At the last count membership was 385. This is considerably lower than last month but nothing to worry about as this is typical for this time of year (last year’s figure was 338) and renewals are still arriving. We might be able to reach 500 by Christmas!
If you haven’t already renewed your membership you will not be entitled to attend any U3A meetings or groups. This doesn’t apply to anyone who has joined us since Christmas as you will not need to renew your membership until March 2019.
If you have lost or not received your renewal letter, please contact Alan Stevenson for a duplicate form (01782 395760).
Group leaders are requested to please check that their members have the current membership cards, which are a light salmon colour.
A number of our members had a really interesting and enjoyable visit last summer to Anita Wright's garden at The Garth, Milford. We were therefore very pleased to welcome the gardening expert and local radio personality to talk to us on 26th April about Garth Gardens. We hope that everyone enjoyed the talk.
AGM & COMMITTEE NEWS
At the AGM on 24th May we will request approval to amend the ‘Objects’ clause of our constitution in line with that of the Third Age Trust. It will also be your opportunity to vote for committee members and raise any concerns about the management of your U3A.
As no new applicants had come forward for committee positions, we are very pleased and relieved that current Treasurer Lynne Stevenson has now agreed to stand for re-election for another two years. Similarly, Membership Secretary Alan Stevenson has re-applied.
Members are reminded that there may be a time when existing committee members need to retire due to other commitments, sickness, etc. and it is important that you consider whether you would be able to take on a committee role.
The cost of tea, coffee and biscuits at monthly meetings will now be included in the £1 admission charge.
The committee are still considering how to provide short holiday trips for members without putting additional pressure on committee members. Regent Travel in Stone would be prepared to do most of the administration for us, including handling all payments, but their holidays tend to be a bit costly, so we are trying to get alternative quotes from local companies. Sandbach and District U3A already arrange trips through Regent Travel and would be willing to let some of our members accompany them on their scheduled trips, two of which are as follows. If you are interested in either of these, please contact Pauline Williams on 01782 596532.
Greenwich & Tall Ships 4th July 2018 3 days, £265
York & Harrogate Xmas Markets 18th Nov 2018 3 days, £249
We have recently been contacted by Fred Olsen Cruise Line about the possibility of discount for U3A groups but we don’t have any further details at this stage. Pauline will be liaising with them for further information regarding the size of group required and the level of discount.
GARDEN AND NATURE LOVERS' GROUP
The meeting on Friday, 11th May has been cancelled as the group will meet for their first open visit of the year later that weekend. The visit will be to the gardens of Barlaston Hall on the afternoon of Sunday 13th May, meeting at the hall at 2pm. This is the first year that the garden has been included in the NGS scheme. The cost is £4 admission plus £1 for U3A.
There will be no meeting on Friday, 8th June as this will be replaced by the next visit, which will be to Yarlet House, on the A34 between Stone and Stafford. We will meet at 10am on Friday, 22nd June at Section K of the Trentham Gardens Car Park, in order to car share. Please ring to be sure of a place. The cost for this is also £4 admission plus £1 for U3A.
On Sunday, 15th July the group plan to visit The Mount at Creswell, near Stafford, followed (if there’s time) by a trip to Fletcher’s Garden Centre in Eccleshall.
We are still looking for a new Group Leader but meanwhile Fay Howell and Chris Whitfield are continuing to run the group. If you are interested in joining or leading the group, please contact Chris Whitfield (01782 960327) or Fay Howell (01782 658659).
EVENING AND WEEKEND MEALS
The next meal is at the Furama Palace Chinese Restaurant on the A34 at Trent Vale, ST4 6QE on Saturday, 26th May, meeting at 7pm for 7.30pm. This will be for the All You Can Eat Buffet at £17.50 per head. £5 deposit per person is required as soon as possible. The ‘buffet’ is actually hot, freshly cooked food, served at your table.
