NE VicRegional Meeting Minutes March 2015

MINUTES of Regional Meeting held Monday 2nd March 2015 at The Centre, Benalla at 10.00 a.m.
hosted by Pat Coffey, U3A Seymour.
Seymour – Pat Coffey, Marg Cox, Trish Archer, Heather Baetge
Denilquin – Alison Wilson, Anne Apedaile
Nathalia – Robyn Fairman, Kath Bramwell
Wangaratta – Vivienne Edwardes, Elaine Jacobsen
Kilmore - Joan Evans, Paul Brinsden
Benalla - Terry Case, Lorraine Knox, Geraldine McCorkell, Bev Lee
Euroa – Judi Hanlon
GV – Greg Barnes, Jan Maude, Carole Trotter, John Hammond
Network – Harry Dobson, Anne Thompson.
Bright, Mansfield, Cobram, Yea.
Chair Pat Coffey (U3A Seymour) welcomed everyone and thanked Lorraine Knox for organising lunch
and venue.
The Minutes of the previous meeting 20th March 2014 were read and passed by Judi Hanlon
(Euroa). Seconded: Lorraine Knox (Benalla)
Harry Dobson (Network) passed around an updated list of Regional executive committees.
Business arising:
 Reciprocal rights.
Seymour don’t charge reciprocal rights. They feel paid up members are part of the U3A
network and all members are covered by the same Insurance as a participating U3A
member, whose name is on a U3A members list. Therefore the visiting person doesn’t pay
as they are an affiliate member of a U3A group.
 Associate member
Some regions have a $10 associate member fee. Wangaratta U3A charges
$10 to associate members.
Benalla: 215 paid up members. We had 2 enrolment days a week apart. This proved successful.
New people are now beginning to take an interest in U3A as a means of meeting other people.
Accommodation is insecure.
A flexible learning Centre has started in Benalla and U3A hope to integrate with the students in the
2nd semester with a joint grant for ipads. A small group are working on a new website that will be
more user friendly.
Convenors/Tutors – it is difficult to convince members they don’t have to be a teacher to convene a
Network – Harry Dobson commented that some metropolitan U3A groups have done a deal with
local Bowls Clubs for a low cost rental, thus benefiting both groups, as many newly retired people
are looking for activity based courses e.g. bowls, croquet etc.
Harry also commented that short Courses are proving popular.
Seymour: 173 members. Accommodation is good and courses going well.
A sub committee designed a Survey to give specific feedback. 170 were sent out, so far 70 have
been returned. Part of the survey was a `Suggestions’ Box for possible future activities.
A popular activity at Seymour is Geocaching . Cache’s are registered on a website.
Deniliquin: 75 members charge $30 membership. Introduced new courses this year. A popular
course is Play reading. For an annual fee of $75 to the Victorian Drama League in Melbourne 8 or 9
books in a set are sent. Participants usually 6-8 in a group pay $2 per session. 2 members are going
to Network Conference in Mittagong. Small groups Network are paying for 2 people to attend. U3A
receive no help from Deniliquin Council. Deniliquin U3A put on a Short Film Festival on the
Friday of Seniors Week. The local Council are now putting on the same in the evening for next year.
Nathalia: 75 members. Focussing on Anzac Commemoration making clay poppies in conjunction
with the local schools. Workshops are run with students from St. Mary’s. 42 local people died in the
War. Their names are attached to individual poppies. There is a $25 charge to families with the
profit going to the RSL. So far 80 have been made, this activity involves community/school/RSL. The
Film group is concentrating on Anzac films. The travel group is going to South Africa, with further
trips planned. A popular activity is `Tag-a-long’ taking your own car/caravan/tent. Next outing is to
the High Country. Short Courses are proving more interesting. A craft group is held at the local
hostel working with the community on projects.
They have good support from the Shire/community. U3A give $5 out of their $30 membership to
have use of the Seniors building.
Euroa: 50 + members running 12 activities/courses. $10 membership fee. They have use of the
local Education Centre rooms for a gold coin donation. A recent discussion with the Youth group
co-ordinator for use of a spare room enabling interaction with young people was successful. A tutor
for an ipad course is paid for his service. They have applied for $1000 funding through Council to put
out a publication by May. Competition comes from Probus and the Senior Citizens who call
themselves the Third Age Club.
Wangaratta: 80 members. They have a transitional membership. A couple of younger people are
attending sessions, mainly the French tutoring.
Some older members feel threatened.
There are no legal requirements on `age’. With a Grant from Council they were able to install a
microphone system. They are currently running a 10 week course on WW1 with members of the RSL
and Historical Society who have expertise in this area.
Kilmore: 202members, $30 a single, $50 couple. 28 courses, 5 new introduced this year. They have
good accommodation which they have to pay for. U3A invited a Council representative to a meeting
to see what happens at U3A. A Memorandum of Understanding with Council to pay half price
(School prices)for the use of their rooms. They have had a breakthrough with the Seniors with the
new President inviting some U3A members to their Christmas lunch. They received a Grant from
Mitchell Council for a `Listening’ system where the presenter wears a microphone and listeners wear
a clip on device. This system comes with 5 clip on sets at a cost of $5000. Co-ordinators meet twice
a year. An Indoor Bowls competition is held with the Seniors. They have use of the Mechanics
Institute with a storage area to store the mats etc. The Theatre group inform Vic rail when they
have a large group travelling by train. Kilmore have a direct debit system of banking, and an
appointed Support Officer to take members to hospital/appointments. The local Race club offer
free access for some Courses with free tea and coffee. Kilmore also google Great Courses, this site
has 70% off sale every month.
