On this you will find Announcements from the Committee and other events/opportunities for participation which may of interest to you.
We at the Committee would like to keep you up to date in relation to the AGM, as promised. We met formally on 29th June to consider the current situation. In the light of government guidelines in relation to COVID-19, we will be unable to hold an AGM (which was scheduled for 23rd July). We will let all members know when it will be possible to hold an AGM, but it is likely to be sometime after monthly meetings recommence. The Annual Accounts and Trustee Report for the year ending 31st March 2020, will be uploaded to the website of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) at the end of July. If you wish to view the reports, the link to CCNI will be on the website.
We did not receive any new nominations for the Committee, so vacancies remain. We are pleased to have received an offer from a member (of Belfast U3A) to be a Newsletter Editor from January 2021, so this is being explored at present.
In order not to miss any communication from the Committee, please supply an email address at which you may be contacted to Andrew Walmsley (Treasurer) at email@example.com or to Moya Crunden on the membership email address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Executive Committee of the NI Region of U3As (NIREC) has asked if any member of Belfast U3A wishes to nominate or be nominated as a member of the NIREC committee, the nomination form may be requested directly by emailing NIREC on email@example.com
We at the committee would like especially to thank our convenors for their continuing dedication to supporting interest group members and keeping them united and engaged in many innovative ways.
Pauline Prior and June Martin on behalf of the Belfast U3A Committee
Message from the Editor (from Newsletter June 2020)
This is my last issue of the Newsletter. Thank you to everyone who helped me so much in producing it over the past six months, especially the convenors who have been wonderful about sending in news on their groups. I’m hoping that one or two of you will think about having a go at editing the Newsletter. Please be reassured that there will be help available for the new Editor(s).
From the May Newsletter
Have a look at some of the great ideas that U3As across the UK are doing and with which you can engage. Click (or Control and click) on the link https://www.u3a.org.uk/
Using digital platforms to stay connected
The Third Age Trust has been looking at different ways to support the amazing U3A community across the UK, to enable and support U3As, members and Interest Group leaders, to stay active and connected with each other.
To this end, they have launched three online discussion forums so that we can all share ideas and support each other. It is easy to get started. All you need to do is visit the forum website at https://forum.u3abeacon.org.uk, click the ‘register’ button and fill in your details.
From there you will be able to explore the forums and get involved in the discussion. If you are not familiar with online forums, they have prepared a how-to guide to help you get started. Your feedback on the guide is welcome.
There will be three forums that you can join:
Learning – discussions around subjects and all forms of interest and learning;
Our U3A Community – discussions around how we support each other;
Beacon – discussions around using Beacon, the U3A management system.
This is just an outline of what the forums are about because it will be led and developed by you when you join and the conversations that are happening.
A volunteer team will moderate the site and support you to use the forums in a safe, positive and productive way.
Check in and chat service
Age NI, with the support of the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, is offering a ‘Check in and chat’ telephone service for everyone who is over 60 in Northern Ireland, who may feel isolated or lonely during this time. The service will provide a friendly voice to reassure people, answer basic queries and link them into local services and support during the coronavirus outbreak. Anyone over 60 in Northern Ireland can avail of this service free of charge. To receive a regular telephone call from us:
Call Age NI Advice on 0808 808 7575 Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new website called Greysnet has just been launched with the support of the National Lottery Community Fund to help older people all over the country to stay connected and keep mind and body active during the current Coronavirus lockdown. It's called Greysnet and you can find it at www.greysnet.com.
Third Age Trust Newsletter
Social distancing does not mean we can’t carry on being social. U3As across the UK are sharing their ideas and suggestions with the Trust about keeping in touch with each other. The Trust is using the National Newsletter to pass on these ideas and to keep U3A members informed on the latest government advice concerning Covid-19. The Newsletter is filled with information, stories and advice and acts as a two-way conversation between members of the whole U3A movement. It will keep people in touch with U3A and hopefully make us all feel part of the U3A community. You can sign up at: https://www.u3a.org.uk/newsletter. If you would like to implement one of the ideas in it and want some support, please contact Theresa, Groups Coordinator.
Third Age Trust Project:
Living History in Unprecedented Times
U3A members are being invited to help craft a shared learning project where we create a living history of this extraordinary time and members’ experiences during this coronavirus pandemic.
The project will look for personal thoughts, ideas and reflections on how this feels to you and what you are doing to deal with it. Members may want to keep an electronic diary or to find a little note-book in which you can scribble down thoughts as they come.
We are asking people to write up anything they think relevant to having to be at home and your thoughts and reactions. You may wish to write something each day for example, or once a week or simply when something of note happens. You may read an article, book or see a programme which triggers some ideas or thoughts. More details on the website, https://www.u3a.org.uk/
Notice of Annual Subscriptions for year 2020/21
The membership subscription for year-ending 31st March 2021 remains at £15 per person. This is the second year of a two-year reduction in subscriptions. Payment is due and can be paid through a number of channels, by cheque and online (see below).
If paying by cheque, send the cheque, made payable to “Belfast U3A”, to: Andrew Walmsley.
