Bulletin no. 29 (May 2020)

Chair’s welcome

Welcome to our May Bulletin, the second one in our changed world. As we wait to hear the Government’s announcement setting out the first steps for lifting the lockdown, due on Sunday, I think we can safely assume that there is a way to go before our activities can return to the way they were previously delivered.
 
But we are still here and busy, just delivering our activities in a different way. Please be assured, our Executive Committee members, our wonderful group conveners and other members are working hard to find all sorts of ways of continuing to offer our activities to all our members. Further down this bulletin there is a very helpful update setting out how our various groups are staying in touch. Below I set out how we are hoping to take our monthly meetings online as monthly talks. We are also hoping to set up a group, Bright Ideas Online, to identify further ways of using online resources. Offers to work with us on these initiatives will be greatly appreciated, especially from those of you with technical expertise.
 
One of our trustees, Llorett Kemplen, is in regular contact with our non-internet members, ensuring they have what they need and can also link into the groups of which they are members. Another CEDU3A member, Di Janus, has been in discussion with local support providers. Any member in need of support – whether financial, practical (such shopping) or befriending – who wants to talk to someone while in isolation can do so through Haringey’s Connected Communities, which is coordinating initiatives by a range of groups across the borough. Its web page https://www.haringey.gov.uk/community/connected-communities has contact details. You can also use the website to offer to support others, by for example calling people who are isolated.
 
I have to end with some sad news about one of our members. Vivienne (Viv) Aggett passed away when she contracted Covid-19 while in hospital for other treatment. Vivienne regularly attended monthly meetings and other social events with her husband Colin, also a member. I have written to Colin on behalf of CEDU3A expressing our condolences at this difficult time and sending our thoughts to him and their two daughters. As I have asked before, please keep us informed of any member or members whose lives has been affected by this horrible virus.
 
Take care and keep well
 
Sally, Chair
chair@cedu3a.org.uk

From monthly meetings to monthly talks

We plan to launch our monthly talks online using Zoom Pro. However, to be able to achieve this effectively and efficiently we need a member, or members, to come forward who can provide technical support with setting up and running the meetings, dealing with questions and so forth. We hope to deliver the first talk later in May. Offers of help and support would be very gratefully received. And please get in touch if you would like to give a talk in one of these sessions. The more talks we have ready, the more frequently we can run them. Contact Sally on chair@cedu3a.org.uk. or complete the form on the website: https://cedu3a.org.uk/2020/05/03/monthly-talks-online/.

Bright Ideas Online

We are very keen to set up this group, whose members will regularly communicate with each other and explore ways to develop and deliver suggestions for how we can broaden our online offer to members via Zoom and/or other apps, social media and/or email. If you would like to be part please contact Sally on chair@cedu3a.org.uk or complete the form on our website: https://cedu3a.org.uk/2020/05/04/bright-ideas/.

News@…

We hope you enjoyed our first newsletter, sent out last week. If for any reason you haven’t received it, you can see it our website: https://cedu3a.org.uk/newsletter/, and printed copies have been sent to members without email. The newsletter will be published again in September: contributions are most welcome and members are also invited to become part of the editorial team, suggesting ideas and finding and writing up items and stories. Contact the newsletter at news@cedu3a.org.uk

Tips for keeping safe at home

We are all spending a lot more time at home at the moment, but we need to take care and keep safe at home. This is not the best time to be going to A&E.
 
Most accidents around the home result from falls, so protect yourself from falls, on stairs or rugs. For advice see: https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/home-safety/safe-at-home-over-65s-booklet.pdf.
 
We are all catching up on neglected tasks, but you may have been younger the last time you tackled a big DIY or gardening job – can you still do it safely? Think twice before you climb up a ladder. If you have to, be sure someone is helping you by supporting the ladder and don’t overreach.
 
Also be careful joining in online exercise classes, or doing vigorous gardening, and make sure you stay safe and avoid injury.
 
If exploring the back of your store cupboard or freezer, make sure food is still safe to eat.
 
Are you getting the support you need? If you are in an at-risk group and have not yet received a letter from the NHS, contact your GP.
 

Be aware of scams – don’t hand over money or personal information unless you are confident the request is legitimate. More information from Age UK https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/scams-fraud/
 
Janet Sutherland – CEDU3A member

CEDU3A website

Please don’t forget to look at our website: https://cedu3a.org.uk/ for the latest news and resources. At a recent meeting of London U3A representatives, our website was singled out as one of the best for online resources and information.

CEDU3A Facebook group

Our Facebook group Crouch End & District U3A now has almost 240 members and is being used regularly during the lockdown to share information about virtual events and other notices of local interest. Some groups (see below), such as Jazz and Film, have also set up private Facebook groups, accessible only to their members, where they share details of upcoming virtual meetings. This kind of group might appeal to those of you who have reservations about becoming a Facebook member, though be assured that everyone who joins can set their privacy settings and specify who sees their posts. If you use WhatsApp, Facebook already has some of your personal data anyway, since both platforms are owned by the same organisation. As a Facebook user, you can also join the excellent U3A: keeping in touch group which was specifically set up for members across the country to share posts during the lockdown. For those of you who like making things, there is also the Craft U3A group.

WhatsApp

Some interest groups have named their WhatsApp groups to reflect their interests, examples include the Marvellous Mosaicists, the Fabulous Feltmakers, the Terrific Textilers and the Chatty Crocheters but can you guess who the Omnipotent Explorers are? Or the CED Pingers? Do let us know if your group has an interesting identity.

New Interest Groups

Historical Fiction
 
A new group is being set up for occasional readers who now find that they really do have time to read. The group will specialise in historical fiction books, selected by the members. For more details and to apply to join, see https://cedu3a.org.uk/historical-fiction/. Eventually, the group plans to meet once a month, in each other’s houses.
 
