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Category Archives: General News/Events
The U3A High Street project was originally designed, in 2018, to research and report on the history and current state of shops in each U3A’s local area. Local groups would then be able to identify trends and speculate on what the future might hold for their High Street.
The project was ‘ready to go’ by March last year, but then of course it was derailed by the arrival of Covid-19, which meant that no on site survey work could be done. By July, it was decided that a national survey was achievable in September, and I went out and photographed all the premises on Hucknall High Street near the end of the month. All the photos, along with descriptions of the use of each frontage, have now been uploaded to the national database. The thinking was that it was a good time for the snapshot; as well as being ‘legal’ to be out and about, it was before the end of the first furlough scheme, after which it was thought that more shop closures would be likely. There are currently some 20,000 premises on the database.
114 individual U3As took part, and a progress report went to the U3A Board last month. This was followed by a national Zoom session for all those who took part, and it was going well until it went slightly wrong, which will be a consolation to all of us who have encountered all sorts of glitches when using Zoom!
The plan is to resurvey all the High Streets during this September and then produce a final report in 2022, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the U3A. As well as producing a comprehensive national baseline of High Streets, it is hoped that individual U3As will be encouraged to run spin-off projects in their own areas. Examples so far include producing new ‘Town Trail’ leaflets and ‘Urban Sketching’ in Manchester. I was pleased to learn from the Zoom session that the East Midlands is well represented, with 69 members of 33 U3As taking part.
For anyone interested, the new Progress report is on the national U3A website.
Working parents want kids to go back to school because school closures directly impacts them.
Teachers don’t want schools to open because covid spreading round their school directly impacts them.
NHS staff want a full lockdown because sick Covid patients directly impacts them.
Business owners want to carry on as normal because lockdown directly impacts them.
People with physical health problems want everyone to stay socially distant because catching Covid could kill them.
People with mental health problems want people to spend time with because isolation could kill them.
Some can’t wait for a vaccine because they believe it will bring back some normality.
Some are terrified of a vaccine because they believe it could harm them.
We are all going through this but none of us are going through the same thing. Some face crippling financial challenges, others face heart break.
We don’t all have to agree with what is best because what’s best for us won’t be best for everyone. We don’t have to understand what others are going through. But we do need to stick together and keep loving each other no matter our differences.
We need to be mindful when some things go the way we want it to, it could be terrible news to another person. We need to be kind.
Author Emma Jane
Just be careful, because people are going crazy from being in lock-down! Actually, I’ve just been talking about this with the microwave and toaster while drinking tea and we all agreed that things are getting bad. I didn’t mention anything to the washing machine as she puts a different spin on everything. Certainly not to the fridge, as he is acting cold and distant. In the end the iron straightened me out as she said everything will be fine; no situation is too pressing. The vacuum was very unsympathetic… told me to just suck it up, but the fan was more optimistic and hoped it would all soon blow over! The toilet looked a bit flushed when I asked its opinion and didn’t say anything but the door knob told me to get a grip. The front door said I was unhinged and so the curtains told me to ……..yes, you guessed it …..pull myself together
The monthly U3A National newsletters have loads of information about projects which are in progress either locally or across the country, and in fact I find that it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees at the moment. However, a few months ago I spotted the national ‘High Streets’ project, right at the end of a very long newsletter.
This is a project which aims to look at High Streets before and after Covid-19. The project was proposed before the first lockdown by a member of the U3A National Research Network, whose former career was in retail. The basic plan is to compare today’s, and tomorrow’s High Streets with those of the past.
I expect that a lot of Hucknall U3A members will remember how our High Street used to look. My recollections go back 40 years, and no doubt many members can go back well before that. How the High Street will look in the future is probably anyone’s guess, but we can be certain that 2020 will cause many changes – will Amazon take over completely, or will local shops (especially food-related) prosper? Will all the estate agents disappear online, and will we still drink as much coffee? Will lots of shop units have been converted to housing?
In the temporary absence of our Easy Wheelers and Pickleball groups, I’ve been trying to keep up the exercise, so this looked like an opportunity to at least do some walking. I volunteered to survey Hucknall High Street pedestrianized section, and the end of September found me walking up and down photographing and taking notes of all the shops and offices.
Nationally, 533 U3A members took part, and a total of almost 9,500 premises have been surveyed, out of around 20,000 nationally. The next job is to compile a massive combined database (any volunteers?) and preliminary findings will go to the Third Age Trust December board meeting. The plan is to develop local projects during 2021, Covid permitting, then revisit all the individual High Streets in 18 months’ time to see how things have changed.
And People Stayed Home by Catherine M. O’Meara
And the people stayed home.
And read books,
and made art,
and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply. Some meditated,
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence
of people living in ignorant, dangerous,
mindless, and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, and made
new choices, and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal
the earth fully, as they had been healed.