Cash payments can only be made in person to the Treasurer.
Online payments are made to the “Belfast U3A” account with Danske Bank: Details on the emailed newsletter.
If paying your annual membership subscription by this online method, include the code for it, i.e. MEM, in the Payment Reference field followed by your new Membership Number and if you have space, your surname, e.g. MEM1234Surname (where the membership number is 1234).
New Membership Numbers
For those that use email, you received an email from Andrew Walmsley on Wednesday 29th January giving you your new Membership Number. Please keep note of this number – it will be needed when making a payment to Belfast U3A. For those that do not use email we will write to you in due course.
Volunteers Needed in Belfast U3A:
A-Team - a group assisting with keyboard tasks on the Newsletter, the Membership records, and/or Committee minutes. Might be of interest to those who are IT proficient and would like to keep their skills up to date.
Newsletter Editor - producing a monthly newssheet Membership Secretary updating membership records Groups Coordinator - to assist Interest Groups Minutes Secretary - minutes of Committee meetings Contact the Business Secretary, June Martin
Meet & Greet helpers, contact Pat Aldred, 9066 6246 Really Useful Group (RUG), contact Moya Crunden,
Ulster University as an ‘Age Friendly University’
Following recent discussions between the Ulster University (UU, Belfast campus) and U3A Northern Ireland Regional Executive Committee (NIREC), concerning developing greater engagement between U3A members in the Greater Belfast area and the UU, we would like your views on what might be of interest to our members. Causeway and Foyle U3As have already developed links to the UU at Magee and Coleraine. Projects have included co-operation on sport initiatives, members attending special workshops (e.g. photography), involvement in research projects etc. Pauline Prior, who is the liaison for Belfast U3A, will inform members of any public lectures or events to which we are invited. If you have any ideas on specific events, classes, facilities, or initiatives at UU in Belfast or Jordanstown, please email Pauline ASAP.
Suggestion for a RUG (Really Useful Group)
As many U3A members who have skills and energy do not wish to be on the committee but are happy to help occasionally (as at the monthly meeting) we would like to ask for more volunteers to put their names forward (with information on what they might do) for a RUG. This list of names will consist of people who could be called on for one occasion or for a short term project. If you are willing, and able, please email Moya Crunden who will be the Co-ordinator.
Teas/coffees at monthly meeting in Balmoral Hotel.
Please note that tea and coffee is now available at monthly meetings at no charge.
Change of policy regarding member of other U3As attending Interest groups of Belfast U3A.
In future Belfast U3A will expect all participants in Interest Groups or activities to be paid up members of Belfast U3A.
Newsletters: limited numbers available at monthly meetings for those who do not have emails
Wish List for new Interest Groups
Do you have an idea for a new group you would like to see formed in Belfast U3A? If so, the committee would like to hear from you.
Do you know there is now a national u3a newsletter available to all members?
Sign up for it at https://www.u3a.org.uk/email
FAO CREATIVE WRITING GROUPS
Email from Allison Milligan, TSE officer based at Belfast Central:
I have been asked to contact you on behalf of Nikki Terlik our TSE officer based at Belfast Central, she has been delivering fortnightly online creative writing sessions via zoom. She was wondering if any members of our creative writing groups based out of Ormeau Road Library would be interested in joining in, as it will be a considerable length of time before meetings can resume at the branch. Nikki’s contact email address is Nicola.Terlik@librariesni.org.uk if anyone wishes to get in touch, she will then contact those participants with log on information for the Zoom meetings. The sessions generally take place fortnightly on a Wednesday at 2.00pm (next session 1st July TBC). If you could pass this information onto other participants of the U3A Writing Group, I would be most appreciative.
Caroline and Mark, the Jazz Group Convenors,
are sending out emails to members registered with them, with tips for good sources for jazz music.
From the Gardening Group, “Hello everyone. It is great that restrictions are easing and we may chance seeing each other at the various garden centres or National Trust properties. Some of you have been asking about refunds of the monies paid for our aborted garden visits. This is now in place and you should hear from Andrew, Rosemary or myself very shortly. We have all enjoyed the strange coverage of Chelsea and RTE’s turn with Bloom. Enjoy everything as best you can. To those still restricted we hope it will be your turn soon. Stay safe. Remember we are all a potential carrier for now.” Rosemary & Roberta
Lilian and Norma, Convenors of the Duplicate Bridge 2 Group, send the message, “We hope all of those who had joined us at the Boat Club since September 2019 have kept safe and well. We miss our Tuesday mornings and the friends we made in the short time we were in operation. We hope you continue to stay safe and will join us again when it’s safe to do so.”
From the Literature 1 Group, June and Nuala say, “We hope members are enjoying reading widely! Please keep a note of any texts you think would be of interest to the rest of the group and then offer them as suggestions for our proposed autumn programme. ‘People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading!’ wrote Logan Pearsall Smith. I wonder if he would agree during our Lock Down!”
The Bowling Convenors, Clare and Helen, are waiting on guidance from the NI Executive and relevant governing bodies before any decision can be made on outdoor bowling. They will be in touch with the Bowlers when things become clearer.
