President’s Report

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President’s Report Nov 2017

Tamworth Regional U3A President’s Report

2016 AGM

 Welcome to our Annual General Meeting as we review 2015-6 and look ahead to 2017.

 This has been a special year having access to our facility on Treloars’ first floor. There have been many changes as we seek to make best use of this space. Our thanks to John Treloar for his assistance and to our Members for their co-operation. I have been doing some research on Tamworth’s heritage including Warren Newman’s book on Treloars. I want to borrow, and change, the title of Warren’s book: From “Where shopping’s a pleasure” to “Where learning’s a pleasure”, a description of our new location. I hope you agree with the phrase. Let us know if you have ideas how we can maximise our use of this facility. This location has impacted on our finances, as noted below.

 In relation to our finances, having access to Treloar’s first floor has required us to proceed carefully. A major factor in our planning has been the decision made several years ago to prepare financial resources for future activities. The value of that decision  and our reserve resources has made available funds required in the effective use of this location. Because of our foresight, I am pleased to report there will be no increase in membership fees for this coming year. 

 At last year’s AGM, our ‘bank’ informed us about their ‘Community Partnership Program’. On Monday September 12th, John Fuller and I attended a meeting organised by the Regional Australia Bank. We received an award of $521.02 being added to our income. Thanks to Members who help us in this program.

 Our membership is above the 250 level as we lose but also gain new members. Welcome to our new members. We appreciate the questions and suggestions from new members.

 We maintain a strong link with the U3A Network. John Sharkey is on the Network Committee. We thank him for keeping us up to date with Network news. The Network Conference was held in Toronto this year: the 2017 Conference will be held in Sydney in June. Attending the conference is an interesting experience: you learn about U3A in other groups and meet other U3A members.

 When I am discussing U3A with a person, I explain our program and am amazed at the range of what we offer. That makes me proud of our organisation but also illustrates how our members are involved in providing such a diverse and interesting program.

 The 2016 UNE/U3A Lecture focused on Elder Abuse. Aileen Kennedy from the School of Law illustrated three areas of law in which various forms of elder abuse may operate. Her lecture created wide interest and there has been follow up of other activities in the city related to this issue. We welcome suggestions from members for follow up activities.

 We had limited response to our film sessions: we shall try again in warmer weather. Our Wednesday short talks offered good topics from rhinos to refugees and personal finance, a good response from those attending, some new faces, and chat before and after the talk. Monthly visits, to Werris Creek for example, were enjoyable events. The Dubbo ‘excursion’ was a memorable experience for those participating. We welcome suggestions for guest speakers, locations for visits or the longer excursions.

 Congratulations again to Wendy Smith for her ongoing work on our course program. For example for Term 4, as Wendy will announce, there are both over 30 continuing and 27 repeated courses plus future possibilities. You can help our U3A – volunteer to conduct a course or request a new course. You can check old Newsletters or courses at other U3As from their websites. You can also offer suggestions for a theme for the 2017 UNE/U3A Lecture. It is after all your U3A.

 We have maintained good relations with other organisations in the city, especially the Tamworth Regional Council and UNE. The Management Committee has recently decided to explore a closer relationship with the University of Newcastle.

 The Management Committee has worked well during the year. The organisation should be very satisfied with the leadership of the group. Ian Regan has indicated he will not be seeking membership of the Committee and we offer him thanks for his services in many activities. Jan Morris who has carefully looked after our finances has decided to pass on that role. The high standards of our financial management, as presented by Jan in her later report, illustrate the quality of her work. Thank you Jan and we look forward to your continuing work on the Committee.

 A point of importance for members. During the year we had many examples of Committee members were away on holidays, attending conferences, visiting family, looking after family who had operations or accidents. But that was not a problem. Why? Because others stepped in to fill the vacancy. It was great team work and the Committee over the past year has been a great team!

 Thank you Committee Members and U3A members for allowing me to represent you. I value the role and continue to be pleased and impressed about the contribution our Tamworth Regional U3A makes to the City of Tamworth and its citizens in the Third Age. We look forward to the second year of our operations within our own facility… where learning’s a pleasure.

