1) Dates for your diary:
February 14th and 15th : Expo 50 Plus in the Waterfront (See below)
March 24th : Inter-U3A Bridge in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine. (Booking details will be issued nearer the date)
April 29th : Inter-U3A Songfest (Choirs should be aware of the arrangements)
May 11th : Regional AGM in Bangor (Notifications to follow in April)
June 3rd : National U3A Day (see below)
Originally we hopes to hold another quiz this spring but now plan to leave it till the autumn to avoid overloading diaries. We are waiting for confirmation before arranging a U3A Money Matters workshop in March or April.
2) The latest on Beacon is that it is undergoing an update but advice from those in the know is that if you are hoping to go on to Beacon you are advised to apply now and that the switch from Beacon 1 to Beacon 2 should be relatively simple. A Beacon expert hopes to be in NI within the next few months and we will see what can be arranged when that has been confirmed. (For those unaware of Beacon, this is a customised IT system for dealing with U3A membership info, costing £1 per head.)
3) Questions have been raised about the “model constitution” for NI U3As. First, this is a suggestion, not obligatory and if you and the Charity Commission are happy with what you have, that’s okay. The current version of the model suggests that changes to a constitution have to be sent to and approved by the Trust, but this is not the case. The Trust would welcome a copy of your constitution because if you have any queries for them the first thing they would do is to check your constitution.
4) To publicise the existence and value of U3A membership, each U3A is asked to mark the National U3A Day on 3rd June when there is likely to be media attention.
5) Expo 50 Plus returns to the Waterfront in Belfast on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th February. Last year the Region manned a table showcasing what U3As have to offer and raised a lot of interest, so we are returning this year. While the Expo is aimed at services for the 50 plus age range, it also comprises a genealogy conference and will be of interest to genealogists, collectors or those interested in antiques . You can download a publicity flyer by clicking the lnk below.
6) At the Autumn meeting there was discussion about an offer from Kingsbridge Private Hospital. Discussions on this are ongoing, awaiting advice from the Trust.
7) Discussions are also ongoing between the Region and the Belfast campus of the Ulster University, exploring options for links similar to those with the Coleraine and Derry campuses.
8) Some libraries have been holding open days to which they have invited the local U3As to attend. You may want to follow up on this with your library and if needed the region can provide publicity material.
9) Causeway U3A has organised a Spring Holiday in Kilkenny. Although well subscribed, there are stiIl a few places available which they are offering to other U3As. For full details, click on the link below to see the flyer. A deposit of £50 should be sent to Ken Canavan, 4a Tramway Drive, Bushmills, BT57 8YS, with the cheque made out to Causeway U3A by February 14th.
10) A PhD student is carrying out research into the social impact of Brexit on communities in NI and is looking for respondents to a questionnaire. For details see the post on the website Participants for Brexit Survey.