DISCUSSION West Molesey 2.00–4.15 third Friday monthly. Members are encouraged to suggest subjects for discussion.
The Leader says:
"Throughout my 40 - year civil service career and subsequent retirement [in 1994!] I have always taken an interest in what is going on around me, and why. When one is married there are continuous opportunities for social exchanges but shortly after losing my ever alert husband/ WW2 veteran, in August 2015, a silence entered my daily life which could not be compensated by either the newspapers, tv or radio. One could “rail” at all three but with no comebacks! So when an opportunity arose to take over a discussion/current affairs Esher U3A group on home territory, I responded saying I would give it a try.
That was in February 2016 and for the next few months the baptism was very extended, with a few members coming and going but with just sufficient of a nucleus to continue to advertise and hold meetings. We have now just reached the stage when I can confidently plan for up to 9 regular members for afternoon tea and cakes at meetings in my conservatory.
Whilst Discussion groups arrange the structure of the conversations in different ways, our own agreed formula is for any member to introduce an issue of concern with which we “run” until we feel that we have exhausted the points of interest. There is always so much happening at local level, regional/county and of course on the world stage that we are never in danger of drying up! Our first attempted subject I recall was how to solve the Middle East crisis [!] and the member concerned had kindly brought along a large and useful map but after two hours’ discussion we were no further forward and just had to sympathise with world leaders who are still struggling with this dreadful problem, especially from a humanitarian point of view. Now our subjects for discussion are less intellectually demanding, and more capable of some proposals or even resolution, eg, local travellers’ sites, options to council tax, organ donation, composition of parliament, growth of media sites, etc. In the course of chatting, often matters and news of other local news items pop up, such as local bus route changes and interesting local events of which one would not otherwise have heard. Above all, frustrations with politicians of all colours!! We also create much wry amusement.
Usually there is much agreement amongst us but when contrasting views emerge, it is both stimulating and educative and we do of course remain polite at all times! Personally, this group has proved a very satisfying outlet to my own gap in the exchange in meaningful, more reflective thoughts."