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|AS OF DECEMBER 31st 2020, CUMBRIA HAS NOW BEEN ADDED TO TIER 4 AND THERE WILL BE NO u3a GROUP WALKS UNTIL RESTRICTIONS ARE RELAXED AGAIN|
Our Strange U3A Year so far ... (October 2020)
Coronavirus has, of course, severely restricted U3A group activities this year. When the full lockdown started in March all meetings had to be cancelled and groups had to start trying to do things online or telephone only, to try to keep their members in touch and their group activities going, where possible.
As time passed, groups became better organised for this, and then when restrictions were relaxed in August some groups were able to meet in person again. In particular outdoor groups such as the walking groups and croquet group, but some indoor groups were also able to meet, with good social distancing in covid-19 secure venues. However, those indoor meetings have now had to stop again and for most groups it's back to online meeting only, and quite a few groups do now meet online on Zoom on a monthly basis, with other groups still keeping in touch and keeping their activities going through email or WhatsApp and Facebook etc. Only the walking groups have been able to continue meeting in person, with their group walks being organised under guidance for group walks issued by the Ramblers Association.
We also restarted our normal monthly speaker meetings in August, but now online of course, and these have been successful with about 60 to 90 people joining each of the three speaker meetings on Zoom that we've had so far. Our speaker finder, Joan Nicholson, has already booked the next three speakers, "Health Matters" on November 17th, "Brilliant British Humour" on December 8th, and "Here be dragons..!" on January 12th, about the fabulous monsters, mythical beasts and grotesques rampaging through the carvings in churches. See our website events page for details of these talks, and note that the November talk has had to be put back a week from our normal second Tuesday morning speaker meeting schedule, to the third Tuesday (17th) just for November
Furness U3A Chair
(If you are not in a group active in this way, or you just feel isolated and would like to get in touch with others, then feel free to contact our welfare person Lucy Chilton, or myself, Peter Quiggin. I and Ann Wilson can also help if you want help with any of the various internet ways of keeping in touch – email Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook etc.)
Our Groups Organiser has sent this report on groups in lockdown:
After Peter and Ann organised a Zoom meeting recently to discuss whether, or how, members were keeping in touch it seems that our indefatigable and resourceful Group Leaders are busier than ever.
Many Group Leaders send out regular ‘keeping in touch’ emails to group members as well as telephoning some people who are do not have email. Others have created Newsletters, quizzes, crosswords, on-line art galleries, Facebook pages and are doing some of the free MOOC courses (available on most subjects under the sun.)
The list is amazing and I hope this will give those of you who couldn’t be part of the Zoom meeting some ideas for keeping in touch not only with those who have become friends but also those members who perhaps live on their own and do not have “the technology”.
For some groups it is not feasible to maintain regular contact during Lockdown but it is obvious that their members are raring to resume activities as soon as they can.
If you didn’t attend the Zoom meeting but are keeping in touch with your members please let me know so we can pass on good ideas. I realise that this is a lot of extra work for Group Leaders so if you would like any support to set up Zoom meetings, or other contact, please get in touch by email or telephone ( I am not out a lot at the moment)
Groups Organizer - Liz Hill
Environment Matters Group
As you will no doubt all be aware, the Covid pandemic has led to some unfortunate effects upon the environment. One example is the number of disposable facemasks going to landfill or, far worse, being discarded negligently on beaches and in National Parks, etc. So, we thought we would share an example of a positive environmental change occurring because of lockdown and this concerns my local Fish and Chip Shop. During lockdown, through the Barrow Eats App, this shop began home deliveries - including pensioners' fish and chip lunches and suppers. Thus began the quest to find ways to have the food arrive in the best condition possible. With paper not giving enough protection, of course, they discovered that using recyclable, biodegradable, compostable cardboard boxes was far better than the usual polystyrene. The result: super fish and chips and a win for the environment!
RESEARCHING CHANGES IN FURNESS HIGH STREETS
A major new U3A-wide project, under the title "The National U3A High Street Research Project" is getting underway, and we are looking for help in contributing to this for Ulverston, Dalton and Barrow-inFurness. The project will involve recording the state of each town's High Streets, both with photographs and retail outlet details, so that comparisons can be made over time. The current intention is to repeat the exercise in around eighteen months, so that changes can be assessed. Clearly Covd-19 has already had some impact, and many of us can see this on our own local streets. You can find more details of the project at: Nat.U3A High Street Research Project. If you would be interested in helping with this project for any of the three towns, please contact John Kaye. With enough interest, we’ll set up a special group to share information and manage our contributions to the national picture. More information is expected soon from the project leadership very soon, but the current plan seems to get most of the first stage done during September.
U3A Energy and Climate Change Conference postponed a year
Cumbria Network of U3As is planning the 3rd Energy Conference : “Strategies for Tackling Climate Change”. A host of eminent speakers will cover current progress and the actions needed at international, national and personal levels to reach the IPCC target of net zero carbon by 2050 . Watch this space!
This conference was being organised by the North Cumbria U3A network and was planned for 9 October 2020 at Rheged (near Penrith), but they have decided to postpone it for a year, and it is now provisionally planned for 8 October 2021.
We are planning a significant publicity event in Barrow; Update: it is now planned for Wednesday 2nd June 2021, coronavirus situation permitting. This is a new annual national U3A Day that national office is promoting, and U3As all around the country will be supporting it by holding events that same day.
Your U3A needs U and your ideas
We also need to raise the profile where we can of the U3A in advance of the U3A Day and it would be helpful that where you identify locations where we can put up our generic U3A posters that you put them up for us, such as in your local library. I can supply the posters and even the drawing pins if you want. Again email or phone as above. Thanks in advance for your ideas and actions.
Harry Knowles, Publicity Officer
FEBRUARY 2020 MONTHLY MEETING
The U3A was treated to a fascinating talk by Steve Halliwell on the history and geography of the isles of St Kilda (Click on a picture to enlarge)
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