Scotland

Third Age Trustee for Scotland

Message to members from Trustee for Scotland, March 2020

Dear Members,

I hope that you are all keeping safe and well. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I have got to know some of you from my very enjoyable visits to U3As throughout Scotland and have been impressed with the excellent organisation of committees and the variety of interest groups. The U3A is alive and well in Scotland and will be after this difficult time has passed.

I know that you will miss the social interaction and intellectual stimulation now that the groups are no longer meeting but we can still go on on-line. Please subscribe to the Trust Newsletter. It is full of advice and ideas.

Now might be a time to get on with some research and there are grants available for special projects. For example, one member from Turriff U3A is going to publish a history of railways in the North East. If you have any ideas please let me know.

The Trust is thinking of holding its own Song Contest. The regions would compete against one another and the winning song would become the U3A anthem. Why not have a go. Scotland could win!

My husband and I have abandonned Edinburgh and we are isolating ourselves up here in Perthshire. I have a garden that I can get out into and plant my seeds, which hopefully will keep me sane. From my window I can see a blue sky and snow on the hills. Idyllic. It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of a crisis.

Please remember to phone members who might not have access to the internet and have a chat.

Please keep in touch,
Ann Keating

Staying in Touch – the Third Age Trust

These are extraordinary times and national office staff and trustees have been working hard to make sure it’s business as usual with some changes in how we provide services and a number of additions.

National Office
From last night, following the government announcement, staff are now working from home. The phone lines have been diverted so the national office number 0208 466 6139 will continue to be answered by staff, as will email enquiries. Our current volume of ‘phone calls in normal periods is 2000 per month.

Due to the limitations on office working , the national shop is not able to process merchandise orders; however publicity downloads are still available.

Learning
The U3A Learning offer continues to be supported. While the DVD library is closed until further notice, members are being signposted to other resources. These include links on the national website to Subject Advisers – who have many learning resources on their dedicated pages Those Subject Advisers who want a dedicated website to store material will be supported in setting up a Site Builder website to include their resources. We are hoping to develop some podcasts with Subject Advisers.

Members are being encouraged to take part in a UK wide living history shared learning project to document their experience during this unprecedented time. You can read more and learn how to get involved in this on the website.

More ideas and thoughts about remote learning opportunities will be added to this page in the coming days/weeks. Thank you to all U3As for sharing their ideas.

Currently the team are working on advice for interest groups on how to use platforms such as Skype, closed Facebook and the conference call facility Whypay to offer remote interest group opportunities for members.

Volunteers

The Trust is identifying key volunteers to work remotely in each region with Regional Trustees. The aim is to offer email and potentially telephone support to small clusters of U3As who may experience particular problems as time progresses or who may just want a progress update on how others in the region are managing. They will liaise with Regional Trustees and National Office staff.

Events

During this changing time, we have postponed all National Office arranged events until the Autumn. U3A Day on June 3 is postponed until October 1. You can see more detail on the U3A Day Facebook page.

Communications

We hope to put regular bulletins on the national website with the latest advice and guidance surrounding coronavirus – and specific advice and ideas for U3As. We will send these bulletins in regular mailings to U3A committees.

Sources Online – our learning blog will host creative ideas about how interest groups and U3A members are continuing to stay healthy, active and engaged during this time. Please send all your ideas and stories to the communications officer – elizabeth.drury@u3a.org.uk

The national newsletter is a great way for the U3A movement to stay in touch with each other – please encourage all your colleagues and members to sign up.

Elsewhere - a new Keeping In Touch closed Facebook page will be completed in the next few days. This will help us all share thoughts and ideas.

There will be information about managing U3As finance on the website, in mailings and newsletters, soon in response to queries from U3As.

These are unprecedented times and so there will be other changes that we will need to make in the coming days and weeks ahead. We will keep in touch via all appropriate communication channels to keep everyone informed.

The strength and resilience of this U3A community is exceptional. Thank you so much for your continued support and commitment.

18 March 2020