Warm greetings to all our members. I hope you are keeping well through this very prolonged, strange and restricting period. In many ways we seem to have lost 2020 altogether!
I haven’t written a newsletter for some time as there hasn’t been much in the way of consistent change or any particularly good news.

Since my last letter 6 members of the Committee have met twice to consider issues relating to the future of Uckfield U3A. We have kept abreast of the activities of other Sussex U3As to ensure some consistency of approach during this pandemic.
The committee has now agreed that we will not hold an AGM this year. Managing one with large numbers by Zoom or email is overly complicated and excludes many members from taking part. We expect to have an AGM in 2021 when 2 periods of accounts will be presented to members.
We will not be asking members for subscriptions until after an AGM and sadly will not be able to accept new members before then. We do not anticipate holding a Monthly Meeting in the Weald Hall until next Spring/Summer. Your current membership will continue until restrictions ease and we can address issues of the collection of fees and forms safely.

Currently, a wide range of our U3A interest groups are meeting in public spaces, gardens and homes. These occasions are providing a healthy purpose and great enjoyment.
Restricting numbers to a total of 6 can be difficult but these small gatherings are providing welcome company and a distraction from long, empty days for many of our members. Indeed, the committee would like you, as members, to consider whether you are able to form further temporary U3A groups for the duration of these COVID 19 restrictions, independent from the already established U3A groups. As long as up to 6 people from mixed households and socially distanced are allowed to be in one venue, it would be possible to start up a very small new group in your home to share an interest. Ideas could include: listening to music, book and poetry reading, all sorts of art & crafts, sharing experiences of travels, exhibitions etc, maybe even to just chat about current affairs!
Many of us could only accommodate 3 or 4 people 2 metres apart. If you feel you would like to explore this opportunity please call Beryl (768709) to discuss the possibility and safety requirements.
We have no idea how long COVID 19 will affect our lives. It could be many months before our larger, well established groups can all meet again in one place together. Members meeting in 3s or 4s on a regular basis, especially through the next 6 months could provide regular, vital support, stimulation and company for many of our members. This type of arrangement could become our ‘new normal’.

The annual Christmas Tree Festival held in Holy Cross Church is an online event this year. We will be decorating a tree on behalf of Uckfield U3A before the end of November which will be photographed by the organisers. A video of all the trees, decorated by participants, will be put to music and made available for us all to view. More details will be forthcoming in due course.

Finally, I would like to thank those who have worked hard to keep our members in touch with each other, providing support both practical and personal. I am conscious that Uckfield U3A offers a lifeline to many people who live alone and who are finding this unprecedented, prolonged and uncomfortable way of living a very difficult, possibly frightening, experience. Bringing people together regularly, even for a short period, can make this all more bearable and provide relief and some cheerfulness.

Thank you

Debbie Barnes (Chair)