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All Scotland Assembly and Special General Meeting at Elgin, 22 October 2019

The All Scotland Assembly and SGM held in the Town Hall, Elgin, on 22 October was attended by 42 delegates, representing 17 Member U3As. Kath Payne, Chair, U3A in Scotland and Eve Kersley, Chairperson, Elgin and Distrist U3A, welcomed everyone.

The first speaker in the morning session was Ann Keating the new Third Age Trustee for Scotland. Ann said she was looking forward to her new role and had a lot to learn. She spoke about the new Third Age Trust Development Plan, which includes marketing U3A in a different way; mobilising the membership to get involved with local publicity; improving resources; and the changed logo with just U3A and ‘learn, laugh and live’. Ann intends to spend her first few months finding out what is going on, then try to strengthen Scottish networks. She also spoke about the national U3A activity day on 3 June 2020.

The second presentation was on The Unforgotten Forces Consortium. Glen McDonald, Poppy Scotland, spoke about the consortium of 16 organisations supporting older veterans and their families. The services provided include practical support; advice services for older veterans; countering loneliness and isolation; health and wellbeing services; and influencing and policy work. In the past two years these organisations have provided nearly 8,000 episodes of support for older veterans across Scotland. During the lunch break delegates visited displays by other members of the consortium: Steve Henderson, Age Scotland Veterans Project; Roy Harrison, Legion Scotland; Mick Hilton, Scottish War Blinded; and Alec Pole, ILM Highland. There were lively discussions with Glen McDonald and his colleagues.

The lunch break provided a welcome opportunity for members to chat together, get to know each other and share information about their U3As and issues of common interest.

At the Special General Meeting the Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019 were approved and a new independent examiner, Edward McGee was appointed.

Susan Tester then gave a brief presentation on the U3A Scotland Summer School 2020 and announced that bookings for the summer school would open on Friday 25 October.

The main speaker in the afternoon was John Alexander, Beacon Supporter, who gave an outline and demonstration of the Beacon system. John’s role is to tell people about Beacon, help them to get used to it, then decide whether to go ahead, then, if so, support them for several months until they are ready to use it. John said that over 30% of U3As now use Beacon which enables them to manage membership, groups, finance and communication for their U3A. Beacon is to be upgraded to a new system. The aim is to roll this out to U3As currently using Beacon, then to others by the end of the third quarter of 2020.

During the Open Forum which followed, topics discussed by delegates included the cost of Beacon; and the use of personal email addresses for office bearers; the use of generic email addresses was recommended.

The Chair announced that the next Assembly would be on 30 March 2020 hosted in Peebles by Tweeddale U3A. Kath thanked Elgin and District U3A for their very successful hosting of the event.

The feedback on the day was very positive with most aspects rated ‘very good’ or ‘good’.

For photos of the event follow the links on this page.

U3A in Scotland Summer School August 2020 launched
Bookings are now open for the U3A in Scotland Summer School 18-20 August 2020 at Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling, Stirling. Please see Summer School page of this website for all information and documents.

The Black Isle Gathering, 5th October 2019
Three U3As, Inverness & Black Isle, Easter Ross and Dingwall, had a stand at the Black Isle Gathering, held in Fortrose Academy. The Black Isle Gathering happens every other year and provides the opportunity for all clubs and societies to showcase their activities and encourage people of all ages to get involved with their organisations. A wide variety of activities took place which included dancing, singing and music. It also provided the opportunity for three closely related U3As to work together.

A new U3A for Arran
A meeting to introduce Arran to the U3A was held in Brodick Church Hall on Friday 13th of September. It was a beautiful day, which obviously enticed about 50 people to come along and find out more about our organisation. Ed Link chaired the meeting and gave an overview of the U3A and its objectives. Ritchie Ross from Ayr U3A talked about why he joined the U3A and the satisfaction and pleasure he derived from being a member. Ayr U3A has been on the go for about two years and, in spite of having competing organisations in town, is thriving. Kath Payne, Chair U3A in Scotland, talked about the help and assistance U3A in Scotland were able to offer new groups setting up. She spoke with passion and enthusiasm for the organisation. There was a lively question and answer session after the presentations. It was interesting to note that many of the people there had been members of other U3As. A steering committee of 12 was set up and I look forward to hearing from them soon and helping them to launch the U3A in Arran.

U3A in Scotland Newsletter March 2019
The March 2019 Newsletter is available to download from this page.