All posts by CE&DU3A

Online Films Group update

Ian Christie put this on his Facebook page and it has added it to our private U3A page. ‘Working on an essay about Powell & Pressburger’s ‘metaphors of vision’, I realised some of Emeric’s non-Powell films are now easier to access than in the past. One of his most successful scripts from the French period MONSIEUR SANS-GENE was remade in Hollywood as ONE RAINY AFTERNOON, which starts with a fateful mix-up over seats for a clandestine rendezvous in a Paris cinema. Best known today for a luminous performance by Ida Lupino, it actually holds up well in most departments, including Francis Lederer’s elegant leading man. I wonder how much of the script is Emeric’s…?’
 

Watch One Rainy Afternoon

Find out more about the Films Group Online ▷

Online resources updated

This is the ideal time to exercise your brain and explore the myriad resources of the Internet. One of the positives in these difficult times is that many organisations have opened their virtual doors for free, and there are masses of existing links that we now have time to delve into. To get you started, we have curated a regularly updated list of topics and links to sites that members have recommended for further exploration.
 
Find out more ▷
 
We of course welcome suggestions to add to our digital bank. Please email them to cedu3a@gmx.com.
 
Happy surfing!

Bulletin no. 28 (April 2020)

Message from the Outgoing Chair

Just over three years ago I was sitting round a kitchen table in Muswell Hill with a friend and three strangers planning the local U3A inaugural meeting in June 2017. We were getting accustomed to the new language of U3A terms and structure, something I thought I’d left behind at my local authority job!
 
We all know what happened after that, and by December that year we had over 250 paid-up members and 20 interest groups. We now have over 800 members and close to 100 groups.
 
As I hand on the Chair’s role in these exceptional times, I’m sad to not have the chance to see many of you at the AGM, but there will be an opportunity at a later date to bid a personal farewell and to share our memories and achievements.
 

It has been a privilege to be part of the genesis of our U3A and to work with so many generous, talented people – group conveners, committee members, volunteers and fellow members. We now have a well-earned reputation as a welcoming, inclusive U3A.
 
I’m delighted that Sally Whitaker (formerly Vice Chair) will take on the role of Chair and want to thank her for her wisdom and support to me these past years.
 
I hope to see you before too long when CEDU3A resumes and wish you all good health and courage during these difficult times.
 

Sue Felgate (Chair 2017-2020)

Executive Committee

With Sue Felgate (Chair) and Ed Allen (Membership Secretary) standing down from the Committee, we welcome three new trustees on board: Brenda Dardelin, who is our Beacon system administrator; Charlie Sharp, who will take over from Ed as Membership Secretary; and Llorett Kemplen, who organises the new members’ coffee mornings and is the contact for those members who do not use the internet. Sally Whitaker replaces Sue Felgate as Chair.
 
Committee members are in regular email contact with each other, keeping the impact of the emergency under review and planning for CEDU3A opening again for business later in the year.
 
We are working with group conveners to find alternative ways of keeping in touch. Some are highlighted below, along with a link to our website, where a range of digital resources is listed for you to explore. We will keep you up to date on future plans by email, post to non-internet users, and these bulletins.

The website

The website is still going strong and is a great source of information. We are posting the latest government advice and tips for coping with having to stay at home for extended period. We would very much like members to share experiences of managing in the current situation for example, which ways of communicating with each other have been the most and least successful? If you have anything to share please email form@cedu3a.org.uk. Any information will be added to the website.
 

We also have an Online Resources Guide that gives suggestions for websites for members to investigate: there is an enormous range. Any suggestions for additions to this guide, which is still in its infancy, will be really appreciated. Send them to form@cedu3a.org.uk.

