AGM 2021 President's Report


Despite Covid, our U3A has survived to report a year of both adaptation and incremental improvement.

Semester 1 came to a sudden halt when all courses were suspended or cancelled in March. Lock down firmly embedded our reliance on the digital world and the need for alternative ways to engage with one another. Phone, email and eventually Zoom became the alternative modus operandi.

The computer expertise of Margaret Ward, Dena Blumenthal, Chris Rawson, Judy Frewen and supported by Geoff Collins, was mobilized. Testing options and ways of using IT to keep us on the map found us introduced to Zoom for meetings and smiling faces, rather than a plethora of email chains. Zoom’s potential as an option for members to access Courses has also been trialed and hopefully will become an alternative for house bound members to access and share the local content of our courses. Our Zoom option for the AGM is a tangible illustration of this potential.

The U3A NETWORK NSW called for a reconfiguring and rationalization of all our local websites during 2020. Margaret Ward and Chris Rawson undertook the conversion and have provided us with an attractive and user- friendly platform.

Our U3ACC WEBSITE is the central hub for accessing all our needs as members: subscriptions. course information, enrolments and news updates. Another improvement has been the addition of Paypal in MYU3A as an alternative payment method.

The membership numbers for 2020 bottomed out at approximately 633, the pandemic curtailed the uptake of membership. Hopefully it will rebound in 2021.

The resurrection of the newsletter as THE SILVER LINING occurred and the sub-committee has published 9 on-line editions. The 10- page monthly produced by Penny Alexander, Carolyn Kingsmill and Judy Frewen meant we were all enriched by the personal stories, travel adventures, photographs and quizzes contributed by members. Anne Denholm provided a printed mail-out to postal members.  

The resumption of uncompleted courses from Semester 1 into an abridged Semester 2 required some intensive administrative re-organisation canvassing the availability of leaders and venues, followed by offering equitable access to members who had previously enrolled. It was a demanding workload for Dena Blumenthal, Lindy Allen and Judy Frewen with a deadline of September 1. Committee members undertook to attend each course commencement to ensure compliance to covid regulations. Many grateful members returned to face-to-face classes but some forgot to come. Our telephone officer Kathleen Dermody managed enrolments for postal members and our memory shortcomings re courses and passwords!  Apologies continue to be important, especially given the restricted numbers and the size of waitlists.

Our Course Leaders were thanked by a special mail-out because the luncheon was cancelled. Thank you again.

Today U3ACC owes Margaret Ward a very special accolade. She retires from active responsibility for the electronic platform she researched and adapted for our use over a four- year period. She has been a programmer, administrator, counsellor and mentor as we have navigated our way into the digital world U3ACC now inhabits. She has shared her knowledge and supported us all, according to our ability to comprehend and implement the system. Thank you so much Margaret from all of us.  We hope your retirement from MYU3A will not require a reboot!

It remains to acknowledge each member of the 2020 committee for their unique contribution. In three and a half years, I have experienced nothing but support and enthusiasm for getting things done, electronically or otherwise. There has always been a hand on offer. Often many! I think we had some fun on the way and when it wasn’t, there was the satisfaction of jobs well done. I am grateful to have served with you.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge, on behalf of us all, the members and leaders who died during the year. We have all been enriched by knowing them, may they rest in peace.

My best wishes to the new Management Committee about to be elected for 2021. Thank you.

I move that my report be accepted  (Cyn Weekes)