The Walking Group has kept in touch with one another by: regular emails, the mini-newsletter, phone calls, a weekly Zoom fitness session. Once the restrictions were lifted to allow up to 6 people to meet outside, we had walkers who volunteered to lead groups of 6 on local walks at different parts of the city and ensuring social distancing – Stormont Estate, Lockkeepers Cottage, Musgrave Park and Seapark in Holywood. For those who wish to stay separate, the Zoom fitness session is still an option. Brenda.
Adrian advises, "The Golfers await Phase 3 of the golf regulations which allowed golf to restart and will allow golf clubs to welcome non-members as well as members. Meanwhile, the Golf Group have started to meet up on Zoom calls every 2 weeks."
For the Photography Group, Adrian reports, "The Photography Group meet on Zoom every 2 weeks and are looking at ways of getting outdoors for a day out within the social distancing guidelines."
Nuala, Book Group 2 Convenor reports, “As we are a very convivial group the prospect of Lockdown parting us for an unspecified period of time was not to be borne. One of our members set up a Whattsap group and we carried on with our usual reading programme. Monthly book was chosen. Date for presentation of views settled. (One of the benefits of Lockdown? Finding a date when we are all available is remarkably easy!) In between the assignment dates there is almost daily communication. Lots of jokes of course but also useful information about shopping, etc. On presentation day those who have read the book (and we are MOST understanding about those who haven't quite got round to reading it yet) email their views and we all respond.” Despite her initial reservations and techno-fear, Nuala was very happy with the outcome. Some of the group decided to drag her by the scruff of the neck into our new technological world and the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 2nd June on Zoom! Meanwhile, Book 2 Group are still a happy, and happily, reading group. Regards to all my U3A friends. I do miss you all. Nuala.
The Cycle Group rides mostly on cycle and pedestrian shared lanes and Greenways. Jackie reports that there will be no cycle group rides until the Greenways are quieter; that is when people get back to work and school. Jackie
Elizabeth, of the Brunch Group, says they are keeping in touch and planning an open air get-together sometime, somewhere (not at the chippie). Eliz.
For the members of Exercises for the Body and Brain, Ursula sends the message, “Wishing you well. Hope you are doing your favourite exercises especially The Hook -Ups. Keep Safe Keep Healthy.” Ursula
For members of the Art Appreciation Group, Sandra keeps in touch with suggestions about art programmes on television, and the many art galleries and museums around the world that have online exhibitions available for all to enjoy.
In the Military History Group, Gwyn has been setting the members research tasks to undertake during lockdown.
The Creative Writing Group continues with their writing projects in readiness for when they can meet again and share their stories. Deirdre
Book Group 1 is not meeting at the moment. Convenor, Anne, sends greeting to her members and U3A friends.
For the Classical Music Appreciation Group, Keith continues to send out musical listening suggestions with some background notes and analysis while Kristin sends out biographies.
Betty and Kate from the Film Group send a message, “We hope all the Film Group members are keeping safe and well".
New Yoga Group. Sign up at monthly meeting or contact Lorraine Walls
Walkers notice. It seems that the time might be right to respond to increased demand by forming another sub-group of the All Weather Walking Group. We are asking for expressions of interest in another Amblers-type group (to complement the existing one). Those who need a shorter, perhaps more local outing (but still including a stop for coffee) should contact Brenda McHugh to discuss how we might make this work.
If you would be willing to convene a second Brunch Group or a fourth Book Group, please contact %Theresa McVeigh% . Sign-up sheets at monthly meeting for members interested in joining the above.
The Glee Club require a back-up pianist for those occasions on which Eileen Hurley cannot attend. If interested please contact Groups Co-ordinator Maria Curran.
APPEALS FOR HELP, OTHER EVENTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST ETC
Ulster University Pandemic Study (June 2020)
How to take part
Researchers from the Schools of Biomedical Science and Engineering are looking for volunteers between the ages of 18 and 90, whether they think they have had COVID-19 or not, to survey the presence of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the blood of the people of Northern Ireland.
Eligible participants will be asked to:
Download the Ulster University COVID-19 smartphone app
Answer questions on their age, health and any COVID-19 symptoms they have, or have had
Attend a one-off short drive-through appointment in the University to take a finger-prick blood test
If participants test positive for the COVID-19 antibody they will be invited to give a blood sample
If you are interested in participating in the study please email email@example.com
Appeal for books
Quality Books Required by Self Help Africa Bookshop (previously known as War on Want) 24 Botanic Avenue Belfast BT7 1JQ Tel: 028 90 247773 in support of our African projects.
Please Keep us in mind if you are house clearing, downsizing or if you know of anyone who may have books to donate.
Digital Assist Text Help
We have just received an offer of help with digital problems, from the Communities Executive at Business in the Community. You will find more information on the organisation at www.bitcni.org.uk. Volunteers offer help with specific digital problems on a tablet, laptop or phone after receiving a text from you. If there are any problems with the service please email Pauline Prior, who will try to help, on firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about it, click on the link to the Poster on the Links page of this website.
Digital Assist Text