essential for tea numbers and for seating in the hall that you reserve a seat beforehand. Please e-mail Nick Vernon at to book your place now and he will put your name on the list. Last time we were oversubscribed and a number of people who had not reserved a place arrived and caused some difficulty and embarrassment. We hope to avoid this situation on this occasion. We have a limit of 80 places for tea, so Nick will be closing the list when it is full.

Julia Whitburn

05/19

 


SCILLY STORMS AND VOLUNTEERS FOR OUR COMMITTEE

Isles of Scilly are a ‘must do’. From an initial visit of three days a couple of years ago, to two glorious weeks last summer I fell in love with the delights of the archipelago and its people. Curious as to what life was like on the Isles in winter, I have just returned from another two weeks savouring all it offers in the depths of January. I wished for storms to indulge in scenes of wild seas crashing on the rocks and foaming white rollers climbing the sandy beaches: the storms I longed for were storms I had… in glorious abundance as they headed the snow laden weather fronts to the mainland.

As a lone traveller, I decided to contact Scilly U3A to ask if I could temporarily join during my stay. I was welcomed to all group meetings. I truly enjoy Mahjong and when I saw there was no group I offered to teach this delightful game. The response was heart warming and four members took the plunge.

The welcome opened up thoughts about whether Winchester U3A offers the same to those who may be visiting our City and the local area! I was greeted with much interest. Questions were asked about Winchester, its Groups, membership. I was also greeted with a warm response when I said that anyone who visited Winchester was most welcome to join my Group for a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake made every week by one of our players at our Mahjong Group in Easton Village Hall. We welcome membership who are tempted to put their toe in the waters of Mahjong.

The Isles of Scilly U3A has a membership of 120 so everyone knows everyone in a total population of 2,300. There does not appear to be difficulties with members volunteering to be on the Committee or stepping in to other roles so vital for any U3A to survive. However, on my return to Hampshire I received an email sent to Group Leaders about the growing difficulties in getting membership to volunteer for our vitally invaluable Committee. I am left wondering about how a close, small U3A community such as Scilly flourishes in its infrastructure and a U3A community such as Winchester with a population of 122,000 and a U3A membership of around 1,300 has challenges in getting new blood on a retiring Committee, without which the reality is Winchester U3A would go under. In fact, I understand that some present committee members have taken on two roles in order to carry out vital services for you and me.

Meanwhile, whilst my Scilly storms were exhilarating I fear storms ahead with the prevailing downpour of NIMBYism over the depressingly lack of enthusiasm for Winchester Committee membership. This failure goes against everything that U3A lays down in its Mission statement of ‘facilitating growth and support’. How do each one of us promote growth and support in the groups we belong to and the U3A Organisation?

These are hard words to write which hopefully induces waking up to the realities of the vital work of our volunteer Committee. We are in hard times in the task to tempt membership onto our Committee… and we all know which way the wind blows if this continues.

Anne Wright

02/19

 


GDPR UPDATE

The new regulation on data protection (the GDPR) requires us to get the consent of our members so that we can contact them via post, telephone or email. Thanks very much to all members who responded to our email or returned our form with their preferences on how they would like to be contacted. Anyone who did not respond or want to change their consents can contact our membership secretary, Lianne Hill ().

Just one clarification: a significant number of members who responded did not give us their permission to send them ‘bulk emails’. These are the updates we send out via email about Winchester U3A events and newsletters etc. These emails come from Winchester U3A - we will never give your email address to any other organisation. We apologise if the term ‘bulk emails’ was unclear, and if you would like to receive these email updates, please let Lianne know by email.

Barrie Brinkman

Following up Barrie’s notice, please note that members may not receive a printed copy of the Third Age Matters in future if they have not sent back the GDPR form.

Lianne Hill

09/18

 


SUPPORT AT HOME (THAT IS COMPUTER SUPPORT)

When you buy a computer you hope that with time and some experience you’ll be able to do interesting things.

I’ve been getting on quite well with my MacBook and I’ve had it for more than four years. But recently I had a set of photos which I had organised into a virtual album, and I wanted to get them printed. Friends had shown me hard back books of professionally printed photos so maybe I should follow their advice and do the same.

Except that I could not make it work.

Every time I tried to create a book, the computer set the photos from the album in an order that the software algorithm chose but that wasn’t what I wanted and over a few days I got very frustrated and annoyed. What to do? Eventually I thought I might try Apple support so I opened up the Apple support web page, requested help, and was asked for my phone number, my Apple i/d and the serial number of my MacBook. The screen then said I would be phoned within two minutes but I didn’t even have to wait that long as within a few seconds the phone rang and a nice lady somewhere in the world asked how she could help.

She asked if she could view my screen but said she would not be able to take any actions herself. A red arrow would appear, so when she told me to do something the arrow showed where to click. In total she was on the phone with me for almost half an hour by which time my photo album was set up exactly as I wished and she signed off.....I then went ahead and ordered the printed album which was delivered a few days later, looking beautiful. Shortly after that call ended I got two emails, one with a case number and an invitation to click on that link if I needed further help on this, and another with suggested links to things on the Apple web site which I might find useful in future.

