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A Day in the Life of a u3a Trustee: Dundee u3a's Events Coordinator, Donna

06 November 2023

For Trustees Week 2023, Donna from Dundee u3a shares insight into her role as Events Coordinator on her u3a committee.

For Trustees Week 2023, Donna from Dundee u3a shares insight into her role as Events Coordinator on her u3a committee.Donna (on the right) with Norma (left) and Hilde (centre)
who help Donna to organise events.

I’m Donna and this year I volunteered to lead Dundee u3a’s social events ... then had several moments of panic that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. My experience in arranging social events was only an annual Christmas lunch for a few friends however, by pulling in two willing conscripts (Norma and Hilde) with excellent teeth to help me chew, I was confident we’d make a good team. I’d certainly recommend job-sharing roles on committees, half the responsibility and double the fun.

My day starts with breakfast and checking my mobile for messages and wondering who has signed up for the latest activities. We try not to have more than three events on the go at any time or we mix them up. Did someone say brain fog, sometimes it’s more like a pea-souper in there! Questions range from “is the soup vegan?” or “what will the weather be like next month?” and “which bus is best and where’s the nearest stop?” I never envisaged I’d become a walking search engine (which is what I often use to find the answers).

My wee sub group are really helpful. This morning, Norma will be busy finalising details with the hotel for our first ever disco. Maintaining good relations not only keeps costs down but also, it never hurts to ask for a freebie - who can resist Norma’s sweetest smile. Hilde’s probably still in bed. Most of her work comes after events, when she writes them up for press releases, social media or uploads photos to web pages.

Morning preparations done, I’m off to catch up with my accomplices at M&S (other cafes are available) where they serve a lovely cuppa and cake. Are all committees powered by sugary treats and a brew? By 1pm our treats are over and so is the catch up on our lives outside the u3a. After all, you can’t be a social event sub group and not be sociable, can you? There’s always a funny anecdote that sets the tone and, as the team members share the same sense of humour, there is so much laughter we ought to put a u3a sign on our table, I’m sure people would sign up there and then. It wouldn’t be the first time someone’s overheard a conversation and said, “I’d love to come too”.

Eventually, we get to the serious stuff of going through the events calendar. We took those we inherited and tweaked it for our first year - no need to throw the antiques out with the well worn. So far, in came a summer picnic, links with Dundee University’s Festival of the Future and a golden oldies disco. It’s 60s-90s music and I’ve had lots of quips about it coinciding with our age range too. We really hope there will be a glitter ball!

We finish by 3pm and head back home. I take some time to amend our master lists, check emails and WhatsApp messages again for updates and use Beacon to distribute any details of Whats On locally that might interest our members. I love this last part. I’ve found out so much more about what’s going on in Dundee. Who knew there were so many activities in in the City of Discovery?

By evening it’s free time for me. I’ve made so many friends through the u3a that being a member of the committee and leading on the social side never feels like work. It’s just an extension of catching up with mates, albeit on a larger scale, as now I have over 500 more!

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