On this you will find Announcements from the Committee and other events/opportunities for participation which may of interest to you.
Committee News - from the May/June Newsletter
Greetings from your committee which has three new members, Jim McDonnell, who is also our new Membership Secretary, Colette McAuley and Mina Kelly. We are delighted to welcome them and to congratulate our new Vice-Chairperson, Maria Curran, and new Business Secretary, Caroline Brown, on their new roles. In the past two months, we met with the five chairs of the local u3as and attended the monthly regional meetings (NIREC). All of these keep us informed about the efforts being made throughout the u3a movement in NI in these difficult months, when many activities have had to move online. We were also able to complete the annual reports for the AGM and begin to use direct debits for annual membership renewals. Andrew, our Treasurer, has worked tirelessly to keep our finances in order, and if you have not paid already, please do so this month.
We were very pleased with the attendance at our monthly meetings and we hope to see as many of you as possible in May and June. As well as the excellent speakers, we hear that many of you enjoy the ‘Breakout Rooms’ at the end of each meeting at which you have an opportunity to meet a small group of other members. Now, as we look forward to good weather and an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, we hope that some activities will start again very soon. We will not be holding any monthly meetings in July or August, but we will keep you informed if there are any online events on offer from the Third Age Trust, or elsewhere and, if you have signed up for the Trust Newsletter, you will hear what is happening elsewhere in the UK. We would like to encourage you all to support the group convenors who work tirelessly to keep in touch with group members using all means possible to cheer us up.
Third Age Trust Short Story Competition
The Third Age Trust is launching its second annual creative writing competition in partnership with Bloomsbury. This is based on the successful Welsh competition and is a hunt for the best short story written by a u3a member in the UK. Subject to the competition rules - any u3a member can enter, whether or not they belong to a Writing group, as long as they submit their entry through the online submission portal. Your story can be fiction or non-fiction but must be 1500 words or less. The full rules – please read carefully – and the submission portal are on the u3a website, as part of the national learning initiatives section in the “Learn” section (see link above). This year the theme is “unexpected”. It is up to you how you interpret this. The deadline for entries is 28th May and we will be announcing winners at the end of August. Please have a go, we are very excited to read your stories.
For details and to enter, click below:
u3a Creative Writing 2021
Monthly Meetings on Zoom: The meetings will open 10 minutes before the time and you will be admitted to the waiting room until the meeting is ready to start. The Zoom link will be sent out by email the day before the meeting.
• Thursday 27th May at 11.00 am. Speaker: Winston Irwin. Topic: The Life and Works of Percy French.
• Thursday 24th June at 11.00 am. Speaker: Marie Mullan. Topic: Exiled from Ireland: Harry Clarke’s Geneva Window
Exiled from Ireland – Harry Clarke’s Geneva Window – Marie T. Mullan. Congratulations to Marie on the publication of her book. The Geneva Window, renowned for its superb artistry and craftsmanship, celebrates the novels, poems and plays of the Irish Literary Revival. It was the work of Harry Clarke, Ireland’s most famous stained-glass artist. Commissioned by the Irish government as a gift to the International Labour Office in Geneva, the window was initially accepted by the Government on its completion in 1930, but rejected a few days later as ‘unrepresentative’ of the Irish people and even labelled ‘indecent’. This had serious emotional and financial consequences for Harry, a situation made worse when he died a few months later.
The window was returned to the Clarke studio, where it remained until 1988 when it was exhibited in London. It was then sold to the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, Florida, and is now valued at millions of dollars. Exiled from Ireland tells the tragic story of this stunning window, examines the eight panels that comprise it and discusses the fifteen literary works by authors such as Yeats, Joyce and O’Casey that inspired each panel.
This is a beautiful 80-page book showing Clarke’s images in full colourful glory and we encourage you to buy it. It will soon be stocked by bookshops in Belfast, Dublin and Cork OR You can order the book NOW by clicking below:
Order Marie Mullan’s book here
TV Licensing update and Scam warning
- By now all members over 75 have probably received a notification about how to get their valid TV Licence. More on the changes to Over 75s can be found on the website www.tvlicensing.co.uk/age or by phone, calling 08002321.
