Third Age Trustee for Scotland

Trustee for Scotland Report April 2021

2021 has been a busy year so far. Trust volunteers have just completed a telephone survey of all Scottish u3as. The picture emerging is very mixed. Many u3as are coping remarkably well with lock down. Interest groups are taking place online, newsletters and bulletins are going out and phone calls are being made. They are doing everything they can to keep their members busy and informed. Others,mostly small and remote u3as are not doing as well. Their membership is ageing and often not happy to engage with technology but my feeling is that when Covid restrictions go they will be very happy to get back to face to face groups. The volunteers who made these calls said that it was a very enjoyable experience. The committee members they talked to were very pleased to receive the call and have the chance to talk about how their u3as were coping. Some of the contact phone numbers we have on record are no longer up to date. Could you let the Trust know if there have been changes.

The Trust recognises the need for a Retention and Recruitment drive to make sure that the u3a movement remains dynamic.. Paul Martinez and his team have developed a Tool Kit full of useful resources to help u3as retain members and recruit new members. One of these tools is on how to recruit committee members. This is a problem that many u3as have. This Tool Kit can be found on the Trust web site under Resources.

Online Across Scotland now has well over 20 interest groups running. Language groups seem to be the most popular and some are already full but there are still plenty of spaces available in other groups. Why not give “Coding Cafe” or Archaeology a go? . This network is open to all Scottish u3a members at no extra cost. I expect Online Across Scotland to continue even after Covid. Members are enjoying meeting people from all across Scotland and the rich environment of sharing ideas and thoughts, and learning together. Professor, Sir Tom Devine is going to give a talk on his Perspective on the Clearances on the 22 of April at 2:00pm. Put the date in your diary. You will find the direct link to the talk on the Online Across Scotland website:

The Action Project in partnership with the David Hume Institute went very well. 133 u3a members took part in conversations around how to create a fairer Scotland. The David Hume Institute researchers found the u3a members’ insights incredibly valuable. There were 17 u3a hosted conversations and 170 specific actions and calls for change which have become a key part of the project’s findings.

The Central Belt Network goes from strength to strength. There are now 27 u3as taking part in regular online meetings. They exchange information and ideas and offer one another support. Ros Holmes and Viv O’Duffy are doing a great job chairing the meetings. My thanks goes out to them. Central Belt network and members of the u3a in Scotland network have taken part in meetings with networks from all over the UK. These meetings have been organised by Hilary Jones, the Vice Chair of the Trust. The objective is to share information.

I have spoken online to Bearsden Rotary Club, the Borders Arthritis Awareness Society and Penicuik u3a. I enjoyed these meetings very much and was impressed by the lively question and answer sessions.

The Trust have asked me to form a Trustee Support Group to help with the work that needs to be done on raising awareness of the u3a Movement and recruitment and retention. We now have a PR coordinator, a Research and Shared Learning coordinator and a team of committed people who want to see the u3a thrive in the years to come. If you would like to be part of this team please let me know.

u3a Day will take place on the 2nd of June 2021. It will probably be more subdued in Scotland because we are slower to come out go lock down and a bit more cautious. There are lots of ideas about what you can do on the Keeping in Touch Face Book page. Some u3as are going to have their u3a day later and that is fine. There are u3a Day grants available from the Trust.

Do contact me with any questions you may have.
Ann Keating
Scottish Trustee