Facebook

Our Facebook group, with over 220 members, is very active, providing a discussion forum on all matters to do with CEDU3A. If you are not a member please think about signing up. Some interest groups are also setting up their own Facebook groups to share information and photographs. Another great Facebook group to sign up to is U3A UK: which runs the U3A: keeping in touch group, with regular posts from members of other U3As around the country including quizzes, maths brain-teasers, jokes and more … >

How to keep in touch

CEDU3A group conveners and members are an innovative bunch in the face of adversity, rising to the occasion in all sorts of ways, embracing phone, internet and social media and offering support to combat any sense of isolation. Conveners have been working hard to keep us connected, healthy, active and engaged.
 
These are early days. A number of interest groups are exploring other options so it is all very much work in progress. Here are some examples to help you think about what your group could do.
 
Email: most groups that were using Beacon, or bcc emails, have agreed that cc emails is used instead, enabling members to email each other, exchange phone numbers and establish an ‘email community’. A comment from one convener ‘I set up an email community and we all opened a bottle of wine at 7pm (time and date of usual meeting), said what we were drinking and how it tasted. Everyone sent a picture and, more importantly, we had fun’.
WhatsApp: already used by many groups and more regularly in the current circumstances.
For more contact options see https://cedu3a.org.uk/keep-in-touch

How Groups are continuing without meetings

▢ Art Appreciation Group members are each picking an artist of the week and sharing information about what resources are available online.
▢ The Gardening Group is sharing tips now the gardening season is under way and several other groups are working on finding ways to keep in touch.
▢ The Photographers and Photography Group has a page on Flickr to share their photographs.
▢ The Poetry Group is sharing poems and discussion.
▢ Singing Group members are emailed a song a day by their convener.
▢ The We’re Talking Travel Group has set up an online blog for members to post their travel stories and photographs. All members can view this at www.mywtt.org
▢ Wine Appreciation Group members are sharing tips mainly in reference to difficulties in sourcing and suppliers still open for business. One member sent details of a recipe for beer making.

Groups having success with Zoom include:
 
▢ The Crime Fiction and Crime Fiction 2 Groups are planning to use, or are already using Zoom for group activity.
▢ The French Book Club had its first meeting last week and will be continuing with its activities.
▢ The Jazz and Improvised Music Group have had two Zoom sessions.
▢ The Ukulele Group had an experimental meeting to help those who are not familiar with Zoom, before going for broke …
▢ The World Literature Group is ready to go on Zoom.

New Online Groups

There are two new online groups starting up that members can join or view on our website:
 
Films group online ▷
 
Guided Mindfulness Practice
 
This group, convened by Helen Muller, will be offering information about mindfulness, a 30-minute audio Guided Mindfulness Practice led by U3A member Andy Metcalf, a column entitled Nick’s Reflections, and pointers to additional resources for those who wish to explore further. Full information will be available shortly so please keep an eye on the website for further details.

Volunteering

While we are socially distanced you can enjoy planning the future and thinking about how you can contribute to our CEDU3A by volunteering once normal activities are up and running again. Check out the dedicated web page at https://cedu3a.org.uk/volunteer/ for ideas, and get inspiration from the stories of Bryony, Jennifer, Paul and Vivien at https://cedu3a.org.uk/meet-our-volunteers
 

We have immediate need for people to support conveners and others trying to set up video conferencing systems for their groups. If you have experience in using Zoom, FreeConference, Skype or other videoconferencing systems, and would be happy to help others set up a system for their group, please contact webmanager@cedu3a.org.uk.

Third Age Trust Newsletter

We are also encouraging our members to sign up to the Third Age Trust Newsletter. The Trust is using the National U3A Newsletter to keep members informed on the latest government advice covering coronavirus Covid-19. It also has information, stories and advice from across the U3A movement on how to keep safe and occupied during this difficult time.
 
Fill in your details on the form on https://www.u3a.org.uk/newsletter to receive U3A updates, both regional and national, direct to your email inbox. Do check your email inbox after signing up: you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please check your junk mail box.

