Autumn 2013

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The 2013 autumn regional event of  U3As in Northern Ireland was held on Wednesday 30th October in the Grosvenor Hall,  attended by 65 delegates.  After the welcome by Maeve Gallagher, the Regional chairman, Stuart Pollard, the NI Trustee explained that the Third Age Trusts funds such events (2 delegates per U3A) and that the new format involves workshops rather than general networking meetings.

The format of the workshop was that Carole Millen, the Education and Development Officer from the Third Age Trust, gave a presentation on the role of and problems facing U3A Committees.    The meeting then broke out into discussion groups to give feed back on specific questions (to be posted here later)  After lunch the process was repeated,discussing Groups rather than Committees.  A copy of both presentations can be obtained from

The delegates were asked for feedback and listed among the ideas gained from the meeting:

Members invited to sit in at committee meetings
More sub –committees
Shadowing for roles as a means of spreading participation
Designated buddy for new committee members

No paid tutors
Group fayre
Suggestion box for new groups at meetings
Sharing the role of group leader among 2 or 3 people
No expertise needed to be a group leader
Two people discovering a new interest is enough to start a new interest group

Other ideas
Carers are welcome to attend U3A meetings
The importance of informing members about the U3A ethos
Membership cards with contact info on the back
Having U3A ethos on back of membership cards
Provide an information pack for new members
As many members as possible should “be on a list” (have a contribution to make)

Would those who attended please submit additions to this list.

The content of the workshops and Carole’s presentations received general approval.  In addition to the outcome of the workshop format, several members reported that they had got some new ideas for groups and benefited from the networking.  The venue and lunch received positive feedback but the organisers will note for next year that biscuits should be provided with the tea/coffee and that a remote zapper should be available to avoid having the speaker in front of the screen.

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