 Barrie Brennan


President’s Report 2014-2015

Welcome to our Annual Meeting to review 2014-15 and look forward to 2016. A year ago we were looking forward to using the Community College as our chief location. We had found a ‘home’! To-day I am announcing that we have a new ‘home’: the first floor of  Treloar’s store, now Cotton on. We will be using it for our Term IV program. The arrangement with the Community College has ceased. This is a very good location, good conditions and a reasonable cost.

Having made that announcement, I move on to other matters over the year.

We maintain good relations with the U3A NSW Network. John Sharkey has joined the Network Committee representing our ‘region’. Congratulations John. The Network’s Conference for 2016 will be help at Belmont on April 28-29th.  It is a good way to meet other U3A members.

Membership remains strong around 259. Our financial balance at year’s end is $9,630 indicating a loss for the year. Our term deposits are $11,149. Compliments to our Treasurer Jan for another excellent year.

In our new venue, we will have the opportunity to hang our two Certificates that we were awarded by the Tamworth Regional Council in Seniors’ Week as the leading seniors’ organisation. The Management Committee is aware that we have to make the community aware that we are an organisation that offers activities and friendship to those in their Third Age. Committee members accept invitations to speak at groups such as Probus. We will be represented at Serendipity’s October activity.

The program for this year has faced many difficulties from getting ‘used to’ the Community College to coping with problems caused by the changes to the UNE Centre, including the retirement of Margaret Keane whose help to us was excellent and will be missed. Those difficulties considered, the program has continued in the tradition that was established, under Wendy Smith’s leadership, in our early days. I offer two comments. The first is to ask all our members to consider whether they would like to lead or conduct a group on some topic or subject or project. We need your help and we can help you to perform such a task. Secondly, if you are unable to attend a group activity or class, please inform the person leading the group. That is a courtesy but also important information for the group leader.

The Term IV program will be launched later. In the program to date, the Seniors’ Week event was restored this year. The UNE Lecture was a very interesting presentation featuring, as is the U3A custom, a thoughtful interchange between the presenter, Dr Glenda Parmenter, and audience.

A changed venue for the Wednesday Talks was decided. There were problems with the room offered at Diggers (room not known until we arrived). Then there were difficulties with lighting and the ‘technology’ from microphones to projecting pictures. Nevertheless the talks have been enjoyed by members and well supported.

Interesting locations have been visited on our ‘tours’. They have provided variety and there is that important social element as we share a meal after the visit. John Fuller has provided a very attractive program for the talks and visits. He is always pleased to receive suggestions about locations and presenters. Thanks John for your contribution.

Our overall program is growing. Our first ‘expedition’ was held, to Lightning Ridge. Those who planned and organised the trip deserve our congratulations. However, there were many unreleased secrets from the visit. The same team is offering Dubbo as the next offering.

We strive for effective communication. Facebook has been a useful means of sharing. We plan to set up a special role, to focus on our Members, those sick or having a problem or achieving some award. As we grow in numbers, we need to strengthen our social and interpersonal links.

I used the term ‘we’ in the last sentence, referring to the Management Committee. It is a great team, meeting once a month for a couple of hours and with good contact between meetings. I want to thank on my behalf and yours and ask them to stand so that we can acknowledge them and their dedication to our cause.

And I thank all our members and trust you have a very positive 2016.

Looking forward to seeing you all at our December luncheon.

Barrie Brennan             October 7th. 2015.

President’s Report 2012-2013

I firstly welcome you to our Annual General Meeting. A special welcome to those who are planning to join us this year. I trust members have had an enjoyable year in U3A and that you will have a similar experience in the forthcoming year. For me being your President has been a role which I have found to be a rewarding experience.

Let us first review our activities. Initially I want to thank all those who have made these activities possible. We thank you for your time and effort. Also our thanks must go to Wendy, Terri, Neroli and John who keep the wheels of our program moving along.

Some figures and details from Wendy. Let me first acknowledge all those who have helped us this year in presenting, leading or organising our activities. Wendy has prepared a list and it is very long. I will put on our website for you all to read. There were 37 presenters and group leaders, and 13 new leaders/presenters in 2012-3, 12 new courses were offered and 34 other courses/activities were on our program. A huge program and a huge effort from Wendy!