- BEWARE Scammers may try to trick you into giving personal or bank details. Watch out for letters, emails, texts or phone calls that promise you money or refunds or demand payment from you.
- Authentic emails only come from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- And genuine communications will always use your last name and title and never just say Dear Customer.
- For help call 0300 303965
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS)
Although the NIFRS, due to Covid-19, has recently been giving telephone-only based assessments they are pleased to announce that they now can offer ‘face to face’ Home Fire Safety Checks to those people most at risk from fire. Persons who are aged 50 or older come into this category and any members who wish to avail themselves of this advice should contact the Fire Service: Telephone 028 9266 4221 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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
This is a UK wide Newsletter sent by email from to all members who sign up for it. Scroll to the bottom of the home page of the Third Age Trust, and enter your name, email, and u3a Region (Northern Ireland).
Sign up for Third Age Trust Newsletter here: https://www.u3a.org.uk/newsletter
Policy regarding member of other u3as attending Interest groups of Belfast u3a: All participants in Belfast u3a interest groups should be paid-up members of Belfast u3a.
A Message from the Gardening Group Convenors.
It is well worth visiting your local park to see emerging bulbs as a sign of Spring. For example, in Ormeau
Park I spotted clumps of snowdrops struggling into flower and swathes of daffodils on the lower slope
which will look wonderful in a few weeks’ time.
Or maybe if you are restricted you may be lucky enough to have them in your own garden.
Something to look forward to - Channel 5 GREAT BRITISH GARDENS Season by Season, with Carol Klein of
BBC fame. Keep an eye out on Channel 5.
Attention all Music Lovers from Mark Hewitt, Jazz Group Convenor
I’ve found an excellent way to while away the hours of solitary confinement that the pandemic has meant
for me. “SPOTIFY FREE” is an on-line music streaming service which also gives access to podcasts. If you have Wi-Fi, you can access music of any Genre, Performer and Vintage, provided they have a significant recorded catalogue, using most on-line devices.
Craft Group Activities
The Craft Group has been unable to meet in person since lockdown began in March 2020 due to COVID restrictions. However, members of the Group have kept in touch through telephone calls and texting – providing friendship and encouragement. A few members were able (when restrictions relaxed) to meet up (socially distanced) for walks. Meantime, crafting has not come to a halt (although, at times, motivation may have waned a little). Special times, like Christmas, gave extra impetus to create and craft! We look forward very much to when, as a Group, we are able to meet together again. Jill Quinn
Some of the examples of craftwork that have members at home during lockdown are shown at the side of this page.
All Weather Walking Group
We have been very lucky! Our usual routine of weekly walks has continued with a few adjustments to comply with current restrictions. From the very first lockdown, when we were under very strict rules, we were offered a weekly fitness session via Zoom. Little did we think then that it would still be needed a year later! Yet here we are, still doing it every week as well as our permitted outdoor exercise.
More and more people have taken to walking, as one of the few permitted types of exercise. It is to be hoped that this new routine which they have embraced will prove to be of benefit to their cardiovascular health (which depends on having healthy veins and arteries - and there is simply no substitute for walking to improve this), and also to their mental and social well-being.
As restrictions dictated, we moved from 15 people walking together to 6 for a while, then since Boxing Day, it has been only 2 households allowed to meet outdoors. So, we are now like the animals in Noah’s Ark - we go two by two! By now, some people have formed partnerships for walking in twos and make their own plans. Others are invited to join one of the local walks nominated each week.
Brenda, Rosemary and Jennifer
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. Email the Groups Co-ordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org.
APPEALS FOR HELP, OTHER EVENTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST ETC
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.
Red Cross Digital Sessions and Workshops
As face to face sessions are impossible at present, the Red Cross is offering digital sessions on First Aid, Kindness in the Community, and Tackling Loneliness Digitally. To access click here: Red Cross Digital Sessions
Tea, Learn & Connect These sessions enable you to connect with others. Open to all adults giving people an opportunity to connect with others and develop resilience and coping skills, they take place every Wednesday afternoon and can be accessed via Zoom. A session can be booked via Eventbrite and therefore no group booking is required. Click here to access: Red Cross Tea, Learn and Connect tickets
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 email@example.com. To read more about it, click on the link to the Poster on the Links page of this website.
Digital Assist Text
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.