Northumbria Region U3A

Trust News

Regional Trustee's Report - May 2019

It’s been a busy Spring and in the last few months I have met with several U3A Committees and members at monthly meetings and admired the range of Interest Groups and Events that they run for themselves. In conversation with one Membership Secretary, I was told they were mindful that they were a learning organisation and the ethos at the heart of their U3A was “kindness”.

Conversations with a wider group of Committee members from U3As have allowed me to commission delivery of 3 workshops for members this year: Good news (March 2019) Producing material for local newspapers and U3A websites; Being a great Chair and enjoying the role (May 2019) and the National Workshop “Interest groups Matter” for July 2019.

As summer approaches, I am planning to contact all 52 U3A Committees in the region and endeavour to ascertain what they see as their Development needs over the next 2 years. This would help us to plan a programme of Workshops led by our own team of Trust Volunteers, as well as taking a problem-solving approach where an individual Committee member can ask for advice from one of the team.

I am shortly to attend the annual Network Link meeting in London, which brings together representatives of up to 80 Networks in the UK to share good practice and highlight any challenges they face. The members themselves have input to the shape of the day and provide a forum for ideas for development. The number of Networks in our own region continues to flourish, with the increase of role specific networks including one for Treasurers, another for Chairs, and another for Interest Group Coordinators.

From a Research perspective, the Herbal Project continues, and the region has a new Shared Learning Project Coordinator, Jane Mathieson. U3As involved in research/shared learning projects should contact her so we can get a better picture of the enquiry led learning that is taking place in our region.

Another U3A has been created in Jesmond and the team of Trust Volunteers is eager to hear if members think there is a need for another in the Northeast.

As I come to an end of my three-year term as your Regional Trustee, can I urge you to vote for those members who choose to put themselves forward for the role and can be voted for in the June / July period. It has been fascinating working with the Trust in its advisory and support role for more than 1040 U3As across the UK. The creation of trained Trust Volunteers (all members of our own U3As) has been a worthwhile initiative as has the expansion of Networks in our own region where members help members to improve and develop their U3As.

Elizabeth Porter, 6 May 2019

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The Regional Trustee's report, given at the January Regional Meeting, can be seen by clicking here:
RT Report Jan 2019

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Trust Volunteers and their Home U3As

. Mo Brown Jill Haistead
Peter Chrichard Mo Brown Mary Dunning Jill Haistead
Ashington Newcastle Whitley Bay Wearside
. Sandi Rickerby Kelvin Rushworth Pam Turner
Jane Mathieson Sandi Rickerby Kelvin Rushworth Pam Turner
Teesdale Newcastle Wooler Morpeth

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Team members have a range of skills developed in U3A groups and networks and in a variety of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. Their skills include negotiation, problem-solving, public relations, communication, governance, event management, policy formulation and implementation, volunteer recruitment and retention.

The team offers the region’s members information, advice, support and training around the expansion of existing U3As, creation of new U3As, problem-solving within new and existing U3As and delivery of workshops aimed at improving the running of U3As.

See above for individual trust volunteers in your area; contact them via email (by clicking on their name in the table) or contact the Regional Trustee, Elizabeth Porter

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Trust Volunteers are Here to Help

Trust logo Readers will appreciate that, currently, there are eight Trust Volunteers in our region ready and willing to help U3As with any issues of concern to their Trustees, Officers, Committees or members.

Already, during 2018, there have been twelve requests for information, advice and assistance on a range of issues. Usually, following a request, two Trust Volunteers with appropriate skills and knowledge, will have an informal discussion with the relevant local U3A member/s. Occasionally, the issue can be resolved there and then.

However, this informal discussion may lead to one or several longer and more formal meetings, maybe including other members, and the development of an agreed plan of action. The Trust Volunteers, as required, will assist in the implementation of this plan and offer ongoing contact and support, if seen to be appropriate.

Recent examples include …
Twotown U3A: financial matters, Threetown U3A: increasing membership, Sixtown U3A: website problems and development, Seventown U3A: range of constitutional issues, Ninetown U3A: devising GDPR guidelines for Group Leaders/Convenors; Eleventown U3A: advice on safeguarding.

Initially, U3As wanting any kind of advice or assistance can email Elizabeth Porter, Regional Trustee, or any of the Trust Volunteers by clicking their name, listed below on this page.

Kelvin Rushworth (Wooler U3A) - Trust Volunteer, October 2018

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Northumbria Region U3A

Years ago, long before U3A ‘regions’ and ‘networks’, some local U3As in North East England recognised the immense value of living near, learning from and laughing with other local U3As. Northumbria Region U3A, a mutually supportive organisation was launched.

Today, we can be so very proud that those early ideas and plans are still being implemented and developed. Fifty one U3As across the North East and North Yorkshire continue to live, learn and laugh together.

Like all registered charities, Northumbria Region U3A is organised and managed by a committee of Trustees. I have been a Trustee of a huge range of small and large voluntary organisations and community groups for most of my adult life. It is one of the most satisfying volunteering roles that any individual can take.

Of course, being a Trustee can be challenging but, at an Annual General Meeting, there is nothing quite like the feeling of having succeeded in ensuring the survival, growth and development of a much needed and well-respected organisation.

So, what are the main roles which have to be undertaken by Trustees …
 ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
 comply with the law and the governing document of your charity
 act in the best interests of your charity
 responsibly manage the resources of your charity
 act with reasonable care and skill
 ensure that your charity complies with statutory accounting and reporting requirements.

Really, just the sort of things that any individual makes sure happens in the places where they live and work! In Northumbria Region U3A, currently, being a Trustee is really exciting. U3As are changing. Locally, more and different groups are being introduced. Nationally, membership continues to grow (both individuals and U3As). Internationally, U3A has achieved many successes and huge respect. What a great time to be involved!

If you want to know more about Northumbria Region U3A, contact Business Secretary Jane Mathieson

Kelvin Rushworth
Wooler U3A and Trust Volunteer

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