Usually this report covers the previous year but I want to go back to pay a short visit to 2020. In February 2020 the new virus was slowly creeping up upon an unsuspecting world. Its effect at that early stage was speculative. However it soon settled in and had a considerable impact on u3a meetings. Our 2020 AGM was postponed and Barrie remained in post as Chairman until our virtual AGM in August 2020.
During that time he dealt with reams of information being sent to us by the government and the National u3a. Thanks from all of us for agreeing to do that Barrie, and thanks also to those committee members who, like me, retire today after six years on the committee, the maximum allowed by our constitution.
Like many other organisations we soon discovered Zoom and managed to carry on with committee meetings and eventually some Interest Group meetings and the main monthly meeting. Not ideal but we kept things going during the different stages of lockdown.
Once lockdown rules were eased as the virus took a summer break, our outdoor groups were able to restart and several members took advantage of being able to meet together in their own gardens, public spaces or favourite outdoor cafes demonstrating the true spirit of Hucknall and District u3a.
By September 2021 all groups had started activities once again. Theatre visits, lunch groups, the National Trust, History and Gardening visits are all back on the agenda and more recently short break holidays organised by Rose and Caroline.
Having missed the planned social events the social subcommittee were very keen to organise a Christmas 2021 event which had to be different from the usual Christmas lunch with almost 200 people in this hall. Ideas were shared, cakes, sausage rolls from different suppliers were sampled and we ended up with the Christmas Individual buffet for about 110 members. The feedback from this was very positive and it could be the template for future Christmas social events.
I now want to highlight other successes from this year:
-Membership has been maintained and we have attracted 51 new members since September 2021.
-Greg and Mark have streamlined the membership renewal and payment process.
-Christine has worked hard to overcome the local bank closures and progressed to online banking.
-We have managed the enforced move from the leisure centre to this lovely hall.
-The litter picking group was formed and attracted funding from Veolia and the Ashfield Community Fund
-We supported the wreath and Christmas tree festival and made a donation to the food bank
-And your generous contributions to the defibrillator and Ukraine support. I wish to thank all the membership, group leaders, group leader helpers, the main and social subcommittee members for keeping our u3a moving forward.
Thanks to Steve Lawrence for continuing as the Newsletter editor, to Geoff Cree as retiring Examiner of Accounts and to the John Godber Centre and staff for being so helpful and accommodating. ..and where would we be without John Berrill and his catering volunteers providing tea and coffee and Greg’s signing in team at every monthly meeting.
Finally u3as are run by volunteers and we have six of our members willing to stay on the committee and six volunteer members offering to join the committee to replace the six retirees. Committee members become Trustees of the u3a which is a registered charity:
“Charity trustees are responsible for controlling the management and administration of a charity. They should work together as a team and have collective responsibility for their charity” – (Charity Commission)
Trustees must always act in the best interests of our u3a, strive to uphold its reputation and never do anything which could bring it or the u3a movement into disrepute. In practice our committee members take a role on the committee and become responsible for the maintenance and development of Hucknall and District u3a. On our behalf these volunteers for election and re-election are willing to take on that responsibility and I commend them for your vote in the election.