To celebrate the contribution of u3a volunteers, we are talking to some of the members who share their skills with the rest of the movement. Derek from Islington u3a is the Treasurer for the Third Age Trust and, as part of his role, sits on the Board of Trustees.
I didn’t really have any fixed ideas or expectations of what the Treasurer’s role would entail – which is probably just as well – it’s been busier than expected, but more on general Trustee aspects, rather than just specific Treasurer’s duties. Like all volunteering it’s what you want to put into it.
I’d been a Chair of Islington u3a and then on the committee for the London Region network so I’d become more interested in the national movement rather than just my local. The Regional Trustee for London then suggested I’d make a good Treasurer (even although I’m not a trained accountant).
The thing I enjoy the most about being part of the Board Members team is shaping the future. There are day to day things that need doing but being part of developing the u3a – improving, supporting, developing – is an opportunity I find enjoyable.
The challenge, whether it’s finding Interest Group Coordinators or Committee members at the local level or active Network Committee members at the national level, is to find enough volunteers to share the load. Some say all charities suffer the same way, some say it’s a generational thing, whatever the reason it is a challenge for us. We can try all sorts of methods but often it’s the quiet word, the direct personal approach, that works the best. I think most fear it’s a burden and a big responsibility but there are always others around to help and support.
I’d encourage anyone to give leadership roles in their u3a a go. It can be very rewarding – and fun! I always felt apart from ‘taking out’ (being in various of my local u3as Interest Groups) it was only fair that I put ‘back in’ something as well. Again it can be in a small way, or a large way. As we are largely a volunteering organisation ‘it all depends on us.’ We depend on members volunteering to help.
If you would like to get involved with volunteering at u3a, get in touch with us at email@example.com