On Saturday, 23rd June we have approximately 20 places reserved at Baby Russets, Kingsway, Stoke, meeting at 7pm for 7.30pm. A deposit of £5 per person is required by 24th May and a few menus will be available for food to be pre-ordered. To avoid any confusion this time, management will liaise with Fay beforehand regarding any potential price changes. For bookings and enquiries, please contact Fay Howell on 01782 658659.
The Lunch Group’s next meeting will be on Tuesday 8th May at the Hem Heath, Trentham, commencing around 12.30pm.
For further information please ring Group Leader Rita Wright on 01782 331684. If Rita is not available you can leave a message, and she will get back to you as soon as possible.
The next Tenpin Bowling evening will be on Thursday, 24th May. These evening meetings are very popular and are good value as they are booked to take advantage of the Cinebowl’s special offers.
Meetings are held at the Hanley Cinebowl on Festival Park and you need to book and pay in advance. The group meet at 6.30pm to start bowling at 7pm. The cost is £11 which includes shoe hire, food, one drink and two games.
For bookings or queries please contact Michelle Tittle-Wang (01782 657564 or mob. 07753 264402).
IT GROUP (formerly Computer Group)
IT Group Leader, Joe Neilson is still doing computer classes but is also prepared to help members with tablets and mobile phones, since Information Technology (IT) is not exclusive to computers. New members would be welcome to join the group, which meets on alternate Monday mornings at Adderley Green Care Centre. For further information Joe can be contacted on 01782 852042.
If you enjoy board games and would be interested in a new U3A group, please contact Val Greatbatch on 07881 367509. We already have members interested in playing chess, so this is an opportunity to get involved with that or to discuss other games as well as times and venues, which are open to negotiation.
The Local History Group meets at 10.30am on alternate Tuesday mornings in room 6 (ground floor), Methodist Central Hall, The Strand, Longton. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 1st May. If you are interested in joining, Group Leader Phil Rowley can be contacted on 01782 330337. Please use the entrance along the path to the left of the double doors.
The next two free films at Stoke Film Theatre will be as follows, commencing at 7.45pm:
Wed, 2nd May Staffordshire Night – a celebration of various regions of Staffordshire and famous historical figures associated with them.
Wed, 9th May Film in North Staffordshire – to complement the new book published by the Film Theatre – a look at the career of the first local Cinema Manager, George Barber and a review of local cinemas and films made for cinema in the last century.
The evening Dance Class meets at 6pm on Thursdays at St. Paul’s Church Hall, Longton Hall Road, Blurton. The group have lots of fun learning a variety of ballroom, Latin American and party dances with Group Leader Chris Whitfield. New members would be very welcome, and the next meeting will be on 3rd May, following which meetings will normally be on the first and third Thursday of each month. This will allow members to take advantage of the summer months and weekly meetings may resume around September. For further information, Chris can be contacted on 01782 960327 or 07939 621499.
See Groups Section for specific details of summer arrangements.
CROWN GREEN BOWLS
The bowling group have now resumed their weekly meetings at Florence Bowling Club at 1.30pm on Wednesday afternoons. The Group Leader is Gary Astbury, who can be contacted on 01782 315825.
ARE YOU BE INTERESTED IN JOINING A NEW SINGING GROUP?
Singing is an activity which is recognised as beneficial to both physical and mental health. It is great for helping to prevent isolation and generally creates a sense of wellbeing. A few members have expressed an interest in a new group but we could do with a few more. If you would be interested in leading or joining a group, singing for fun rather than a serious choir, please contact Val Greatbatch (07881 367509), Chris Whitfield (07939 621499), or Trish Rowley (07939 209054).
Brush up your French for Beginners or Intermediate. We aim to split each meeting into sections which cover: Grammar, Verbs, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation. Meetings are every Friday at St. Pauls Church, Longton Hall Road. Andrew Devin has recently taken over as Group Leader and can be contacted on 01782 942352.
NATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOLS
There are still places available on some of this year’s residential courses. Cryptic Crosswords, France, Garden History, Literature/Philosophy, Mathematics, Opera, Play Ukulele and Spanish History still have spaces at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th July.
