28 September 2020
Dear U3A Member,
I am writing to you all as incoming President of U3A Healesville to bring you up to date with the outcomes of your Committee’s most recent Zoom meeting on September 22, and also to introduce myself to you as the incoming President. I want to begin by acknowledging the work over the last three years of my predecessor, Bill Woods. Under his auspices the membership has grown, the number of courses has increased and the Committee has successfully obtained significant grants to enhance equipment and facilities available to course leaders and their groups. He has worked tirelessly and on behalf of all members I thank him for the significant contribution he has made to progressing our U3A. I also want to thank the following retiring members of the Committee for their significant contributions to the U3A Healesville Committee: Bev Gilbert, Del Brown, Stephen Smith and Kaye Williams.
We now have a new committee which includes Barbara Woods (Vice President), Rebecca Doig (Secretary), Bill Woods (Treasurer), George Doig (Course Coordinator), Gianna Esposito (Court House Bookings) and Wendy Veitch (Newsletter and Membership Officer). All have been enthusiastic and energetic members of U3A for some time now and are looking forward to a successful year in 2021.
For those who do not know me – a brief introduction. My wife, Wendy, and I retired to Healesville in January 2016. I had been a secondary teacher of English and Political Science as well as holding a number of senior executive positions in schools. In retirement I have spread myself between being Chief Supervisor of VCE Examinations, enjoying Australian Chamber Orchestra concerts, volunteering at Tarrawarra Museum and, of course, the U3A participating in the Theatre Group, singing group, Lunch with Plato and Music Matters. I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible and hope we can continue to run interesting and rewarding courses for you and provide opportunities for socialising.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and, sadly, has seen courses cancelled during Terms 2 and 3. I know that a number of courses, essentially those groups that could readily use social media platforms, have continued to run informally. The Committee is grateful to those leaders who have continued to make this possible. For others it was simply not possible to run their courses, hence many of you will have missed out on your activities.
I now want to bring you up to date with decisions made at the September 22 meeting.
2020 Courses Close until further notice
Following the Premier’s 27 September announcement of some easing of restrictions as of Monday 28 September, the Committee decided that there was little likelihood of classes being able to gather either indoors or outdoors for the remainder of the year. Consequently, and regrettably, all courses will have to be cancelled. Furthermore, we cannot predict when we will be able to open up in 2021 and what that will look like. Be assured that we will inform you about the way forward as soon as we have a clear picture. We know that some groups will continue on an informal basis using electronic and social media as organised by leaders and their course members and we thank them for that.
Registration Day for 2021 Courses
The Committee decided to defer Registration Day for 2021 courses until early in the new year when we will, with luck, have a much clearer picture of what is possible. The precise date of Registration Day will be determined based on advice from the State Government, U3A Network Victoria and the Yarra Ranges Council, who control a number of venues. We will keep you informed as soon as we receive advice on how we can proceed.
Membership Fees Rollover
The 2020 AGM, completed by Proxy on 17 September, approved the proposed 2021 fee structure of $25 for continuing members and $50 for new members. The Committee decided to roll over all current memberships into 2021, so your current enrolment in 2020 courses will continue unless you advise us otherwise. The $25 membership fee for continuing members will be paid on Registration Day. The Course Coordinator will be contacting Course Leaders over the next week or so to ascertain whether their courses will in fact continue in 2021 once we recommence classes. Members will be advised of the outcome of available courses in a Term 4 Newsletter which will be sent to all members towards the end of the year.
To summarise, we will advise you of the date of Registration Day as soon as we can. We will also advise which courses will be available. The $25 membership fee will be applied on Registration Day.
Communicating with Members – trial Zoom meeting.
The Committee resolved to ensure regular communication with all members as we work through the next few months. This will be either via a Newsletter or a letter from myself.
We will also be inviting all members to attend a trial zoom ‘get together’ later in October providing you with the opportunity to ask questions of the Committee or to offer suggestions about the coming year. We will send members further details in the next few weeks and the opportunity to raise questions by email will also be available in the leadup to this meeting.
Once we are up and running we will need volunteers to help clean the Court House and maintain the grounds. If you are interested in volunteering to be part of a roster, please contact Rebecca Doig ( Secretary) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0490 917 975
Proposed Social Gathering
The Committee is keen to hold a Christmas outdoor U3A social gathering in December if possible but obviously we will be governed by restrictions in place at that time. The intent is there and we will keep you up to date.
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Friday 16 October. If you have any matters you would like raised please contact the Secretary, Rebecca Doig, via email email@example.com or phone on or 0490 917 975
In the meantime, we are looking forward to 2021 being a more productive and enjoyable year for all and trust that this letter finds you well.
John Pascoe (President)
On behalf of U3A Healesville Committee