South West U3A Region


Jill's Visit to Guernsey
May has been very busy and I apologise for not getting to this sooner. I’ve visited some of your meetings, but there are still some of you I would like to meet, particularly in the SE part of our region.
Pam Jones, National chairman, and I visited Guernsey for their AGM at the end of the month. They are only two years old and already have 700 members! We were welcomed to the meeting by a combined musical entertainment of their ukulele band and the choir performing some old favourites. Their displays were inspirational - who’d have thought you could have such fun with scrap metal! The sewing group had collectively created a wall hanging of the island’s Little Chapel.
These visits always spark ideas off in my brain and trips to Wales and Guernsey have got me thinking about a project for the whole region. As I said at the presentation I did in North Somerset we have a very diverse region and one end probably doesn’t know much about the other end.

Can we draw upon our talents to explore and share the aspects of our areas that are special? I would like to include photographs, writing, sewing, music, paintings and drawings and others you may come up with. It will be a means to include our more remote members in a big community effort.
This cannot be a one woman task so I’ll be asking for help via our Regional volunteers ( not for you to do the work, but make recommendations). I’ll leave it at that for now and hope for some responses.
Have a lovely June

Frances Berry Devon link representative, has the latest information about Insurance, GDPR, Safeguarding and Equality Diversity and Inclusivity. See the link "Keeping it Legal" for the detail.

Research into Life Long Learning
Sam Mauger is organising focus groups for the research into the impact of the U3A.

Honiton U3A
Honiton U3A Current Affairs group visit the Houses of Parliament
15 members of the group visited the Houses of Parliament, were given a tour and then listened to a debate from the public gallery. See Honiton Visit to the House of Commons
Members of Honiton U3A have just finished the online course called 'Beyond the Ballot' which was a very interesting course on Women's suffrage from 1866 to the present day.We would be very interested to follow this up & were wondering if any other U3A's in the South West have met to discuss the course & taken it a step further with extra research, articles,or anything that would give us some ideas to base our project on.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
June Brown

October saw Honiton U3A host their first ever ‘Study Day – Aspects of Devon History’. see link.

Honiton U3A Celebrate their 25th Anniversary!

Over 80 members joined their committee at The Beehive to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Honiton U3A

The longest registered member, Pat Calder was invited to join Chairman Janet Driscoll in cutting the celebratory cake. Pat, who become a member in 1996 was also presented with a bouquet of flowers and free membership for the forthcoming year. When thanking everyone Pat said that Honiton U3A was as welcoming today as it had been when she first joined all those years ago!

There then followed a free raffle. The ‘star prize’ of a Sunday Lunch for Two at the Deer Park Hotel was won by Jenny Roberts, other lucky prize winners were Robin Donaldson, Tom Simcock, Val Anderson and Hilda Wenman Miles.

To end the afternoon the cake was cut and distributed to be enjoyed with cups of tea and coffee.

Janet Driscoll thanked everyone for coming and said she looked forward to the many years ahead for the Honiton U3A.

Paignton U3A
Hosted the Devon link quiz on Monday 2nd October, 2017, as is the tradition for over a decade. It was held in the sumptuous lounge of the Redcliffe Hotel, overlooking the sea, on a beautiful sunny morning. There were 20 teams from 12 different U3As, and not just the Devon link U3As too!
There was plenty of delicious coffee but when we had a break the bar was open too! The quiz compiler did a great job, the questions were in categories such as trees, colours or art and artists. She had used the Television programme The Chase as a source so I would recommend that anyone entering a team have a look at it as an optional homework beforehand. It was a close finish with only one point between the winning and second team who were Paignton. The shield was won by Exeter U3A, who will host the 2018 quiz, congratulations! Well done Paignton, and thank you to all who helped put on this splendid event.

Minehead and District Branch
Had Maritime Minehead as the theme for their Special Interests Day on March 22nd, 2017, reflecting the research 7 U3A members had carried out for this season's exhibition at Minehead Museum. See photos of the day on the right.

