Bulletin no. 32 (August 2020)

Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to our August Bulletin. I hope you are all keeping safe and well.
 
Thank you to everyone who managed to take part in our first online Annual General Meeting. We were very pleased to be able to get all the necessary business completed and with 132 attendees we didn’t have to worry about not being quorate, which was a great relief. The draft minutes will be made available on the website. Special thanks go to Carl Parker for his Zoom expertise and to Jackie Langford, our Secretary, for her planning and preparation.
 
I hope you find this bulletin helpful and informative. It certainly shows we are keeping active despite the changes in our circumstances. Talking to other U3As around the country, we are doing very well in comparison, having embraced online activities, social media and other methods of keeping in touch.
 
Finally, I want to welcome our new volunteer Bulletin Editor, Louise McCullagh, and thank her for helping out with this important monthly communication.
 
Please contact me on chair@cedu3a.org.uk if you have any queries.
 
Take care
 
Sally, Chair

Online Talks in August

Tuesday 4 August, 11.00 a.m. – 12.15 p.m.
Gordon Hutchinson : A History of Alexandra Park

Wednesday 19 August, 11.00 a.m .- 12.15 p.m.
Peter Webb : The Erotic Arts

September Newsletter

We will be publishing the second CEDU3A newsletter in September and would like to receive contributions from our members. Examples (maximum 200 words) include: your personal achievements during lockdown – have you written a short story, poem or produced an artwork that reflects your experiences or emotions felt during lockdown?. Do you have an interesting pet or a fascinating local history story to tell? Can you suggest a catchy title for our newsletters? The deadline for receipt of your contributions is 24 August. Email articles to news@cedu3a.org.uk

Convener needed for Summer Pitch’n Putt Group

Alexandra Park is reopening its 10-hole pitch and putt course for the summer. Groups of four will be allowed at 15-minute intervals – complying with all government social distancing/cleaning recommendations. Would you like to convene a summer Pitch’n Putt group? It would only be for a couple of months and involve organising groups of four to play a round. Fun, exercise and great views over London – all at the same time! The concessionary rate is £5 per round per member with equipment provided. If you are interested, contact Graham on newgroups@cedu3a.org.uk

Membership Update

Welcome to the 72 new members who have joined us since the beginning of January. We can claim members from East Barnet to Wood Green, with a very good spread both north and south. Surprisingly, perhaps, there have been 11 new members since the beginning of lockdown, when we had to suspend most of our activities. Many came from friends’ recommendations, which shows that word-of-mouth can still be our best recruiter. Hopefully our newest members are getting a ‘taster’ of Crouch End & District U3A and experiencing the U3A’s potential through current online and other activities for when we get back to the new normal. Members who have signed up this year will be eligible for the reduced membership rate that will apply for 2021. If new members have queries about any aspect of their U3A experience, please get in touch: cedu3amemberprocessing@gmail.com

Keeping in Touch

Facebook

There has been some confusion about what can or cannot be posted on our Facebook page. As we said in our last bulletin, we would like members to use Facebook to keep in touch at a time when our activities are limited. This could mean a description and photos of a walk with U3A friends, even though it is not a U3A organised walk. It may mean showing us a bird or a plant you have spotted in the neighbourhood or promoting a concert in which one of our members is playing, such as the one at St Mary’s Tower a couple of weeks ago. Facebook is ultimately a way to connect with others and see familiar faces you may have missed. Members cannot post directly to the website but they can do so on the Facebook page. All appropriate contributions are welcome.

Groups’ Update

In spite of four months of lockdown, we have been able to continue with most of our programme of interest group activities thanks to the commitment, hard work and enthusiasm of our conveners. The groups that have been most active (many of which previously met in members’ homes) are those that have embraced technology: video conferencing and WhatsApp being preferred options. Thirty-four groups are meeting regularly using Zoom Pro or Zoom basic, including two groups that signed up for the first time in July.

 
Now that some museums, galleries, gardens and garden centres are opening, some groups have been able to extend their activities. The Beer Appreciation Group has been considering how to imbibe socially under current restrictions. However, other groups have not been able to resume because of the limit of six people, social distancing restrictions and venues not yet reopening: these include walks, pétanque, table tennis (although they are hoping to find opportunities to play outside) and badminton.

