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Newquay U3A Blog

Newquay U3A Blog
26 March 2020

Valerie Tams, of Newquay U3A, has set up a blog which interest groups will be able to use as a way to remain connected with each other.

I first set up a WordPress blog for Newquay U3A when I took over the role of Website Coordinator two years ago, although we never used it.

The blog is attached to our normal Newquay U3A Website, so our members can access the pages via links.We have pages for most interest groups, which members can read and then email their ideas and contributions for me to add. Written discussion can be done in the comments at the bottom of each page, so there can be some form of group interaction.

It's still in early development so I'm not 100% sure how it will be used for each interest group yet. After all, each group convenor can decide whether and how they want to use it to connect with their groups. An example of how it could work is already in use: member’s poems can be added in the comment box on the poetry challenge page, thus enabling everyone to take part. A separate page could be added for the actual poetry appreciation group to share poems of their current theme.

Any other non-physical group could work that way. The bird-watching page, for instance, could be full of photographs of birds, either from past walks, or those that members have seen in their gardens, especially now that we are confined to our homes.

I have a keen craft member thinking about what to add to the craft page I set up, and also an artist friend who I am sure will give us some material. I belong to the music appreciation group so I know what sort of music they like to listen to, which is mainly classical. I am also including other genres, to encourage another, more varied, music appreciation group for after the crisis.

I have been on a lot of the walks with all three walking groups, one of which I run myself, so I am familiar with local walks and have loads of my own photos taken on the walks. I have yet to set up that page. Similarly, I also go on a lot of our garden visits, so I've lots of photos from our visits for when I add that page. I propose to add a gardening page, for garden enthusiasts to share photos of their own gardens and plants, plus gardening tips and stories, during this crisis.
Although the blog has not yet been sent out to our full membership, we currently have three creative writers, including myself, a quiz master and games organiser, and a genealogist who are all working on how they can utilise this blog to stay connected with the membership. We have a daily diary writer, a weekly quiz, a daily horseracing game and people adding to the poetry page and creative writing page.

I have also set up an IT Skills page and helpline, in order to help those members who are less digitally confident. After one phone call, one of our members who struggles with IT has already learned how to use the blog successfully.

I have lots of other ideas so hopefully, by the time this extraordinary time is over, we will have regular output on our Newquay U3A blog to add an extra aspect to our regular U3A meetings, so that our U3A exists online as well as in real life.

I am so excited at the prospect of having something central that all our members can take part in if they wish to and are able to. It's an idea for the future too, as we get new younger members, who will be more computer literate.

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