Watch this page -our new chairman's message will follow our AGM on 11th June 2021.

From our Chairman, 03/10/2020.

I hope all of you are coping with the ever-changing restrictions to our lives, and finding things to enjoy in spite of all that is going on.

Membership renewals
The Exec Committee decided that those who have renewed their membership this year will have a free year from April next year. Those of you who have not renewed will pay in March/early April for the year ahead. Up until now we have been sending out information to everyone who was a member as of March 2020, regardless of whether you have renewed your membership or not. However, under GDPR, we do not have permission to keep your information, so if you did not renew, you will be sent/emailed a renewal form which you need to complete and return to Ann-marie Riddle without a payment. If you don’t return the form, we have to take you off our records, which means you will not receive any more information from us including not being reminded to renew in March 2021. You will of course be very welcome to re-join any time.

Thank you to everyone who joined in with the AGM decisions by email, post or Zoom. I am grateful that so many of you took part, and for all your contributions. Many organisations are struggling, and it is good to know that we have members who are still willing to contribute.

General Meetings
We are aiming to start holding General Meetings with speakers via Zoom from the November meeting on the 13th. Details will be sent out nearer the time.

As I have not been able to go round the outlets that gave us discounts last year to see if they are willing to allow them to continue, please don’t ask for discounts until further notice.

U3A Groups that are running
A few groups are running on Zoom: Discussion 1, Cheers, Book clubs 1 and 2, and Adagio (singing); and Quills is running on email. If you are interested, there are spaces in Book Club 2, Discussion Group 1, Adagio and Quills. Please look on the website, and message the convenor via the button on their page.

Thatcham Festival
As you probably know, Thatcham Festival is very different this year, with most events being run online. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, our Open Afternoon appears in the programme, but is not running. The Town Council are adding a link to our website, so that any interested people can find out more about what we do. The Festival Programme is available on a link to the right of the Events Page on Thatcham U3A website. John Sackett, the Council’s Events Manager, has asked me to particularly highlight the online creative writing and singing sessions (info at the end of this email/letter), and the Craft Day which will take place on Saturday, 10th October between 10am and 3pm at St Mary's Church. This will be one of the few ‘live’ events, as most events will be online this year, so please support it if you can.

The website
I had a thorough look at our website, challenged by the fact that Thatcham Festival is pointing people towards it, and I am very impressed with how much varied information, including useful links, is on there.

Updating web pages
If you know of local activities that are restarted or continuing, please let Paul Shave know, so that he can add them to the non-U3A activities page.

If you’re a Convenor and you haven’t looked at your group’s webpage for a while, do have a look at it with fresh eyes, and think about what you could add to make it more interesting and informative – maybe some new wording, or photos. In the bottom right-hand corner, you can see the last date that it was edited, and even if the information is still correct, ‘Last updated May 2017’ or similar, makes the page seem a bit unloved! Paul Shave can update your page for you if you email him what you want to say, or he can give you a log-in and password so that you can update whenever you like, which is the better option. You don’t have to be particularly techy to do it, and it is good to be able to change things whenever you want to.

Facebook page
Please also have a look at our Facebook page, and contribute to it. This is part of your U3A community!

Poppy crafting
As I emailed out previously, Thatcham Town Council have asked if members would like to knit or crochet poppies for an installation on the Broadway for Remembrance Day, as a service will not be able to take place as normal. I hope some of you are enjoying being creative, and remembering, in this way. Don’t forget to take or post your poppies to the Council Offices before the end of October, saying that you are a member of Thatcham U3A, as the groups which have contributed will be listed near the poppies.

Thatcham Festival - From Inspiration to Words on the Events page.
The Festival Brochure link is on that page too.

I hope you have found at least some of this information useful.

Good wishes,