From Sept, 2016 Thursday talks will be held in our new venue, Ealing Green Church, Ealing Green (almost opposite Ealing Film Studios).
ELECTION OF 2016-2017 COMMITTEE
The new committee was elected at the AGM on March 17, 2016. See the WELCOME page
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING IN 2017
1. The Ealing U3A Concert is held at St. Mary's Perivale at 2.0pm, 14th February 2017. The pianist is Ms Lara Melda, who won the BBC Young Musician competition in 2010. She will be playing music by Chopin. This is going to be a very special afternoon. Programme details will be published shortly.
Once again a car-sharing/pick-up system will be in operation to ensure good attendance.
2. Ealing U3A Annual General Meeting is held on Thursday 16th March 2017. This is a very important event in our calendar and we need as many members present as possible. Just to remind everyone the entire U3A committee has to resign and a new committee has to be elected for the coming year. Please think about who you would like to be a committee member. The Questors Theatre Reminiscence Group entertain us while votes are being counted.
3. The New Members Coffee Morning is to be held from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon on Wednesday 19th April 2017. The venue is the Church Hall (not the worship area), Ealing Green Church.
All interest group conveners and all committee members are requested to attend to extend a very warm welcome to our new members.
CARING FOR OUR MEMBERS; A MESSAGE FROM JOHN DEIGHTON:
The Committee is very aware that many of our members live alone and, like us all, are ‘getting on in years’. I have been keeping in touch with members who are sick or house-bound, either by telephone or by sending a card. I do need to know who is sick so that I can carry out my job: so if people contact me I will take it from there.
John Deighton, 020 8863 6640, or by email through CONTACT
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT for the AGM 2016
1) Thursday morning lectures
It is now one year that I have had the honour of being the chairman of Ealing U3A. During this time we have had a tremendous variety of Thursday morning lectures:
from “What is an opera?”
to “London’s waterways”
to “At home in the axis of evil”
and “Crossrail and Ealing”
to mention just a few of the latest offerings from earlier this year. I do hope that you have found these events stimulating and thought-provoking. On behalf of our members I would like to say a very sincere thank you to Rosemary Richardson for engaging the speakers and providing us with such a truly amazing and stimulating variety. However, Rosemary needs help from all of us. Once again my appeal goes out to you to assist Rosemary by giving her details of good speakers you have come across at other organisations or events. You can make a really great contribution in this way.
The popularity of these lectures is in no doubt. For the first four sessions in 2016 the Liz Cantell Room was so full that quite a few members had to stand as our allocated 125 seats were all taken up. Fire regulations restrict us from having more chairs in the hall.
2) New members coffee morning
In April 2015 John Deighton helped me to organise the new members’ coffee morning at the South Ealing Conservative Club. After a brief welcome from me, new members were shown to designated tables where interest group convenors were able to chat to new members about the activities in the different groups. New members had the opportunity to sign up for the different interest groups. It was generally felt that the coffee morning was a success and it will be repeated on 20th April this year.
The photographic competition 2015 produced an amazing 90 entries in four different categories. The judges found it very difficult to select the winners as the general standard of entries was very high indeed. And I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who took part. As it was so popular, my feeling is that it should be repeated this year. It was great to see the winning photos and the runners-up displayed on a loop system. However, I was not very pleased that the rest of the photos were not displayed in any way at all. I feel that every person who entered had made such a great effort and should, in my opinion, at least be rewarded with their photos being displayed. My message to the committee here is put their thinking caps on to find a solution as to how this can be achieved. To the participants my message is that we have to standardise the size on which the photos are mounted for easier handling and for easier display.
4) Late autumn questionnaire for Ealing U3A members
In the autumn last year I felt that it was good idea to find out how our members feel Ealing U3A should be run and the kind of improvements they would like to see. With this in mind a short questionnaire was devised and given to you to complete at a Thursday morning meeting in November 2015. The results were carefully analysed and presented to the committee meeting in early December.