Our Wednesdays at Diggers each month provide some very interesting and challenging presentations and time for questions, a chat and a cup of coffee afterwards. There are also our important excursions. These are also a good opportunity to introduce a prospective member to U3A. They can come along and ‘look us over’. The social element is also an important part of these two activities.

This reminds me to suggest that if you have a suggestion of a person for a talk at Diggers or a location for a visit, please let us now.

In reviewing the year, I cannot overlook our December Luncheon. Calala Inn again this year. Make a diary note for December 11th.

Our second ‘UNE meets U3A’ was well received and a highlight of the year. There have been management changes at UNE and the details of next year’s event have not been finalised, though Wednesday March 19th is the scheduled date.

Other members planned to attend the Network Conference in Goulburn in April but I was the only one who was able to attend. Goulburn were great hosts: there was lively discussion: good food and lots of talking. In 2014 the Conference will be held in Armidale, May 7th -9th.  Let’s support our Armidale colleagues with a good attendance.

Can you remember when you reached the age of 5? We achieved that milestone this year and celebrated with a luncheon in June. I think we will want to recognise our growth towards maturity each year in June. We made an excellent start this year!

One disappointment has been that the contacts that we made with Boggabri (Namoi) and Moree U3As last year did not develop further. They were invited to our UNE meets U3A and Birthday Luncheon but declined.

We took the opportunity of the NSW Cabinet meeting here to gain an interview with the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian. She was very helpful and we discovered that those with special needs may gain transport help. However, the resources available are quite limited. If members are interested and need this assistance, please contact us.

Several years ago we applied for and received a ‘kiosk’ from the Commonwealth Government, computers and furniture. Technology has ‘moved on’ and our computers are now outmoded with laptops and tablets. So we are withdrawing from that arrangement but still maintaining the ‘computing/technology’ part of our activities. We continue our program and I want to note the work of Brian, Terri and Warwick who offer a one-to-one service to our members with their computing.

I would like to inform you that the U3A is perceived by some individuals, groups and companies as an easy way to promote themselves, their products or philosophies. In general, our policy is not to become a collaborating channel for their promotion, unless it is agreed that it is a cause that would generally have the support of our members. Time at Management Committee meetings is sometimes consumed by discussions on these issues.

You are enrolling at the end of this meeting in Term IV activities. I trust you will enjoy them. I also remind you that we have a rather special event at Diggers on November 20th. Tony Windsor will be our Guest. As one of our Patrons, Tony has regularly apologised for his inability to attend our functions. Politicians are always either in Parliament or in committees or visiting other parts of the world. But he always apologised (and sometimes so did his Tamworth staff). He was very willing to make time for a visit and it is for Diggers on November 20th. We may need the ballroom upstairs.

We have had a good year financially, and that is good time to thank again our wonderful Treasurer Jan. She reports that we have been able to add another $5000 to our Contingency Account this year, this money being put aside with the plan of, one day, acquiring our own premises. Our current funds now amount to $16,000 and we have assets to the value of $4900. I should add here that we had an unsuccessful foray into finding an HQ with the Netball Association but without success. Jan has also advised me that our membership has now reached 245.

I would like to close by particularly thanking those who have been members of the Management Committee over this past year and who will not be with us in the coming year. Neroli was forced to resign because of her husband’s health earlier this year. Joy has moved to the South Coast and Marie has too many other competing positions to be able to carry on as Secretary. We sincerely thank them for their contribution to our work.

Although this report is presented before the elections, I would like to thank our current committee and welcome the new members joining us this year.   But for you all, thank you for this current year and best wishes for the coming year.

Barrie Brennan


President’s Report 2011-2012

I must first express my apology. I am locked up at Brisbane Airport in a Qantas Conference Room at the annual face-to-face meeting of a Council of which I am a member. They had to choose this same Wednesday in September. I’ll be thinking of you. I thank John Sharkey for this task he is carrying out and his support throughout the year.