My MacBook is well out of its warranty, and I think it’s really something to get unhurried help without any pressure: it’s so unusual to get fantastic service at no cost and no rush for the other person to finish up. My experience with most things is, after warranty you’ll be lucky if anyone will talk to you unless you pay for a visit at huge expense so I was really impressed.

But that’s partly why we pay an apparently high price for Apple products.

As the saying goes, it’s worth it.

Nick is group leader for the Apple Mac users’ group. If you have an Apple product whether an iPad or a pc / laptop or iPhone and would like to come to a meeting on the morning of the 4th Tuesday of each month, contact Nick on 01962 861680 or .

09/18

 


THIRD AGE MATTERS

This magazine is issued five times a year, with the next issue this April. As many of you know it is now easily available on the net. If you had opted for a printed copy but would now prefer the digital version, please let Lianne Hill the new Membership Secretary know. Every little bit of saving helps the environment and Lianne can be reached on lianne.hill@btinternet.

Richard Costard 03/18


But, if you do have a hard copy...

After the A.G.M. I was handed a copy of Third Age News (presumably the original title of Third Age Matters) dated Autumn 1993. There was much of interest within but what caught my eye and made me laugh was a list of suggestions of what to do with it when you’d read it. I quote 1) shove it up your jumper to keep you warm while cycling over the Alps in the Tour de France 2) make a paper aeroplane to while away a boring meeting 3) send it to you M.P. 4) put it in your shoes to stop the rain coming in through the holes in the soles 5) show it to the chairman of your local education authority 6) line the cat’s litter tray 7) leave it in your G.P’s waiting room. Can we get more humour into our newsletter? How about joke or funny story of the month?.

Freda Bates 03/18


Have you heard the one about...?

Following Freda’s suggestion above for a joke of the month, this is an invitation to you so send to me, as Newsletter Editor, your favourite joke to include in a Joke of the Month section. There must surely be lots of you amongst our 1300 members who know good ones! Please don’t be shy! (If you wished, I could enter them anonymously!)

Two eskimos were out fishing. It was really cold, so they built a little fire in their kayak. Unfortunately, this resulted in the kayak sinking. This proves that you can’t have you kayak and heat it!

(Oh dear, you can do better than that!)i>

Member Enid Pollock submitted this Joke:-

Donald Trump held a meeting with Emmanuel Macron after which they gave a joint press conference at the White House. Trump announced " We have come to an agreement. We shall bomb 3 million Muslims and 1 dentist.
"Why the one dentist?" asked a journalist.
Trump turned to Macron and said " I told you that if we added in the dentist no-one would aske us about the Muslims.

Roger Warr 03/18

 


TILL WE MEET AGAIN, GUNNER BERT MARTIN, 1941-1945

martinA joint 6-month long project by two members of Winchester U3A has resulted in the publication of this book. Ian Douglas, who has self-published his own books on Amazon, and Hazel Spencer, whose father kept a diary of his wartime experiences, were put in touch by Colin Chase, leader of the photography group.

Bert's attempts to have his diary published in the 1950s were unsuccessful as were those of his daughter, Hazel, after his death. Now, 75 years after his capture at Tobruk, its publication enables this story, of an ordinary soldier living through extraordinary times, to be told.

The book is based on Bert's handwritten account, documents and photographs, and his interview with the Imperial War Museum. It details life in PoW camps in North Africa, Italy and Germany, and the horror of Dresden after the firebombing.

 

This is the true, unheroic but moving story of a PoW and his comrades and gives an insight into the prisoners' lives: the fears, the boredom, the hunger and the comradeship.

Royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to the Red Cross, in recognition of the food parcels which they sent to PoWs.

In Bert's own words:
  "As one may gather, the Red Cross parcels we received meant quite a lot to us. I dare not even try to imagine what would have happened to many of us had we not been fortunate enough to receive parcels."

Now available from Amazon, postage-free, cost £10:

Till We Meet Again: Gunner Bert Martin: 1941 to 1945: Amazon.co.uk: Hazel Spencer, Mr Bert Martin: 9781544048703: Books

07/17

 


CAN YOU PLEASE HELP

Some of our members would love to come to our interesting monthly meetings but have no transport. If you know of someone in this predicament please let us know as we are trying to set up a car buddy system to tackle this. We also need help identifying members with visual difficulties who have no access to the internet and would benefit from a modified large print hard copy of the newsletter. please help us to get in touch if you know such a member.

Freda Bates contact details.

05/17

 


ACCESSING U3A

With a membership in the region of 1300, your Committee realises that not all members enjoy good health and that some may have a disability of some kind which affects their ability to access U3A activities.

We are keen to know whether any members feel there might be more we could do to help them access our activities. This might include, for example, obtaining car lifts from other members to monthly meetings or groups.

In order that we can establish what difficulties any members may have in this respect we should like to hear either from anyone in this situation or who is aware of anyone experiencing difficulty.

Also, if any member has experience how other organisations deal with this situation we should appreciate any ideas.

Obviously we cannot promise anything but we are prepared to consider any suggestions or requests.

If you have any views on this matter please contact either of us – if we are away when you contact we will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Freda Bates
Secretary
contact details


07/16