Places are available for Music, Drama, Latin, Musicals and Singing at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester from Tuesday 11th to Friday 14th September. To book a place go to summer-schools.u3a.org.uk.
WHY HAVE PEOPLE MOVED TO AND SETTLED IN THE CITY
If you are interested in photography and would you like to help in compiling community histories, through photographs of people’s stories about migration to Stoke-on-Trent, there will be free workshops from May to August for a project to be completed in October. If you’re interested in contributing to the project, or want to take part in the workshops, please email: email@example.com or call 07929 021638.
HEART START FIRST AID COURSE
Arrangements have been made for a Heart Start Basic First Aid Course to be available to members from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Tuesday, 22nd May in the Coffee Lounge at Central Hall. The entrance fee will be the normal attendance fee of £1 per person.
If you are interested, please contact Val Greatbatch on 07881 367509.
NATIONAL MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS
The National Office produce monthly online newsletters and members can register to receive these by email. You can sign up to receive your copy at u3a.org.uk/email. The newsletter includes details of current research projects, study days, etc. which may interest some of our U3A members.
THIRD AGE TRUST EGM
Proposed changes to the Third Age Trust constitution were passed by members at the recent EGM in Birmingham. The charity’s amended object clause is the same as the one which our members will be asked to vote on at our AGM on 24th May. It makes sense for U3As to follow the example of our ‘umbrella’ organisation.
The EGM also featured a lively Panel Debate on Ageing Well with expert speakers on health, lifelong learning and the arts.
Chairman of the Third Age Trust, Pam Jones said, “The U3A relies on the experience and expertise of all our members and the EGM was about ensuring that members have a voice in everything the Trust does. These changes will bring our constitution up to date and allow the U3A movement to grow.”
You can watch the EGM and debate on the YouTube channel.
CELEBRATING DEMOCRACY AND UK PARLIAMENT WEEK
Key anniversaries are being marked this year in respect of equal voting rights and UK-wide activities will be taking place. If you would like to be involved in organising local events, free resources are available to help you plan your event.
18th June – 2nd July – Share, Debate and Celebrate with EqualiTeas: Register or find out more at www.equaliteas.org.uk
12th – 18th November – Engage, Explore and Empower with UK Parliament Week – Last year over 4,000 activities were held around the UK. This year’s festival will focus on the struggle for equal suffrage and aims to get more people involved with the UK Parliament. Register for a free Partner Pack or find out more from www.ukparliamentweek.org
Vote 100: Celebrating women’s voices in democracy – a year-long project marking 100 years since some women and all men were allowed to vote and the 90th anniversary of the right to vote on an equal basis. www.parliament.uk/vote100
CHARITY EVENTS FOR THE CHERNOBYL CHILDREN'S PROJECT
The recent charity evening at Sangam’s in Stoke was a huge success and many of our U3A members attended. The event raised over £1,000 for the charity. There are now two more events being organised on behalf of the charity and these are:
Sat 19th May Beetle Drive with Pie and Peas, 7pm at Great Bridgeford Village Hall.
(Bring own drinks and glasses). Tickets cost £7.50 each.
Sat 16th June Pudding Party and Music, 7.30pm at Walton Community Centre, Stone.
Home made puddings and live music. Tickets cost £8.00 each.
Tickets can be purchased from Mary Cresswell who will be at the monthly meeting on 26th April. Alternatively, you can contact Mary on 01782 658002 or 07854 070826.
BIG COMMUNITY CONVERSATION (BCC) 2018 - Wed 9th May.
A free event is taking place at the LRV, Staffordshire University, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF. The event runs from noon to 5pm and will include:
Free lunch & refreshments
Update on changes since last year’s BCC
Opportunities to hear & share stories
Stands about funding opportunities & helpful organisations
Cooking, singing & art activities
You will need to register if you wish to attend (Tel: 01785 353578) or online at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-community-conversation-2018-tickets-43431999279
Items for publication in the next newsletter will need to reach Fay Howell by Friday, 18th May 2018.
Tel: 01782 658659 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.