Findings and Recommendations of the Working Group into the future structue of theThird Age Trust
See documents in Links/Documents tab

New U3A to be launched in Martock, Somerset

Residents of Martock, Somerset turned up in force to give their backing to plans to set up their own U3A group. Extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the 120 people who attended a meeting at the Christian Fellowship Chapel to launch the project.
“I’m delighted with the fantastic support that we’ve received,” said Pauline Rosslee, who called the meeting. She had put up posters, pushed leaflets through letterboxes and put notices on local news websites, but admitted she wasn’t sure what sort of reponse there would be. She need not have worried.
“All the signs are that there will be a thriving U3A here in Martock in the near future. I’d like to thank everyone who came along to ensure we made such a promising start.” There were forms available in the hall at the meeting (on May 23) for people to fill in to say if they were interested in joining. Everyone said “Yes” and they ran out of forms, but such is the interest in Martock that Pauline is arranging for more forms to be printed for those who missed out.
Pauline, who moved to Martock recently, is a retired English and History teacher and librarian who used to belong to Salisbury U3A. She could not understand why Martock did not have its own U3A.“People were travelling miles to attend meetings in Crewkerne, Yeovil, Somerton and Sherborne and I wanted to see if there would be enough interest and support for Martock to have its own group,” she said. The next step will be a meeting at the home of Pauline and her husband Phillip on June 7 to set up a steering committee.
Among those who gave a helping hand at the meeting were Diana Holdsworth, South West Regional Trustee, who travelled from Paignton to attend. “I’m delighted to be here for the launch of another new U3A,” she told the meeting.
Val Warren, of Crewkerne & District U3A, who is the representative of the Avalon network of U3As in South Somerset, set up a display of information boards and leaflets and explained how the new U3A would fit into the Avalon network and the South West Region and the support that these can provide.
Hilary Fisk, of Minehead U3A, talked about the aims of the U3A organisation which has more than 1,000 groups throughout the UK. See photos of both Pauline Rosslee and Val Warren.

South West U3A says goodbye with flowers
Two goodbyes were said at a meeting of representatives of U3As from throughout the South West at Exeter on April 19. Presentations were made to Diana Holdsworth, South West Region Trustee, and Emie Haysom, Regional Secretary, who are both retiring after three years in these posts and having worked for many years with the region.
The region includes 130 U3As from Cornwall to Gloucestershire, and among those at the meeting was Val Warren, of Crewkerne, who was representing the six U3As in South Somerset that make up the Avalon network. “They were both thanked for their hard work in helping to make the region such a great success,” said Val. Their colleagues said thanks with flowers as Diana and Emie were each presented with an orchid.
The meeting was attended by Samantha Mauger, Chief Executive of the The Third Age Trust, who travelled to Exeter to take part in talks on the role of regional volunteers. The discussions covered training, development and support, as well as the setting up of new U3As in the South West. Two pictures are shown on the right
Emie&Diana - Presentations were made to Emie Haysom (left) and Diana Holdsworth who are retiring from the U3A’s South West region and Ian&Eme Ian Ludbrook of Weston-super-Mare U3A presents an orchid to Emie Haysom.

Minehead & District U3A Special Interest Day on Maritime Minehead
Over 100 members attended Minehead U3A's Special Interest Day on March 22nd - the theme this year being Maritime Minehead. Much of the meeting focused on the research work seven U3A members have carried out for this season's exhibition at Minehead Museum. Museum Trustee Sue Lloyd, who co-ordinated the project, introduced the five speakers in the morning, each speaking about their area of research. Peter Dean spoke about the history of Minehead harbour and the role of the Luttrell family, followed by Dr John Goderich whose subject was the shipping that used the harbour - from Celtic saints to the last working vessel, the Emma Louise, in the 1950s. After lunch there was a break from serious research, with journalist, author and boatbuilder Tony James' hilarious talk - 'Up the Creek - a lifetime trying to be a sailor', so the nautical theme continued.  Tony had also brought a number of his model boats for the audience to see. Click on Minehead Interest Day or Minehead Interest Day pdf for full report.

