South East Region

Great Ideas


to access click the link From u3a Office

Ideas for running interest groups at your u3a whilst coping with the current Pandemic.

Group Leaders Handbook – have one available in case anyone comes forward to lead a Group. You could have Zoom only groups. e.g. Sign up for a free course then meet up on Zoom weekly or fortnightly to discuss. Zoom is free for 40 minutes. Then you can sign in again on the same link. Start a new online group – then sell it – as a way to recruit new members.

Trust u3a – is running 30 Interest Groups online – so lots of ideas there.
radio u3a Podcast this is the latest episode. All episodes to date are also available on the u3a YouTube channel

Online visits you might enjoy

The Heygo virtual tours are now fully active online. This week there are tours around the Amsterdam Tulip festival, Budapest at night, the Canadian Rockies and salsa dancing in Quito! If you haven't tried these virtual tours yet then please have a look at
More detail is here.

BRAD ASHTON  International TV Comedy Scriptwriter.
7, Abbotshall Avenue, Southgate, London N14 7JU  Phone: 0208 886 5343
I have recently given 45 comedy talks via zoom to groups like yours. They were very successful as the
feedbacks will verify. The talks are aimed at cheering the audiences up in these times of so much gloom
and doom.
 My talk is entitled THE JOB OF A LAUGHTIME in which I recall the fun I have had writing either Radio or
TV series for top comedians including Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Bruce
Forsyth, Hylda Baker, Hattie Jacques, David Frost and Bob Monkhouse.  The talk contains many humorous
backstage stories with some startling surprises.    My special fee for a zoom talk for charity groups such as
yours is just £75.   If you are interested, please phone or email me to check my availability.

Dr.Lynda Ware, Senior Fellow in General Practice, Cochrane UK - an international network dedicated to providing high quality evidence to support health decision-making worldwide. It is a not-for-profit organisation and in UK is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and hosted by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She would be very happy to give a virtual talk to any of your groups. She would be delighted to step in at short notice in the event of a cancellation. There is no charge for

Speaker on Heritage Themes by Meryl White
Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking
Charges a flat fee of £50 for a talk delivered by Zoom, hosted by the group.
[When we are allowed to have meetings again for me to deliver talks in person, the fee is dependent on the distance I have to travel, number of people attending, equipment etc.]

‘I have been delivering numerous talks and charity events on heritage baking themes to community groups for about 10 years across the north of England. At the end of last year, I moved from Yorkshire to Claygate, Esher, Surrey to live near my family. Since the first lockdown began in March 2020, I made all my talks available to groups who are able to host virtual meetings on Zoom or similar platforms and I have been delighted with the fantastic feedback.’ See

U3A Photography and Affinity Photo
I am group contact for the HVU3A Photography Group. We also now have a sub Group for Affinity Photo (using the photo editing tool). Both groups have been meeting monthly on Zoom for the past six months.
I am writing to ask if any of the Groups in the Network have Photography or Affinity Groups. We would like to find out if there is any interest in having cross Group Zoom meetings to share experiences, expertise and challenges.
Alison Baker contact

Wine Tasting
A u3a has recently set up a Wine Tasting Group. One Member undertook to buy all the bottles
of wine and deliver them to people's doorsteps where money was available.
The wine label was covered so no cheating. Then on a Zoom call the
participants opened the wine and discussed the taste. Apparently a good
time was had by all!
[Another idea would be to each have a bottle of wine in front of you at the start
of the Zoom meeting and open it and taste it and discuss it with the group -
each taking it in turns.

Film Group
Choose a film that is streamed for free - all watch it - arrange a meeting
to discuss it - with refreshments perhaps.

Opera Group
Choose an opera that is streamed free of charge - all watch it -
arrange a meeting to discuss it - with a glass of wine perhaps.

