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Berwick-Upon-Tweed u3a: Their SiteWorks Journey

29 April 2024

During 2024, there is a big project to update the websites of u3as across the UK onto this new volunteer-built platform, SiteWorks. There are now around 100 u3a SiteWorks websites.

Susan, a member of Berwick-upon-Tweed u3a, explains why she signed up to help the SiteWorks project team; her migration journey as a web manager; and what she has personally gained from the experience. A screenshot of Berwick Upon Tweed u3a's new SiteWorks website

A screenshot of Berwick Upon Tweed u3a's new SiteWorks website

When I heard that the new SiteWorks website was to be WordPress based, I worried I wouldn’t be able to continue as a local Web Manager. After the simplicity of Site Builder, I wasn’t sure I’d cope with a SiteWorks one: I’d previously really struggled to set up a WordPress site for a hobby of mine.

But then I saw the call for volunteers and thought joining the team might give me a head start in familiarising myself with how it’s done!

I’m part of the ‘Invite and Engage’ team, an administrative role, liaising between different parts of the SiteWorks team and with u3as across the UK.

We record u3a and Web Manager details, deal with their enquiries, schedule their progress through the ‘Register, Train, Migrate’ process, and generally try to ensure that everyone has the right information at the right time.
I also did some proof-reading of the training material to be used by Web Managers.

It’s been more of a challenge than I expected, but an enjoyable one made all the more so by the lovely people I’ve worked with. There was quite a steep learning curve in becoming familiar with how the team intended to achieve its objective of developing & rolling out the new website to c700 u3as. And just getting to grips with the apps used was something of a brain teaser for a non-techie like me. But I’ve just about mastered those elements of MS365’s Teams (Meetings, Emails, Doc storage), Beacon, Zoom and Eventbrite which we need. In doing so I’ve gained confidence and competence, both of which are transferable to many walks of life.

And, personally, from proof-reading the training material, I gained just the kind of experience of WordPress I’d been hoping for when signing up!

As part of the process, we were given a simple but detailed checklist of how to prepare the old site prior to migration. And, for the new site, the training workbook is a comprehensive manual of what needs to be done, what can be done & how to do any of the components of both. We were given an offline version of a new site on which to practice various functions. Once satisfied with our skill level, we used the same offline site to plan & design the real thing. This meant that it was a relatively painless task, once we were ready, to create our actual website, on a server.

SiteWorks offers much more than Site Builder, in terms of function and style and - even at this early stage - I’d say it is worth the effort. if you take your time, and work through the training workbook carefully and thoroughly, it is doable even if you’re not a ‘techie’.  But effort is required!

We were given a detailed “Go Live Instructions” paper, which I found easy to follow and my actual migration went smoothly.

Excellent written training material, supplemented by further User Guides on the SiteWorks website ( ). A Migrator was assigned to us, individually, who oversaw the process and who was available to advise us if necessary. His responses were very prompt, he solved several minor problems which arose, and he passed on some very good tips.

To members who might be apprehensive about learning to use SiteWorks, I would say, please don’t worry - you’ll get there. And, if you’re inexperienced, don’t skimp on the time you give to the training workbook!

With SiteWorks, you can use the space on website pages much more imaginatively.

The Committee all love our new website. It’s too early to say anything about the members but hopefully they and others will look and see what we have achieved so far.

Berwick-upon-Tweed u3as website is at

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