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SiteWorks: The volunteer-team leading on website software for u3as

05 June 2024

u3a SiteWorks volunteer Pam talks about the project and the volunteer team responsible for building the u3a website software and helping u3as migrate onto it.

A Zoom screenshot of jnine people meeting online, smiling at their cameras

I joined the SiteWorks project in February 2023 as a Pioneer. The last 15 months has been challenging at times but the feedback from Web Managers makes the work that we have all put into this project worthwhile. There has been the added bonus of working with a great bunch of people within the project team but also interacting with the wider u3a community. I have learned a lot about u3a and how it works at both Third Age Trust level and the grass roots movement.

The project was running for several months before I joined. In 2022 a steering committee was formed to select and implement a replacement to the Site Builder web software. A tailored version of WordPress now called u3a SiteWorks came into being. The SiteWorks project is huge. Over 700 u3as will be migrating to the new platform and more than a quarter of a million of our members will be affected.

Additional volunteers joined the project during 2023 with 60–70 on board at any one time. SiteWorks was built and tested with a further 30 Pioneer volunteers from all over the UK. Working on a volunteer project is interesting as there are no fixed roles. We voluntarily take responsibility for the areas where we have expertise.

Early February 2024 we were ready to launch the roll out and in just over three months all eligible u3as have been invited to start the process. Over 500 u3as are now at some stage of the training and migration process. Over 150 u3as have already migrated to the new SiteWorks site with dozens more not far behind them. It’s great to see the results of our months of work being put into practice on so many of the new websites.

Every Wednesday evening for more than a year the Team Leaders have met at 7 pm for a couple of hours to report and discuss the progress in their respective areas. It is worth noting that we are all over the UK and most of us have never met.

Find out more about the project on the SiteWorks website. ). 

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