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Trustees Week: Colchester U3A Chair

To celebrate National Trustees Week, we’re talking to trustees across the U3A movement – from those on their local committees to Regional Trustees. Today, we’re talking to Ruth Freedman, who is Chair of Colchester U3A.

What’s your journey been to becoming a trustee?

I joined my local U3A when I moved home 6 years ago – primarily to find out more about what goes on in the area and secondly to meet new people. I offered to set up a local visits interest group so that I could visit towns and museums to get to know the area better.

This led to me joining the working party for a Cluster Study Day. It wasn’t long before I joined Colchester U3A’s committee, shortly followed by election to Vice Chair and then 2 years ago Chair. I initially dreaded leading the meetings and standing in front of 130+ members at the monthly talk but it became easier as time went by. Now 2 years later I am sitting in front of many of them for our zoom talks and meetings. I have even mastered sharing a screen, muting and responding to chat. How my comfort zone has changed.

Additionally, I have been a National Volunteer since 2018. I saw this as an excellent way of finding out more about Third Age Trust and all that happens nationally.

What have you gained from being a trustee?

My time as a Trustee has given me an insight into this unique organisation and has taken me out of my comfort zone several times!

What do you hope to achieve in the role?

The chance to share my experiences and enthusiasm with members who haven’t had or taken the opportunities on offer yet.

What ways have you found to connect as a trustee during social distancing? Give us some great tips.

The committee have held regular zoom meetings and frequent telephone calls in between.

We have kept in touch with members through the monthly newsletter and telephone calls to lone members and are now planning to match them up with other lone members to continue this contact. Our STARS (support team as required) have helped with this.

We have held an AGM using online and postal voting which worked well. I have since run an induction online for our 3 new members of the team.

Do you have some words of encouragement to other members who might be considering becoming a trustee?

Don’t let the responsibilities of being a trustee spoil the enormous pleasure you can get from being more involved in the running of your U3A. Take advantage of the experience of other trustees and most of all – enjoy!