Diana Holdsworth’s farewell as U3A South West trustee Press Release From Crewkerne & District U3A and South West region

Colleagues from throughout the South West have said goodbye to Diana Holdsworth who is stepping down after three years as the U3A trustee for the region. Tributes were paid to her at a meeting at Exeter attended by representatives from the region that extends from Cornwall to Gloucestershire. The meeting was the last Diana attended as regional trustee. She thanked the networks in the region for their “wonderful support” and added: “An enormous amount of work is spent in the organisation and planning of conference and study days. But these are so important in a region as large as the South West in bringing people together and providing a platform for their views. “I am sure that U3A will continue to grow apace and that under the leadership of my successor, even greater achievements are possible.” see picture of Diana Diana Holdsworth, seated centre, who is stepping down as U3A trustee for the South West, with representatives from throughout the region at her last meeting.

Exmouth and District U3A celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2017 with a succession of special events, starting with
Not The Wizard Of Oz entertainment - written, directed and acted by Exmouth and District U3A members. This very special show featured every interest group (90 in all) in some way or another.
A special buffet lunch followed by very special celebration cakes made by members; the event was attended by Diana Holdworth, Regional Trustee. Diana stayed to help plant a tulip tree in the local Phear Park and commented on ‘what a lovely and friendly U3A’ Exmouth and District is and strives to remain.
The last big event will be an evening river cruise completed with buffet and disco. Photos to follow!

Isles of Scilly visit 16th March 2017 by Jill Nicholls to celebrate their 5th birthday.
On 16th March I visited the Isles of Scilly U3A as a guest at their 5th birthday. I went over to share ideas and give information (very much along the lines of our regional meetings). Our scales of operation are very different as Carrick has over 1,000 members and IOS 35, but it was interesting to find our common ground. Inevitably, there is a sense of being cut off from the rest of U3A, but we agreed to maintain close contact in the future. Deborah Moore, Secretary to Carrick U3A, accompanied me and we were treated to a very warm welcome from Mike Gurr and his wife Ann and the other members of the committee, see photo on right. An invitation was extended to any U3A members holidaying on Scilly to contact them and they will be made welcome.
I was given the honour of cutting the birthday cake, see photo on right and then Deborah and I were presented with Easter eggs! It was a delightful surprise especially as we had already been invited to lunch!
We had booked the last flight from the island and so had some hours to explore in the afternoon. We took a short walk up to the Garrison and it’s surrounds from where the views are spectacular. However, being Scilly, the weather doesn’t always play ball and soon there was a heavy mist/low cloud drifting in and it rather dictated a cup of tea! Gurr had arranged to meet us to take us to the airport for the return and we were lucky that the cloud had cleared. It was a very long day, starting at 5.30 and getting home at 19.30, but I’m sure it was truly worthwhile. Thank you IOS for a very pleasant day, Jill Nicholls.

A new U3A has been started in Winchcombe, which is between Cheltenham and Bishops Cleeve in North Gloucestershire. It was a successful launch with over 100 people attending with a committee of 15 being formed. The Inaugural meeting is on April 3rd at Abbey Fields Community hall at 2pm. This has been facilitated by Eileen Gilder, a Regional Volunteer for the SW Region which stretches from Tewkesbury in the north to Cornwall & the Scilly Isles in the south. She helps start new U3As in the area as far as Bristol. She can also help any U3A which has a large membership to divide, as well as any U3As which are having problems in functioning. See both Members and Contact tabs.

Beacon and other Management Systems#

If you are thinking about improving your U3A’s management system (membership management, group membership, ledger etc) then there are a number of systems which are in use by other U3As. Choosing a system that is right for your U3A is no easy task. Fortunately for you other U3As have gone before you. Some information on these systems are on

The one with the largest user base (currently around 80 U3As) is called Beacon. This offers:
· Membership management
· Integrated financial accounts
· Groups organisation (membership list and financials)
· Communications (emails, letters etc)
· Production of HMRC GiftAid returns and TAM Direct Mailing lists
· Integration with U3A’s website

For further details of Beacon, contact Alan Stanfield (Beacon South West Regional Support Coordinator) at

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.