St Austell

History of the Computer Group

So why did we decide to start a Computer Group?

The seed was sown at one of our St Austell U3A meetings at the Conservative Club. I remember mentioning to Mary Littleton that perhaps those with computers might like to exchange e-mail addresses and, ever the instigator, Mary suggested the idea of forming a Computer Group.

According to my diary, a few of us first met on 18 September 2002 at 5 Higher Woodside simply to talk about computers and exchange ideas. It was to be a self-help, group, learning to communicate in the 'language' of computers rather than 'hands-on'. After that, we met in each other's homes until our numbers increased to double figures when we decided to look for a larger venue. After unsuccessfully trying to find a meeting place in St Austell, we eventually found a warm welcome at the Brannel Rooms, St Stephen. We enjoyed our meetings there, taking it in turns to bring tea,coffee, milk, sugar and biscuits. The late Brian Upward volunteered to be our Treasurer, collecting £1 from each of us for hire of the room – about £6.00 from memory –and when funds accumulated we even had a 'free' week and/or bought get-well cards and flowers for members.

When St Austell U3A moved from St Austell Conservative Club to Mount Charles Social Club, Peter Emery suggested holding our meetings in the Snug as at that time there was no additional charge and it would also save on travelling. I think we held our first meeting there on Monday, 12 February 2007 when we met at the new time of 9.30am instead of 2pm. Recently it has been necessary to pay £1 each towards the hire of the Snug and Irene Norman kindly manages this side of things. We also now meet at 10.30am.

We are indebted to Peggy White who has helped us solve many of our computer problems and in 2008 she instigated the successful Awards for All Lottery application for a Multimedia Learning Project. She was responsible for purchasing a laptop, digital projector and stand and portable screen which have been greatly appreciated and regularly used by many groups of the U3A. In addition the grant funded a Public Address System and resources for other Groups.

Occasionally, someone will bring in a new laptop to show us or demonstrate a particular point, but generally we are still just 'talking computers' and after nearly nine years haven't yet run out of anything to say.

So Mary - 'from little acorns grow …'