The most interesting answers for me were produced under the question what changes members would like to see to Ealing U3A. Most of the suggestions have been implemented such as welcoming new members/guests by the chair at the beginning of each meeting.
Similarly, committee members should be introduced at the beginning of each term. So committee members please be ready for the next parade on 7th April.
Under any suggestions and comments it was very satisfying to read that the majority of members are very happy with what is on offer at our U3A. A great number of you wanted to have a theatre interest group established. We advertised for a group convenor, two people applied but then just before being appointed decided not to take it on. Unfortunately, this interest group had to be shelved. We did however start a balance/keep-fit group and the initial uptake of 16 members sounded very promising and I believe that the group is now progressing to the keep-fit stage of the programme. We have also had a suggestion of a film group and I believe that a few members have signed up for this.
5) Larger hall for our meetings
One other request was that we should have a larger hall for our meetings. This request has not been realised as there is no quick-fix answer. And as we have been told by the Ealing Town Hall that we have to vacate in March 2017 at the latest, this has become an even more pressing issue.
I would like to re-assure members that the committee are working away at solving this. I have visited no less than ten venues in Ealing to check out their suitability. And to be absolutely straight with you, none have come up to expected standards.
When looking for a venue, quite a few points have to be taken into consideration: Capacity, cost, storage facilities, comfort, sound system, projector screen, fire regulations, availability of the hall, tea/coffee making facilities for the speaker, easy access by public transport, a loop system for people with hearing issues, sufficient toilets, etc. Taking all these points into consideration, I have drawn up a check-list for finding a new hall. If anyone would like to have a copy, I can hand them out and it might indeed be handy if any member who comes up with a new and as yet unknown venue. Rosemary Richardson suggested that I get in touch with Stephen Pound via his parliamentary secretary to see if he knows of a suitable hall in the Ealing area. This I have done. And the only suggestion he has come up with was the Ealing Green Church. I have personally paced out the hall with the secretary and the result was that we can seat something in the region of 140 people, not a great improvement on numbers over our present hall. Also I have never seen all the chairs being set out in the church. They have no caretaker so who is going to do this. They would also charge us for storage as well as usage of the hall. I think you are beginning to see this is not an easy task.
However, it is our responsibility and we will try our best. Inevitably, with a larger hall comes a higher price ticket, especially in Ealing. So I would like to inform everyone that we may have to raise the subscription fees once we move to a larger hall. I guarantee you that I will drive a very hard bargain with any organisation to keep the increase to the lowest level possible.
6) Ealing U3A Christmas luncheon
At the end of last year we re-introduced the U3A Christmas lunch which was held at the Brentham Club on Tuesday 15th December 2015. Margaret Martin and I felt it was a good idea to trim the menu to two courses as a number of our members attend Christmas luncheons with other organisations. The food was very well prepared and served, and the tables were tastefully decorated in the Christmas spirit. However, we had a limited number of members attending and we felt a little lost in the hall. Perhaps there are too many Christmas luncheons on offer before the festivities so my suggestion is to combine some of these events, say that U3A and ENTA hold a joint Christmas lunch for example. This is only a suggestion, of course, and this must be discussed and decided by the various committees.
7) London Revisited
London Revisited is as popular as ever. Derek Atkinson has arranged a truly wonderful programme of visits and the uptake has been tremendous. A recent visit and guided tour of Southwark Cathedral had 40 of our members signing up and had to be split into two groups at the cathedral. So, many thanks to Derek for laying on such a stimulating and enjoyable programme.
8) Other interest groups convenors
Again many thanks to all the other group convenors who are working away diligently with their particular interest groups. I have not had time to visit many of them, but hopefully will get round to doing so in due course. The main meeting on Thursdays knows very little about what goes on in these interest groups and I would like to correct this. My wish is that I would like to hear more about their valuable work at the Thursday meetings in future so that everyone is informed about what is going on. Perhaps a 2 to 3-minute presentation of their current programme could be one idea of how this might be handled.
