Membership now stands at 459, an increase of 13 members since last month. This means that we have exceeded our Christmas target of 450, so well done for helping to promote our U3A. The increase represents a rise of more than 10% above the membership at this time last year.
A big welcome to all of our new members and we hope that you enjoy all that our U3A has to offer.
If you know anyone who is interested in joining, application forms can be printed from our website or obtained from Alan Stevenson on 01782 395760.
Last month Rob Pepper spoke to us about Canine Partners, with a slide show and explanation of the work of these amazing dogs, and how they can transform the lives of their human companions both practically and psychologically.
The charity has since contacted us to express their appreciation for the opportunity to raise awareness of their work.
SOCIAL, BALLROOM AND LATIN DANCE GROUP
Members are really enjoying the Social Ballroom & Latin Dance Group, led by Chris Whitfield and have been learning basic steps for a number of dances, with the latest being the rumba. Chris does go over the steps again each time so you don’t need to worry about having missed anything and members always have a choice of dances during the evening. Although everyone is keen to learn, no-one takes it too seriously and the class is good fun.
The group normally meets weekly from 6pm to 8pm at St Paul’s Church Hall, Longton Hall Road, Blurton on Thursday evenings. New members are very welcome with or without partners. Bring a drink (not alcohol!) and please remember to wear suitable footwear.
For further information, please contact Chris Whitfield on 01785 501584. If Chris isn’t at home, please leave a message and she’ll get back to you.
GARDEN AND NATURE LOVERS' GROUP
We are looking for a new Group Leader but Fay Howell and Chris Whitfield have agreed to run the group on a temporary basis. If you are interested in having a go, please contact Val Greatbatch (01782 659805), Chris Whitfield (01785 501584) or Fay Howell (01782 658659).
GROUP VISITS TO TRENTHAM GARDENS
We have been contacted by Trentham Gardens about the possibility of group visits to the Italian Gardens, Upper Flower Gardens, Show Gardens and Lakeside Walk. Groups of 12 or more people would cost £5 plus £1 U3A. If you are interested please contact Val, Chris or Fay. Dates and times are flexible and would be arranged to suit interested parties, subject to there being sufficient interest as a minimum of 12 people are needed.
The next meeting of the Discussion Group will take place at 11.30am on Monday 22nd January 2018 at Hanley Library, and the topic will be "The Uses and Abuses of Power". For further information, Group Leader Bob Jones can be contacted on 01785 817743.
EVENING AND WEEKEND MEALS
No meal has been arranged for January 2018 but Fay is considering a meal at the Toby Carvery (Trentham Hotel) during February and possibly a meal at The Greyhound, Burston in March. For enquiries, please contact Fay Howell (01782 658659).
U3A LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
The last meeting of the year will take place at 2 pm in Room 6 (ground floor) of Methodist Central Hall, The Strand, Longton on Tuesday 12 December. The first meeting of 2018 will take place at the same time and location on Tuesday 9th January. If you are interested in joining, Group Leader Phil Rowley can be contacted on 01782 330337.
Phil informs us that the next two free films at Stoke Film Theatre will be at 7.45pm on (1) Wed 6th Dec Havergal Who? A documentary about Havergal Brian, who wrote 32 symphonies including his First Symphony “The Gothic” which had its world premiere at the Victoria Hall in 1978. This is one of the longest symphonies ever composed and requires an exceptionally large orchestral force. The digitised film includes a performance by Penkhull’s Bedford Singers. And (2) on Wed 13th Dec. -Christmas Past and Christmas Presents- A collection of cinema and local archive films from the last 100 years, with reminiscences and comments about the changing nature of Christmas Presents.
On September 30th, the Ukulele Group performed with The Stoke-on-Trent Methodist Singers at their Autumn concert. The concert was sold out and raised £720 for the Air Ambulance.
On October 28th the group performed at another sell-out concert, this time at Trentham Church on behalf of HAND (Helping And Nurturing Dementia). The guest of honour was Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin, who gave a lovely speech. Ticket sales raised £900 and a further £145 was added to this from donations given at a group member’s birthday party, making a total of £1045. This was given to HAND, who will pass it on to ‘North Staffs Carers.’
This year alone the group will have played its part in raising around £3000 for local charities and churches. Another highlight of the group’s year was when their performance of 'The Fields of Athenry' at Biddulph Ukelele Day inspired international guitarist and ukulele player, Samantha Muir, to work on an instrumental version which will feature on her new CD.
Congratulations to Bill and all members of the group on a very successful and productive year.
The old website has now been discontinued, but the new site is up and running. You can check it out at https://u3asites.org.uk/stoke. Since there will not be another monthly meeting or newsletter during December 2017, if you have access to the internet it could be worth checking for updated information, and please try to pass on any relevant information to fellow members who don’t have internet access.
OLDER PEOPLE’S ENGAGEMENT NETWORK (OPEN)
Residents and businesses are being asked to air their views on plans to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre. Stoke-on-Trent City Council wants to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) in the city centre and some surrounding areas following complaints about persistent behaviour that has had a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life. The restricted area will include the city centre, Hanley Park and Etruria (Octagon Retail Park and Festival Park) and will apply to anyone who enters, lives and works in these areas.
Through the Older People’s Engagement Network many people have raised safety concerns about going into Hanley and these concerns have been relayed to the City Council. The OPEN team would be very pleased to hear any comments you may have made in response to the City Council consultation exercise.
You can contact the OPEN team on 01782 207 200 (Ext 211) or by email to: OPEN@saltbox.org.uk
Is anyone interested in helping to walk rescue dogs? Exercise, fresh air and doggy cuddles are all on offer! The Senior Staffy Club is a small registered charity, completely run by volunteers. They rescue and rehome Staffys that are at least 7 years of age. They currently use two boarding kennels and one of these is in Hilderstone.
If interested you can ring Nikki Fraser on 07870 392164 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively you can view the website at: www.seniorstaffyclub.co.uk
KEELE RESEARCH PROJECT
Isabela Troya is a PhD Researcher at Keele and she is conducting research into selfharming in people aged 60 years and above. If you have ever self-harmed or have experience of working with people who self-harm, you are invited to participate in an interview about your views and experiences.
Isabela con be contacted on 07901 110472 or by email to: email@example.com
FREE LEGAL ADVICE
All U3A members can access free legal advice by contacting Arc Assistance in partnership with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Tel: 0344 770 1040 (Please quote - U3A Legal Helpline).
CENTRAL HALL FIRE PRECAUTIONS, ETC.
If your interest group meets at Central Hall, could the Group leader please sign the attendance book in the entrance at Central Hall each time the group meets. It isn’t necessary for all group members to sign so long as the Group Leader signs in and out on behalf of the group.
This is important as we would need to know that everyone was accounted for in the event of fire or other emergency. It would also help to prevent anyone being locked in at closing time, which did actually happen recently with one of the quieter groups!
U3A MONTHLY NATIONAL NEWSLETTER
U3A West Midlands Trustee, Auriol Ainley, recently questioned whether members were signed up to the above Newsletter, which is freely available to all U3A members. It is likely that most members are unaware that subscription is available via their email address. Should you wish to receive this monthly newsletter, and we do recommend it, then please subscribe via the Links Button (then Third Age Trust Link) on this website.
HISTORY OF MUSICAL THEATRE
Auriol has also informed us that the Birmingham Hippodrome are running a six-week lifelong learning course on the History of Musical Theatre starting January 17th 2018.
Further details of the course can be found at:
THE COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR.
Items for publication in the next newsletter will need to reach Fay Howell by Friday, 19th January 2018. Tel: 01782 658659 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.