President's Report - AGM 2023
PRESIDENTS REPORT FOR 2022
After two difficult years due to COVID it is pleasing to report that in 2022, we had a year with no disruptions and our members were able to enjoy a full complement of courses. Whilst COVID has by no means disappeared, and has indeed caused some minor issues with classes, we are now able to move forward whilst continuing to keep up to date with any health directives from the Government.
The pandemic affected U3A Central Coast like many other organisations. The lockdowns and restrictions caused some uncertainty amongst some of our members who found it hard to circulate back in the community again. This resulted in lower membership numbers, but I am pleased to advise that with a return to a normal program of courses, 2022 saw an influx of new members. Many of them new to the Central Coast and recently retired. So, the future is looking positive as we move into the new year.
Last year, we did offer half price membership of $25 to both renewing and new members to compensate for the cancellation of courses in 2020 – 2021 and I am sure that this was a contributing factor to the increased interest. But it also had the effect of reducing our finances as did waiving morning tea costs for the year. But as we move into 2023, we will be returning to our usual fee structures and with a continuing push for new members, we will see a return to a robust financial situation. During the year we changed banks from Community First to Newcastle Permanent and in 2023 we will look at an alternative to Paypal which is causing us some angst at renewal time.
Our members enjoyed around 130 courses over two semesters, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our course leaders without whom we would not be able to offer such a diverse and interesting program. This was acknowledged at a leader’s thank you lunch held on 17th November. I would like to acknowledge our many volunteers who assist the leaders and the committee throughout the year including the ladies who catered for that lunch.
With the easing of restrictions, we were able to hold our new members morning tea at the Greyhound Centre in March. This was a great success and led to two new committee members in 2022 and another for this year. Our new members bring fresh skills and ideas to complement our management committee and some of them take on the opportunity to be course leaders.
After our two “lockdown” years we were also able to hold our annual member lunch which was held once more at Erina Leagues Club. Our members were keen to get out and socialise again and it was a great success. More than 130 members attended and were entertained by an interesting guest speaker, Pat Morrish, and the Coastal a Capella. We hope to hold more social functions in the coming year as we acknowledge the fact that for many of our members, the social aspect is an important part of our U3A organisation.
A new initiative was the Member’s Information morning tea, held in November to familiarise our members with the U3A organisation. They learnt about the worldwide organisation and the structure of our local Central Coast branch including the role of volunteers. This was well attended, and members found it most informative.
As we continue to spread the word about U3A Central Coast, our new Publicity Officer Brian Freeman, set up our own Facebook page and I know that many of you have joined. Please feel free to post photos of U3A activities and share with your Facebook friends. This complements our website and activities within the seniors’ community on the coast.
Our committee has worked hard during the year to bring you an interesting program of courses and I must thank Judy Frewen, our retiring Course Leader Co-Ordinator and Dena Blumenthal our Class Manager who had the difficult task of maintaining this throughout COVID lockdowns, course cancellations and Zoom courses.
Every member of your hard-working management committee has a vital role to perform, and I would like to acknowledge their commitment to our organisation during 2022.
They are: Margaret Bevege our Secretary, Lindy Allen Vice President and Venues Co-Ordinator, Anne Denholm Treasurer, Judy Frewen Course Leader Co-Ordinator, Dena Blumenthal Class Manager and IT administrator, Membership Secretary Gayle Hartley, Penny Alexander Newsletter Editor, Margaret Robertson Web Administrator, Yolande Enright Social Secretary, Brian Freeman Publicity Officer. I am pleased to advise that all are staying on the committee for 2023, so there are no outgoing committee members. Judy Frewen has completed her three years on the executive Committee and will take on a new role in the committee.
Working beside the committee, offering their specialised help have been Linda Sydell who continues as phone officer, Marie Reynolds as IT assistant, Chris Rawson as Web support and Carol Fairweather as Admin support. Please join me in thanking all those who help to make U3A Central Coast such a successful and dynamic organisation.
I would also like to thank each and every one of you who are part of this wonderful U3A family. We hope that 2023 is a most successful year for our organisation and I hope to meet many of you during the year.
Carolyn Kingsmill – President
U3A Central Coast (NSW) Inc