Chairman’s update for September 2016
The success story continues with the announcement that the 1,000th U3A is about to open.
This occasion will be marked with a special event on 22 November in London. Guest speakers include Baroness Frances d’Souza and the only remaining U3A founder, Dr Eric Midwinter.
I’m sure that those who set up the first groups had no idea how big the organisation would become and how great the service that it would offer to people no longer in full time employment.
As a result of this the U3A nationally is taking a look at the way we are structured to see if anything needs to change. At the recent conference in Nottingham there was a chance for delegates to put forward suggestions and opinions.
The south-east is the area with greatest growth and our regional representative Hilvary Robinson has 183 U3As under her wing. By contrast there are just 24 in Northern Ireland. Should representatives have the same number? Should regions be divided differently? How relevant is this layer of management? These are some of the questions being examined.
At local level it often seems that the NEC, national office, the regional representatives and so on are irrelevant to what we do in our many groups. But without their expertise, their time and their hard work we would not be able to operate as we do.
Your committee is constantly in touch with those at a higher level, seeking advice, asking for information, benefitting from training and guidance and taking advantage of legal knowledge.
Some of you have been members of Dorking U3A for many years and must have seen changes already. Newer recruits may have a different view of whether our U3A is keeping up with the times, particularly in terms of technology and communication.
If you have suggestions or comments please share them so that I can take them back to the national U3A and Dorking can have its say in the future.
• The celebration of 1,000 U3As will take place at 2pm at Friends House, Euston Road, London. Tickets cost £5 and are available from u3a1000.eventbrite.co.uk.