 
On a more positive note, the Tennis Group has now resumed knockabouts at Priory Park courts and is looking for new players. Some groups are beginning to explore how to resume their activities as government regulations are relaxed. We will shortly be emailing a questionnaire to all conveners, asking them to explore possible options with their members.
 
Members should contact the group convener of any of the groups that have paused their activities with new ideas to continue the activity or keep in touch.
 
A gentle reminder that groups should not be holding regular meetings or activities outdoors without completing the Risk Assessment forms.

Raising a Glass to the Zoom Challenge – Luisa Welch, convener

Trailblazing the new Zoom way of meeting, the Wine … and More Group has not let the lockdown prevent the monthly wine tastings from taking place. With a theme for each virtual tasting – The Italian Vineyard Tour, Spotlight on Spain, Spectacular South Africa, Summer Solstice Wines – recommendations were made and each participant sourced a bottle to bring to the tasting.
 
The Wine Appreciation Group also set up Zoom wine tastings – and cocktails! It is wonderful to be able see how much enjoyment each member draws from the tastings. Follow-up notes were sent out. In between Zoom tastings, the Wine …and More Group has circulated news from the wine world and encouraged members to share their wine finds to keep in touch with each other.
 
As this group is full, with a waiting list, perhaps the most important feature of tasting on Zoom is not being restricted by numbers, with both core group and reserve list members invited every time, reaching an attendance of 20 rather than being restricted to 12-13 people.
 
From the Wine … and More and Wine Appreciation groups, cheers, salut, santé! The tastings may be virtual, but the wine is very real!

Photography Group – Helen Story, convener

Happily, the Photography Group has continued throughout lockdown. This has been made possible mainly as a result of the efforts of Paul Soper, who manages the Zoom account, and John Wilkinson who has always allowed us access to his SmugMug online account, enabling us to view our photographs from the comfort of our armchairs.
 
We have continued with a monthly theme. Like everybody else we have been housebound and the topics reflected our inactivity. Examples of our efforts can be seen on Paul’s blog. The group has been very encouraging, and some lovely things have happened. Two of the original members came back: as it was a ‘virtual’ group we could accommodate more people.

Tennis Group – Christine Heath, convener

Tennis has restarted in Priory Park N8 on Thursdays at 10 a.m.
The group is for people who have played tennis in the past and would like to join a friendly knockabout. The group is of mixed abilities but knowledge and experience of the game is necessary.

Becoming a Convener

Could you become a Convener? If so, we need you! It really is very simple, just email Graham Bennett on newgroups@cedu3a.org.uk. We will guide you through naming, describing and advertising your group. You don’t need to be an expert in your topic – just reasonably good at organising. Group members will help decide the format of the group and guide each other. At this time, most of the groups still meeting are using Zoom. But some groups are full, and we would love to have more. Could you convene, say, another reading group, another foreign language group, a Pitch’n Putt group for the summer or something completely different using Zoom? We will guide you in setting up a Zoom pro account (cost covered by CEDU3A). We’d love to hear from you. And if Zoom isn’t for you, we can help you explore possibilities for meeting up while respecting social distancing and other factors, or plan for easier times.

Virtual Coffee Morning

U3A coffee mornings, whether actual or virtual, provide an opportunity for members to meet and chat informally. The next virtual coffee morning will be 11.00-11.45 a.m., Tuesday 11 August.

Third Age Matters

Third Age Matters is the quarterly print magazine published by the Third Age Trust, the national organisation for UK U3As. It includes articles from members around the country, as well as more general features. CEDU3A members are entitled to receive a copy as part of their subscription, but you must register to be able to receive it. If you wish to have a copy, please email your request to membership@cedu3a.org.uk.

Friday Night DJ Dance Party – Parminder, CEDU3A member

DJ dance party online One Foot in the Rave. We are music professionals who live and work in the CEDU3A area and broadcast to the public from our garden studio live every Friday from 8 to 10pm. You’ll hear all the foot-friendly music, from early Motown right through to Bruno Mars, from Bob Marley to Bowie, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, noughties and now. Join every Friday via the Zoom link:
 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84923056363
Meeting ID: 849 2305 6363
 
Join or leave at any time – this is an open invitation to CEDU3A members and their friends to dance like no-one is watching and give yourself a Friday night boost of energy.