Author offers to give talks to u3as
Bradford U3A member Ranjit Arora has written semi-biographical novels about growing up in India and her career in teaching and educational research. She is happy to give Zoom talks to u3as on her experiences. [See P 20 TAM Winter 2020] - Contact Ranjit here

Refresh your Driving Knowledge and Skills
If your u3a or Network would like to request a Driving Post Lockdown webinar or Confident Driver presentation, please contact your Regional Trustee. [P43 TAM Winter 2020].

Zoom Talks
Are you looking for ideas for talks on Zoom? Here are some Zoom Talk Ideas.

u3a Facebook page ‘Keeping in Touch’ – when asked for ideas for Zoom talks - there were 95 suggestions – check them out.

Zoom Talk available from John Hope at £50 a time.
(He comes recommended by the WI and Probus.)
Time Through the Ages.
A journey through time telling over the centuries showing the development and improvement of time telling devices from the sundial through to the atomic clock.
Includes the rise and fall of the industry in the United Kingdom. for other subjects click here

Live performances of songs BUT with the histories and stories about the songs told supported with fascinating visuals: all shared through zoom.
And there’s plenty to join in with! Over 90 U3As nationally (and internationally!) have so far enjoyed a show: if you would like to receive full information, please get in touch:
If you wonder what a show is like, please have a look

Steve & Carol Robson
Fool’s Gold
Acoustic Music - Acoustic Musicians
tel:0795 7948116

Zoom Plays
Reigate & Redhill u3a have produced several Zoom Plays -Gallery Reigate & Redhill u3a Surrey The most complex was the "Zoom play "The Front Window". It was scripted, rehearsed and recorded, cut re-rehearsed all on Zoom and then heavily edited. A link to it was included in the June u3a national newsletter.
Other shorter individual pieces have been rehearsed on Zoom, recorded on laptops or tablets then edited with titles, music, images etc.
The keys are scripting, rehearsal and editing. Quite a lot can be done using imovie or equivalent. For the more complex piece (The zoom play) I used Final Cut Pro X on my iMac.
A number of other pieces are in preparation including autobiography, monologues, sketches and so on. Our intention is to keep a rolling programme going for as long as we have the energy - Mike Cockett, Chair.

Chis Wright is the u3a National Subject Adviser for Quizzes – he has lots of quizzes available if you ask – ( TVN recently ran a Quiz Study Day – including the History of Quizzes.)

Future Learn course - free
( The added value of the interest group is to make the
course into a shared learning experience where members can discuss their ideas, impressions
and reactions e.g.. How to Adjust to retirement etc.
There are lots of other sources of free on line courses, including the Open
University, Ted Talks etc.

Jokey prizes. Members can Invite their families and friends along to an event – award jokey
prizes for new recruits, who can attend 1 or 2 group meetings before they join.

Treasure Hunt/s – around your town/neighbourhood.

Murder Mystery – in the local park – small groups – however many is allowed. (currently 6)

Family History – you don’t have to be an expert or have an expert to do research in your Group.

Tai Chi - you don’t have to be an expert or have an expert to do research on line with your Group and help each other.

Poem Exchange
Send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know them), with the email subject ‘ A Poem Exchange’.[ It should be a favourite text/ verse/ meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Or not. Don’t agonise over it. If you’d like to send a poem in your own language and provide a translation.]

After you’ve sent the short poem/ verse/ quote etc to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter in to a new email. Move my name to position 1, and put your name in position 2. Only two names should show in the new email. Send it to 20ish friends, BCC (blind copy).Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new pleasures. The turnaround is fast as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once.

Swap Shop
Swap ideas with other local u3as as to which groups work at the moment

Zoom Talk
Mark Thompson .Mark Thompson co-presented BBC Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara O’ Briain. He now covers science news on GMB, writes books, hosts a podcast called ‘The Pocket Astronomer’ and perform science theatre shows. He can be booked to perform an astronomy talk via Zoom to your members. It would last an hour and take you on a guided tour of the Universe.The charge is £50 for the talk and numbers would not be limited. ----------------------