It has been a privilege to be your President over what I think has been a successful year. We have maintained our membership, introduced new activities into our program, consolidated our financial position, and I believe increased our profile in Tamworth and beyond.

For the 4 terms preceding this AGM, up to the end of Term 3 2012, there were 32 terminating courses (ie just for that term):  there were 51 continuing courses and activities       51 ie over longer than a single term, 23 computer and IT courses though none in Term 4 2011. In  the main 5 subject groups, there were 9 in sport & fitness, 7 in primarily social activities, 11 classified as academic, 2 in food and cooking, 4 identified as creative, plus 20 other groups and activities which are “difficult to classify”. 32 people provided leadership for these groups, 9 of these leaders were presenting or leading for the first time.

We need to encourage more members to have a go at leading a course, perhaps using material available from the NSW U3A Network from material on CD or available for download. Our membership of U3A Online has just been renewed, so we have access to course material from them for the next 12 months.

Members interested in leading or presenting a course or activity are encouraged to contact the program co-ordinator well in advance of the beginning of a term, in order to plan and prepare the best possible program.

The reason for these results has been the collaborative effort of our Management Committee. At our monthly meetings, held initially at Tamworth Primary School but more recently at the home of Warwick and Beverley Deane, we have a productive two hours.

I would like to highlight some important parts of our year’s program. The first is the December dinner we had at Calala Inn (and will return again this year). Within that happy event, I appreciated the paintings but I was also impressed by our members’ reflections of their U3A experience. What a shame we do not have that session on video. What a wonderful way to explain to our fellows in the third age that that was what U3A is all about.

Which leads me to make an appeal. I would like to encourage members if they have good experience or are appreciative of an activity or the contribution of other members, why not share it with us all on our web site? Warwick would welcome those contributions.

It is so pleasing when a new activity actually happens and is successful. That happened with our ‘UNE meets U3A’. What is so pleasing is that UNE immediately wanted to talk about the next venture and it was also noticed that some of their people, especially the presenters, were so enthusiastic at the response to their work.  Keep March 20, 2013 free for the next ‘UNE meets U3A’.

Just after the UNE event there was the Network Conference at Port Macquarie. Several of our members attended and their visit raised some issues for us during the year. Next year the Conference is in Goulburn.

One issue from the Conference that was followed up related to the Regional Groups that the Network has set up in NSW. We are in a very large, dispersed group of U3As west of the sandstone barrier. We have wondered what this grouping means and how it may work. So we invited the 5 U3As in the north of our region to come and have a day together. So on Saturday September 22 we met with Boggabri (called Namoi) and Moree and had an enjoyable day of learning about these other U3As and sharing ideas. We do not want lots of meetings and paper work. We have established really good relations with two other U3As (about which we knew nothing on Saturday morning last). We hope the relationship develops. We hope the Network recognises our work together.

There is an issue that is very significant for us, particularly because of our age. It is the issue of travel. It was raised very courageously by one of our members at a Launch Day earlier this year.  Let me assure you our Management Committee is very aware of the problem and in fact has had to make changes in the meeting place for our meetings because of problems for some members travelling to our current venue. We have asked group leaders to discuss travel problems with members of their groups but that is when choices have been made. To what extent are members limited in their activity choices by transport problems.? We do not know the answer to that question. But we are making some investigations of where some support may be available, hopefully early next year. In the interim, if this is now or will soon be a problem for you, please talk about it with your U3A colleagues. There may be some assistance arranged at an organisational level but we hope, and encourage members, with their U3A colleagues, to perhaps set up some more personal arrangements to help reduce the impact of the travel problem.

Our U3A is a wonderful example of a voluntary organisation. May I take this opportunity of thanking all our members for being part of this voluntary organisation. I would also like to thank all those who have helped in any way to make our U3A a more welcoming and friendly group. Special thanks to those who have held an office and best wishes to those who seek to serve the Tamworth Regional U3A in this forthcoming year in an elected position.

Enjoy the AGM and Program Launch in my absence. I look forward to seeing you at a Term IV activity and the December end of year Luncheon.

Thank you for 2011-12. Best wishes for 2012-2013!

Barrie Brennan