Zoom – practical tips

Zoom is a means of arranging meetings remotely and is being used by a number of Groups. Here are a few practical tips from Jon (acoustics consultant) and Brenda of the French Book Club:
 
■ Try to conference from a room with soft furnishings. This will usually be your living room
■ Avoid conferencing from your kitchen. The hard surfaces produce unwanted sound reflections
■ Avoid background noise at your location such as washing machines, dishwashers, radios and TVs
■ Background noise greatly reduces the intelligibility for your recipients even though it may be at a comfortable level for you
■ Stay reasonably close to your computer/phone microphone. This will give your voice dominance over other external noises in your environment
■ The quality of many loudspeakers built-in to laptops and phones is not the best so you can get considerable benefit from using headphones or earbuds.
■ Participants should mute their microphones when they are not speaking. This cuts out background noise when listening to the speaker.
■ Zoom may give more than the advertised 40 minutes for a basic account.
 
 
Zoom set-up guide ▷
 
 
Zoom quick start guide ▷
 
 
How to avoid Zoombombing ▷

David Hunter of the World Literature Group is very happy to pass on his experience with Zoom. If you would like some help please email cedu3a@gmx.com

Our mental health

Advice on how to cope with staying at home for an extended period from the Mental Health Foundation

Plan your day

We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life. This can be a risk to our mental wellbeing. As tempting as it might be to stay in pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose.
 
Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation, connection and reflection.

Move more every day

Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and help us sleep better. Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find some that work best for you. Even at home, there will be lots of ways to exercise and keep your body moving.

Try a relaxation technique

Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings. Try some different meditation or breathing exercises to see what helps. For example, sometimes we can be so tense that we do not even remember what being relaxed feels like. Progressive muscle relaxation teaches you to recognise when you are starting to get tense and how to relax. A range of relaxation techniques, including progressive muscle relaxation are available from the NHS.

Connect with others

Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel lonely. Find creative ways to keep in touch with co-workers, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected and supported. Explore ways of connecting that work for you, whether that’s by post, over the phone, social media, or video-chat. This could be anything, from sharing a cup of tea over video, playing an online game together, or simply sending a supportive text-message.

Take time to reflect and practice self-compassion

Make time every day to reflect on what went well. It’s important to recognise your successes and the things you are grateful for, no matter how small. Consider keeping a gratitude journal each day where you could write two or three of these things every night before you go to bed. Mindfulness techniques may also help you focus on the present rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts (though they may not be helpful for those experiencing more severe depression).

Improve your sleep

Feelings of uncertainty and changes to daily life may mean you have more difficulty sleeping. There is a lot you can do to improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend if you can, and try to get some natural sunlight (by opening your curtains and windows) where possible. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better. Wind down before bed by avoiding using your phone, tablet, computer or TV for an hour before bedtime.

Find out more at Every Mind Matters ▷

Social distancing

We have received a number of emails emphasizing the importance of keeping in touch and making sure that our exercise routines are maintained, for both our physical and mental health. Unfortunately we are not able to promote any proposals with regard to members meeting either in indoor spaces or outdoors. Any such arrangements will have to made at the organisers’ own risk, against both the advice of the authorities, and, of course, the Crouch End & District U3A.

The following is an extract from the UK Government advice on social distancing.

The official Government advice on social distancing is as follows:
 

  This guidance is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.

We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
This group includes those who are:
 
■  aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
Background and scope of guidance
 
■  under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
 
□  chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
 
□  chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
 
□  chronic kidney disease
 
□  chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
 
□  chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
 
□  diabetes
 
□  problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
 
□  a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
 
□  being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
 
■  those who are pregnant

Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The NHS in England will directly contact you with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

  People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
 
■  people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
 
■  people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
 
■  people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
 
■  people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
 

What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  They are to:
 
■  avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
 
■  avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
 
■  work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
 
■  avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
 
■  avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
 
■  use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
 
Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:
 
■  are over 70
■  have an underlying health condition
■  are pregnant