Group News

GROUPS COORDINATOR Steffi Spooner. Please contact Steffi by using the messaging link on the CONTACT page



26th May 2021



As we begin to anticipate a return to life in general we find some groups will have to run with smaller numbers – of course we don’t yet know what new freedoms June will bring – but mostly people are likely to have to meet in smaller numbers, if only to allow for some anxiety on the part of the members.

To this end we would appeal for more group leaders to come forward!

It is important there are not big waiting lists or members not able to follow an activity they have waited a long time to do! I am sure we could have some completely new groups, from knitting to poetry and beyond!

Certainly there are many people wanting to walk in a group but a little further than the Ramblers, or Short Walks go – say 5-8 miles. Anyone willing to help?

Also could any Group Leader who has an anticipated numbers problem, either with meeting sizes or over subscription, would you please contact the Groups co-ordinator Stephie Spooner via the CONTACT page !!

16th MAY 2021

Dear Group Convenors,

Below is some helpful advice from the U3A for you to consider.

No-one should feel under any obligation to open a group up. It is still quite complicated and personally I don’t see how having groups of six in isolation in the same hall would work!! Having groups meeting in a private home is not really ideal unless someone has a very big lounge with lots of windows!

Do also consider the possibility of a hold on the June unlocking – due to the Indian variant.

I would refer you to the advice pages on the U3A website, detailing the group, hall and personal assessments required, and regulations to be followed. These assessment forms are also on Dereham website, the personal one is a Covid free declaration, which each member must do privately.

While writing the Committee is updating our Dereham Policies. One update will be to the contribution for fuel when car sharing. The Committee feels that a set contribution could invalidate car insurance and we intend to amend this to simply a contribution to fuel and car park costs. Not that we can car share now!

I do hope this is of some help with your decision making, I will try to help in any way I can!

Kind regards Stephie


Group News – yes Groups – where people meet up!

There seems to be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for groups to restart!

On an apparently secret part of the U3A website there is information showing that outdoor sports groups may restart provided various requirements are met. This should allow walkers to start again.

In order to participate each person is required to complete a private individual assessment for each walk the result of which allows an individual to decide it they are safe to go walking. Group Convenors must complete an assessment for each walk ensuring all the Government guidelines are followed. The Government asks Convenors to follow those rules set down by the Ramblers Association. Walkers must all be good, travel separately, and keep their distance from each other, and follow the requests made by the Convenors. So probably no hugging yet!

It seems possible in another secluded part of the website information regarding other outdoor groups such as Wildlife and Gardening will be lurking……… the search continues!

When indoor groups are eventually permitted it may be that groups will have to move to larger premises to socially distance; possibly going from private homes to halls. Again, the Group Convenor will have to complete both U3A assessment forms and those of the hall. Individual private assessments will still be required.

If it becomes possible in the summer to meet in private houses, everyone must all be extremely good and help the Convener maintain Government guidelines. This might mean arriving well wrapped up in order that doors and windows can be left open without everybody freezing. No doubt masks, sanitiser and distance will still be the watchwords. Further guidance will be given by U3A - it is unlikely much exciting will happen before mid-June. The decision by the Government regarding immunity certification will influence progress.

All the assessment forms are available on the Dereham U3A website – or go to and follow for Covid advice. There is a log in required to access this – just create your own – anyone can use it!
After such a long break some Group Convenors have had to resign. The Craft Group and Singing Group are examples of those seeking new Convenors. Anyone willing to take on the management of these groups please contact Stephie Spooner through the Dereham U3A web site. Any Convenor unable to continue please also let Stephie know.

Any Group Convenor who has changed their email address in the last year please would you let Stephie know and would all Convenors check the Silver Bird system on the Dereham website does reach you. No good having a posh silver bird if it flies in the wrong direction!

Finally, in the loft are scrap books, sadly neglected! They need someone to take them home and resume recording the highlights of our U3A in these “Memory Books”. There must be one artistic soul in our huge membership who would be willing to undertake this task!

Just think we may be able to have social lives again – how lovely.

Stephie Spooner.


Ideas for new groups are always welcome , please contact Steffi via the CONTACT page.