Goulburn Valley:
360 members with $50 membership fee offering 37 courses.
A new lease has been signed with Council. They have a U3A member on the Council for Ageing.
The committee has adopted the Guidelines from the Network with some changes. They have an
updated sound system with a projection system etc., this cost $5000 to update, the installation of
fans proved popular. The website is up and running with 100 visits a week. They have an annual trip
each year, a cruise for 2015 is planned. GV has also done a survey on the use of Courses which
proved interesting. The local Bridge Club became members of U3A and therefore use the facility.
An incident where a GV member collapsed began a discussion on information of how to deal with
this situation. Subjects such an updated information, privacy laws, medical alert discussed.. There
was conflicting advice from the Network re defibulators.
Network: The Network Education Committee is looking at a `Tutor’s’ bank with the idea of
approaching co-ordinators individually to travel to other U3A’s.
The question was asked if groups pay expenses. Comments were – Kilmore are discussing repaying
expenses to the Secretary etc.; Seymour have a policy that a volunteer should not be out of pocket.
The Secretary at Benalla receives $500 per year for office expenses and convenors receive $10 per
Harry Dobson (Network) spoke on the following:
1. Funding/reimbursement. Talking up the needs of country regions to be supported.
Acknowledgment that each of the 12 regions receive $1000 per region.
Guidelines are needed for expenditure for the NE Group – lunch cost for meeting etc. The
Group needs to decide how to spend this money e.g Regional workshops.
2. The Network is looking at a trial of a standardised online membership system. It has started
in Mornington, the Network is conscious of the need in Regions, how can committees get
help? Whittlesea with a membership of 500 have all enrolments paid online. It may take
U3A’s with a larger membership to make it work. There needs to be a parallel system for
people without computers.
The North East has 2,000 members at present. Arguably technology could be regional,
working under one licence for this new system. Still needs work.
3. Strategic Planning Day
Purpose to engage 12 Regions in operations.
Development of a Regional
Development/support committee with 1 representative from each region with the proposal
to help cross regional development lobbying the network etc. this would lead to better
regional support and representation. One representative from this committee would be on
the Executive network with the Regions as the focus of responsibility.
4. Needs for sight/hearing impaired.
Talks are being held with Vision Australia re the possibility of using a system of telephone
activity. The Network are keen to pilot/explore a telephone connection system using dial
up. It is a way of using U3A telelink connecting to people who were members or members
who are unable to physically attend courses. Ideas include a series of lectures which would
be similar to School of the Air. Course material would be complimented by radio. This
initiative is in the pilot stage in Vision Australia headquarters. They need regions to contact
people for a road testing idea, volunteers are needed. The question of phone charges was
raised, this would need to be free. Vision Australia has a contract with a telecommunication
group. Perhaps we will have `U3A of the Air’!
5. Digital Literacy Workshop. Harry tabled a Pre Workshop Task sheet for Workshop.
There is a push at a Strategic level to overcome the digital divide.
The Network needs to know how to support groups in this way. Each region needs to
benchmark how technology is being used across the Region and in classes.
How can Digital Technology enhance a Course? Where and how you embed Technology in a
Course. The question is how U3A’s can capture and build on experience.
We need to showcase 4/5 practitioners using technology i.e. Elmo and linking to the
Internet and then discuss how to use this to benefit. What are Computer Courses doing
other than the basic Word and Excel. This Region’s workshop will give us an identity.
A NE region committee to be formed. The task of this committee will be to form a sub
committee for the Regional workshop.
Goulburn Valley will host this day for coordinators/tutors.
The Network Education Committee suggest a program i.e.
- Identifying Digital Learning
- Identifying problems
- Identifying benefits
- Trying to get different varieties of learning digital literacy
Representatives volunteered from Euroa (Judy), Lorraine (Benalla), Deniliquin and Nathalia.
The meeting date will be negotiated for September.
Jim Nichterlein Southern Regional Rep South Western/Monaro Region on NSW U3A Network spoke
on this initiative. It is a joint proposal between Southern NSW and Northern Victorian U3A’s for a
one or two day course development workshop. The Workshop would bring together all the U3As in
the region to encourage a mutually supportive relationship in which the larger U3As offer program
support to smaller U3As.
Points raised were:
NSW have little support from local councils,
No Grants from State Government
NSW U3As have to be self supporting.
small U3As always looking for content
build on idea of support for smaller U3As
Unless ownership taken by U3A it will not work
1 event in Hume region
will this fill a gap that hasn’t been filled before?
- Opportunity to provide a show case for U3As in Region.
- Press/TV and radio coverage
- Use specialist speakers
- Film the event and make a DVD, something concrete to come out of it.
- There is a failure to develop online courses, this DVD could help.
- Grow into a lobby group for U3A.
- Look at distance issue
- Costs of delivering this `Muster’
- No support from NSW Government
- Look for a sponsor i.e. Bank/philanthropic organisation
Program Content:
- Key speakers on stream/strand
- Strategic problem solving
- Has to be fun, good food, Interesting.
Summing up:
Judi Hanlon (Euroa) moved a supportive motion to further investigate and proceed with discussion
with the prospect of having a Murray Muster in 2016. Seconded Robyn Fairman (Nathalia).
Regional luncheon: Kilmore U3A offered to host the next luncheon on Wednesday 29th July. This is
subject to confirmation.
Next Regional Meeting will be hosted by Euroa U3A.