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by Richard Thomas - 13:06 on 09 June 2012



I thought I might start this off as Captain’s log, star date.... but perhaps not.  We’re not all Trekkies. 

This is a trial shot to see if we can get a better flow of information to and fro in the U3A by supplementing the official minutes and meeting communications and I hope, by the members feeding back directly what they think and want.  This is not the official record of what has gone on but it is my recollection of the business and decisions and should be taken as such.

I intend to put this out directly after the committee meetings and the general meetings as well as irregularly as things strike me and events happen.  I appreciate that not everyone has access to a pc nor do you all go on line particularly often but this is the best way I have to communicate with the majority of members quickly and to make feedback easy.  It’s important that you comment on my ramblings and tell me what you think both of what I have written and on the directions we should be taking for the U3A here. 

The start is the committee meeting last week on the 28th May.  As it happens, I wasn’t there – a need to get to Inverness for some expensive work on the car meant I couldn’t make it.  However, Pam gave me full feedback, part of which included how we communicated and publicised ourselves so I thought it sensible to make a start with my own role as Chairman or Chair whichever your preference.

There were three important things discussed as well as the usual business on our finances and general workings of the U3A locally.  The first was whether we should buy some of the kit we need for meetings.  This includes a projector for presentations and talks which otherwise we have to hire, a lap top for members to use for the presentations they prepare, to store work on and to help with the administration of our work and possibly display boards and a screen so we can show work.  These are perhaps not strictly necessary if we stay in one place all the time for our meetings but if we want to get out and about they become more important. I am keen to get out, to use the community centres for our meetings as well as getting to Stromness on a regular basis.  We will also save money in the long run as we won’t have to hire the kit.

Leading on from this is the vexed question - if we want this equipment, how do we pay for it?  We do have a surplus of funding we can use but it would only go towards one of the wants and would deplete the treasury.  The other approach is to seek funding from the sources available to voluntary groups and Pam has done a lot of research into this.  When approached, VAO were positive about the prospects of getting support from the Big Lottery fund but they have not as yet come back formally.  Subject to their response, Pam is going to put together some bids and we will see how we go.

We have set up a small group to look at how we might get better publicity for what we do.  The visit from Edinburgh last year got us some good notices from Radio Orkney and the Orcadian and certainly as a result folk became aware of our existence.  Radio Orkney are good about publicity; the Orcadian charges but that’s quite fair as they have to make some money from somewhere.  Among the possibilities are the use of the Orcadian’s society column as well as shop windows and public notice boards in places like the library (which we already use). I think we might be able to get something in Living Orkney at some stage.

Since the AGM, I glad to report that we have been able to start off two new groups – the Art group lead by Gloria O’Shea which is so popular that it’s full and the Dabblers are to start up led by Dave Woodcock.  We’re completely open to ideas for new groups and indeed for the revival of groups that have fallen by the wayside.  If you suggest something it doesn’t mean that you are landed with having to get it off the ground but having said that, unless we get someone who is willing to take up the running of a new or revived group it won’t start by itself.


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