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Beyond Lockdown Working Group

How is your u3a handling Winter?

The Beyond Lockdown working group has been gathering ideas which u3as can keep connected over the next few months. We have been looking not just at ways of overcoming the obstacles u3as are facing but at expanding the ways in which u3a works.

Things you’ve told us

An amazing number of ideas have been generated by u3as in an attempt to overcome the problems raised by members’ inability to meet face-to-face. As we have grown more accustomed to using new technology, u3a members’ innovations have become more far-reaching and inclusive:

• developing Hybrid groups
• Zoom tutorials
• promoting Zoom buddies
• streaming to YouTube
• running AGMs by email or by Zoom
• new tech groups set up by committees to help their members
• competitions
• sharing ideas between u3as through the efforts of networks (huge effort by some networks)

All the items being gathered will appear on the revamped website under Support for u3as to which links will be provided through every channel of communication.

Things to think about

Monthly meetings – Some u3as have found numbers attending virtual monthly meetings higher than when members came together physically. Due to this, some u3as are planning to run hybrid meetings when they are able to do so, which will include members not ready to meet in person yet.

Interest Group convenors – could you step in to help run a group virtually?

Inclusion: Don’t Forget to Support Members who are Offline

Pen pal schemes – Chain letters are a variation of pen pals which could work well for making contact with groups. One person starts the chain with a letter forwarded to the next recipient in the group, who then added to the letter and forwarded to next recipient and so on.

Telephone Trees – Some u3as have set up their own telephone trees with volunteers on the committee phoning people on a weekly basis, rotating the list amongst the volunteers. Many telephone trees have been active throughout the pandemic and have become a vital part of a committee’s pastoral role to its members.