Guided Mindfulness Practice Online
 
Each month three aspects of mindfulness practice will be made available on our website – https://cedu3a.org.uk/guided-mindfulness-practice-online/. These will include a 30-minute audio – Guided Mindfulness Practice – led by Andy Metcalf, the column Nick’s Reflections and pointers to additional resources for those who wish to explore further.

Keeping in touch – interest groups

Conveners continue to work hard to keep us connected, healthy and engaged. Social distancing and lockdown have made us rethink how we meet and interact. It does not mean that our interest groups can’t carry on being social. Members have been greatly reassured that ways have been developed to enable group members to keep in touch, in many cases continuing to meet regularly, albeit virtually, and engage with each other by phone, email, WhatsApp and Face Time and through regular newsletters.
 

Much has been achieved already and other options are being explored and new ways developed. There is no one preferred method of encouraging groups to connect and engage. Much will depend on the group members and conveners working out which of the options available works best.
 
How interest groups are continuing with meetings
 
Zoom
 
1960s/1970s: in progress
Americana : in progress
Art appreciation 1: meetings are every two weeks rather than monthly and each has a theme which has been researched and discussed. Using the free Zoom option, which limits meetings to 40 minutes, members are usually able to have a second session after a short break. The convener commented that meetings are focused and stimulating
Book group 1
Crime fiction 1 and 2
Current affairs
Decluttering
Economics
French book club
History
Italian conversation 1
Italian conversation 2
Italian 3 advanced and intermediate
Jazz and improvised music. Communication through Facebook group
Latin
Photography
Quilting and patchwork for beginners
Ukulele : The group convener commented ‘Zoom (is) changing what we do, not necessarily for the worse. Just different. Expanding technical knowledge’
Wine … and more
Wine appreciation : meeting planned
World literature
Members’ coffee mornings (see below)
 
Please note: where conveners or another group member are paying the monthly charge for Zoom Pro for the group to connect, the Committee has agreed that these charges will be reimbursed until the lockdown is over. This new policy will be backdated to the beginning of the lockdown. Please contact Diana on groups@cedu3a.org.uk for more information.
 
Skype is currently used by Writing groups 1 and 2
Facetime is being used by the Quilting and Patchwork for Beginners group for individual queries.
 
How groups are continuing without meetings
 
The Gardening group is sharing tips now the gardening season is under way
Poetry for Pleasure is continuing to use WhatsApp to share poetry as a basis for discussion
The Photographers and Photography group has a page on Flickr to share their photographs https://www.flickr.com/groups/14711881@N21/pool/
Singing group members are e-mailed a ‘song of the day’ by their convener
We’re Talking Travel has set up an online blog for members to post their travel stories and photographs. All members are able to view at www.mywtt.org
Exhibitions and Galleries is circulating a weekly newsletter to their members, with cultural recommendations, reviews and other information compiled by group contributors. The convener commented that ‘(it is) envisaged as nearly equivalent to members’ chat round a café table after visits’. The newsletter has been warmly received with some 30 members sending a contribution and 50 members requesting to receive it. The fourth edition being currently collated
The Quilting and Patchwork for Beginners group is using WhatsApp and Facebook for keeping in touch and FaceTime for individual queries
Craft groups are using WhatsApp
Backgammon can be played online using http://www.justbackgammon.com
Art appreciation 2 has an ‘Artist of the Week’ and is sharing information about available resources such as ArtUK database.
Geology group conveners are issuing a fortnightly newsletter. Group members’ verdict – ‘excellent’.
 
Many groups continue to use emails, phone and WhatsApp very effectively for keeping in touch. Where members are absent from meetings these are particularly important in keeping them up to date and connected. No-one should feel left out other than by choice. Now, at a time of uncertainty and stress, it is interesting to note that the use of technology, often cast in the past as a negative, is a way for us to engage and connect. Used appropriately and in conjunction with other means of connecting we are able to socialise, share, discuss and help each other in the true spirit of our U3A.
 
Diana Pavey – Groups’ organiser and trustee

Coffee mornings

We have held two successful virtual coffee mornings, via Zoom. The next meeting is 11-11.45, Friday 15 May. If you would like to join this, or future, mornings please contact Jacki via https://cedu3a.org.uk/coffee-mornings/
 

Shared learning project

The exhibition of work by the U3A/Hornsey Historical Society Shared Learning Project which was due to go on display in the Arthouse during April and May and then at the Haberdashery café has obviously been cancelled due to the Covid-19 emergency. Instead it is on display as a virtual exhibition on the website called Once Upon a Time in Crouch End, (https://cedu3a.org.uk/2020/04/21/once-upon-a-time-in-crouch-end/). Once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted it is hoped the exhibition will be put on public display.

Volunteering with CEDU3A

While we are socially distanced, you can enjoy planning the future and thinking about how you might be able to contribute to our U3A by volunteering when 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, Jenny, Paul, and Vivien at https://cedu3a.org.uk/meet-our-volunteers/.
 
We have three immediate needs for help (please see items above for more details):
 
-technical support to help run monthly talks online. Contact Sally chair@cedu3a.org.uk
-participants to join the new Bright Ideas Online group. Contact Sally on chair@cedu3a.org.uk
-members are invited to become part of the News@… editorial team, suggesting ideas and finding and writing up items and stories. Contact the newsletter at news@cedu3a.org.uk.

Third Age Matters magazine

The Third Age Matters magazine is published by the Third Age Trust, the national body for U3As around the country. It is free to members so if you would like to receive copies every other month, please email membership@cedu3a.org.uk or read it online here: https://www.u3a.org.uk/resources/publications/tam-text. The next issue will be out in June 2020.