the Chair

Introducing Incoming Chair

Alison incoming Chair.A u3a membership card was waiting for me when I got home on the day I retired. I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed at the time but I think it was one of the best presents I could have had at the start of that new chapter in life. I’ve made so many good friends and enjoyed such a variety of activities in almost 13 years of membership.

My working life was teaching in secondary education and then working for a teachers’ trade union – both jobs hard work but also incredibly rewarding, and I’m hoping that chairing the Swanland u3a will echo that. I know it will be challenging but I also know that what you put into a task tends to be reflected in what you get out of it.

If I had to say what I would like to help Swanland u3a to achieve, it would be to increase membership of this brilliant organisation but also to increase participation at all levels of activity, from ALL members, whether it’s convening a group, organising a trip, helping with putting out chairs or making refreshments on Thursday afternoons, serving on the committee, coming up with good ideas and suggestions – anything and everything.

We’re all busy people but we can all make a contribution in some way. I look forward to getting to know even more of our members and learning and laughing with you!

Alison Peck

Outgoing Chair's Report

I set myself the following broad objectives on becoming Chairman of Swanland u3a in 2023:
to develop our public profile
to further develop our u3a in accordance with the principles
helping us recover from the pandemic.
to ensure that we continued to be a well governed charity.

This report addresses these objectives.

Our Recruitment Sub-Committee has worked tirelessly to publicise our u3a therefore increasing the chances of attracting new members. Our Events Days displayed the high standard of our member’s work in Art, Photography and Creative Writing as well as the range of our activities from Cribbage through to French. Our three themed walks: Botany, Bird Watching and Local History were all successful attracting interest from both non members and members alike. We welcomed the support of The High Sheriff , Tina Cerutti, as well as the ERYC Well Being Team; Swanland Village Hall and local shops plus those in Welton and North Newbald who displayed our publicity. Our volunteers also leafleted in the villages; at specific events and I was interviewed on Radio Humberside to further publicise the event.

We have new leaflets and posters (that include QR codes) together with the ‘Banner’ and Business Cards, both designed and sourced by Brenda Wilson. These excellent and striking resources are regularly distributed and displayed around our immediate area and we have also visited social events in Welton, North Newbald, Skidby and Little Weighton Village Hall to talk about Swanland u3a.

I was very pleased to welcome the following new groups: Birdwatching; Beginners Spanish; Philosophy and Wild Swimming and hope to see a Poetry group established. New Convenors have stepped forward to lead established groups and through the ACCORD ‘Open Door’ policy developed and championed by John Peck we have successfully placed members in several groups belonging to other u3as.

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Our social events ranged from visits through to regular pub lunches and ’Saturday Suppers’! Our ‘Ravenscar’ annual holiday was big success with another planned for 2024 (well done Meg Brumpton) as was the ‘Christmas Lunch’ at Cave Castle. (thank you to Alison and John Peck the organisers).
Both our Summer and Christmas Carol Concerts were real ‘Show Case’ Events. Congratulations to Gill Barker and all Choir members. Finally the Committee organised a very successful Coffee Morning for new members.

Central to each of the above objectives is the importance placed on both seeking and acting on member’s feedback together with communication.

Feedback has been regularly sought on a variety of issues e.g. experience of new members; introduction of the ‘Flipbook’. There is a ‘Suggestion Box’ at lectures (the Business Cards were suggested by a member) and following requests from Convenors we have moved to ‘light touch’ monitoring of group financial transactions; have updated and simplified the Convenor Job Description and have successfully supported several Convenors when group numbers declined. Communication is a strength. The Flyer keeps members informed enabling the Newsletter to concentrate more on the many interests and achievements of our members and groups as well as wider u3a and community issues. Both are available ‘on line’ either as a Flipbook or PDF and (for the Newsletter) by paper copy - these arrangements were put in place following requests by members. We also now have a Committee phone number.

Our Website attracts many positive comments and there areplans to further develop our Facebook Group. I am grateful to Graham Whittaker and Keith Taylor for their efforts to ensure that we all ‘keep in touch’ and for the provision of well designed, quality materials.

My judgement and I feel that of the majority of members is that we are a well governed u3a. Some examples:

- Our updated Constitution was subject to a vote at this AGM - many thanks to John Peck and the Sub-Group for their work.

- We are now a corporate trustee of the Yorkshire and Humberside Region who have moved to the status of a Network Charity. Hazel Ward is our YAHR representative.

- We have applied the ‘Best Value’ principle to expenditure.
Consequently we have changed to a new printing firm and when faced with two unavoidable large items of capital expenditure part funded these through a grant from YAHR - many thanks to Graham Whittaker and Malcolm Lawrenson for also carefully sourcing this equipment at competitive prices without sacrificing quality. There have also been several minor purchases for the Sound System overseen by Andrew Campbell.

Although I would have liked an increase in membership I consider that our profile has greatly increased and that we are well on the way to recovering from the pandemic although there is more to do especially with volunteering.

I regret not being able to continue as Chair but I will be giving the new Committee my fullest support in their efforts to take Swanland u3a forward. I would urge all members to do the same.

John Munson