9) Work behind the scenes at Ealing U3A
There is a fair amount of work going on behind the scenes by a very dedicated team at Ealing U3A. And here I would like to mention Mike Black, who is responsible for the constant changes on our website and who always sends out endless notices and e-mails to our members to inform them of the latest events. I do know that the best way to thank him, is for all of us to look at our website more frequently than we are currently doing.
The wonderful team who produce our newsletters need a special mention here. It requires many hours of patient and hard work to arrange the articles, features and photos into a manageable and presentable form, hand it to the printer, negotiate the price etc. A very warm thank you to the editorial team from all of us.
10) The Deputy Chair and the Committee Members
Throughout the year I have been very ably assisted by John Deighton and the entire Ealing U3A committee. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all of them for helping me and supporting me on so many occasions and for carrying out their valuable work. They are attending 4 to 5 committee meetings a year and giving up a lot of their time to make this show run smoothly and efficiently.
11) Looking to the future
In future I would like to develop closer links with neighbouring U3As and with local organisations. With this in mind, I met up with Gwen Wright of Harrow for an initial discussion at the British Library to see what links we can forge with them. I have also approached U3A Hounslow and U3A Brent. I am very pleased to report to you that the first northwest London Networking meeting took place yesterday on 16th March to discuss possible cooperation. 6 different U3As attended. The following points were discussed:
• Share lists of potential speakers
• Organise study/interest days
• Organise Shared Learning Projects
• Establish links with outside organisations such as universities etc
• Share resources and set up reciprocal interest group arrangements between members of the network
• Increase awareness of the U3A in the community
It was a very productive and stimulating meeting, where ideas were simply bubbling to the surface. The next meeting will be held on 17th June.
Continuing on the theme of linking with outside organisations, some of our committee members have promised to make contact with the Ealing Civic Society and the Selbourne Society. In addition, I have been in contact with the University of West London to see if some cooperation can be achieved. Following our successful backstage tour of Questors, we now have a tentative link with the local theatre. A second visit to the theatre is on the drawing board.
If you can think of any other local organisation we should be linking up with, please let me know.
12) Your help is always needed and appreciated
Of course, it is not just your chair or your committee that should be initiating events. If you have any ideas along those lines, please let me or any of our committee members know. Your suggestions are most welcome and can make a very useful contribution to the flourishing and developing of our Ealing U3A. I get quite a few e-mails from members. Please keep up the flow of ideas. In the true spirit of the U3A we can all learn from each other and contribute in this way. There is such a vast store of knowledge in this room from which we can all benefit. Thank you for your contribution, your help, your time, all of which is greatly appreciated.
U3A LONDON REGION TRUSTEE'S QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER, DECEMBER 2016. Click on TRUSTEE'S NEWSLETTER in LINKS on this page
NEWSLETTER: The editorial team consists of Ella Marks, Margaret Martin and Michael Black. The position of Newsletter Editor is at present vacant.
THURSDAY MORNING TALKS: Rosemary Richardson organises the Thursday morning talks. She will be glad to receive your suggestions. See CONTACT.
U3A: MAKING PEOPLE SCIENTIFICALLY LITERATE
Ian Nash writes about the U3A's role in science education
Click on U3A SCIENCE in LINKS on this page.
FREE (or quite cheap) EVENTS IN LONDON
For a list of resources (in person and on-line)
which are freely available but not usually listed in one place click on ACCESS in LINKS on this page.
GENDER DISTRIBUTION IN THE U3A
Casual observation in our U3A branch or at U3A events will almost certainly indicate that the percentage of women in the membership far outweighs that of men, a distribution which seems to be reflected in the country as a whole. But this is admittedly only an impression and we are in need of some hard facts. How does the gender distribution in the U3A compare with the demographic statistic? And if there really is a statistically significant imbalance what might the causes be? Merton U3A has carried out an extensive study that now provides us with some of the facts. To see some highly interesting data go to the INFORMATION page of London Region U3A website www.u3asites.org.uk/london-region