Representatives’ Meeting held at the Sports Pavilion, Watlington

Thursday 30th September 2010 at 10.30am


Present:  Susie Berry (Ridgeway), Tony Biddle (Chess Valley), John Brandis (Haddenham), Agnes Budagowska (Swindon), Ted Chapman (High Wycombe & District), Pat Davey (Maidenhead), Jeannie Dickie (Swindon), Clive Dray (Newbury), Pat Fewell (Ridgeway), Avis Furness (Reading), Anne Gould (Abingdon), Judith Grieve (High Wycombe & District), Wendy Griffiths (Princes Risborough), Valerie Hammond (South Bucks), Angela Jacob (Ridgeway), Pam Jones (Chairman, Witney), Audrey Maple (Thameside), Martin McBride (Carterton), Frank Metcalf (Greater Thames), Molly Milner (Chinnor & District), Colin Mitchell (South East Region), Jeanette Morgan (Windsor & District), June Morris (Abingdon), Louis Moss (South Bucks), Derek Randall (Thame & District), Valerie Reeve (Wokingham), Brand Sharpe (Wendover), Len Smith (Wokingham), Rosemary Spivey (West Oxford), Doreen Turner (Witney), Jacky Wagstaff (Ridgeway), Ann Mary Ware (Marlow  & District) Vic Ware (Marlow & District), Peter Westby (Chess Valley).


1.0  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:   Aurie Anderson (Ridgeway), Ian Clarkson (Faringdon), Brian Dent (West Oxford), Rita Fidler (Thame & District), Anthony Fulford (Bracknell Forest), George Hunter (Chinnor), Peter Jarvis - Committee (Thatcham), Fred Landeg (Reading), Deidre Mann (Greater Thame), Nancy McLennan (Abingdon), Pam Palmer (Bracknell Forest), Mark Phillips (Thameside), Mike Price (Greater Thame), Jenny Sakamoto (Banbury), Joan Thomas (Banbury), Patsy Thornton (Wokingham), Michael Tucker (Windsor &  District), David Vincent (Goring), Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale).


2.0  MINUTES OF THE MEETING held on 29 April 2010.  Accepted and signed by the Chairman.  There were no matters arising.  Len Smith confirmed that minutes of these meetings are posted on the website.



3.1   Chairman:  Pam Jones welcomed representatives to the meeting and in particular 2 new members from High Wycombe: Judith Grieve and Ted Chapman and introduced Doreen Turner from Witney U3A as Minutes Secretary.

It had been proposed at the last Representatives’ meeting that the accounts should be checked and Louis Moss of South Bucks U3A has agreed to do this.

Pam, with the help of Len Smith, has produced a PowerPoint presentation to inform members of the work of the Network and hopes to visit most U3As whilst Chairman.  The presentation of approximately 10 minutes could be shown at the start of meetings.  Please contact Pam if you would like her to attend.

Wokingham hosted the Network Conference on 2 June with Alex McMinn the keynote speaker.  He was inspiring.  The workshops were excellent as was the catering.  Sadly only 70 people attended.  Next year the conference will be held in New College, Swindon on Saturday 4 June, entitled ‘The Time of Your Life’.  Pam asked representatives to encourage members to attend.  In 2012, Abingdon will host the event.

The Music Study Day at Rewley House in Oxford on 28 June had been most interesting but was let down by poor equipment.  Jeremy Siepmann was the main speaker and is now on the database of speakers.  As a result, Rewley House will not charge for the next Study Day in November.

On 15 September Mike Price organized a memorable day on ‘The History of Oxford University’ at Merton College and 25 people attended.  Two excellent speakers detailed the history of the university up to the 18th Century.  Mike and Carol Price were thanked for their faultless planning and organisation.


The Mayor of Henley opened The Riverside Project event in Henley on 18 August and 100 people had attended this very successful day.  A second planning meeting was held on 18 September and the pattern of the Study School at Wellington College in 2011 will soon take shape.

Pam asked representatives to encourage members’ interest in the Project.  One of the speakers, the Warden of the River Thames Society suggested collating observations of kingfishers on the river.  If anyone is interested, contact Patsy Thornton.

A Study Day on architecture entitled ‘The attraction of Gothic’ will be held on 24 November in Rewley House, Oxford.  There are still places available on this course.  All these and future events are displayed on the website:

A full Events programme  for next year is in the planning stages including a Training Day for Committee members in February; a Study Day on ‘The Global Economy’ in March’; ‘Historic Towns of the Thames Valley’ follow- up on 2 April in High Wycombe; a Bridge tournament in Faringdon in July; an Arts and Crafts day in August,   a Food Science, Health and Well-being day in Benson on 23 September; the Riverside Project Summer School in October and a Study Day entitled ‘Four Opera Masterpieces in November’.   Suggestions for 2012 are welcome.

Pam ended by commending Anthony Burdall for getting the Network moving and hoped she could count on representatives to assist her in keeping the momentum going.


3.2  TREASURER Martin McBride’s report covered the period 1 January 2010 to 30 September 2010 showing a strong position, with a balance at the Bank of £6,025.07.  The total income was £8,287.40 and expenditure £5,705.15.  There is an outstanding invoice for approximately £1000 for the Oxford Study Day.    Under Expenses, ‘other’ refers to items such as printing, production of a CD, flowers, wine for group leaders etc.

Martin was uncomfortable about holding this balance and it had been suggested in Committee that in 2011 a free year be offered  for affiliation to the Network.  It was agreed keep the balance as a reserve in case of an emergency e.g. subsidizing the costs of venues due to rising costs and possible speaker cancellations - there is no insurance to cover such an occurrence.  Abingdon representatives reported difficulty in finding venues at a reasonable cost.



4.1   Matters Arising:  Proposal for a Regional Association: Colin Mitchell is of the opinion that a South East Region Association would be of benefit to the Network.  There are more U3As in the South East than any other region with strong networks and the creation of a SE Region structure would enable better use of support funds.  Note –a supplement outlining the proposal for a regional association is availableThis supplement describes an alternative to the SE Regional Association for consideration by the U3As of the Thames Valley, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and South West Surrey.  Please contact Pam Jones if you require a copy.


Of the £38,850.00 available for regional support, £6,000 has been allocated to the South East which can been used for regional conferences and will also pay for the October regional workshop in Tonbridge.  It has also been used to pay for meeting rooms for the South East Forum sub-regional committee to plan the East Grinstead and Tonbridge conferences.   

In other regions, the budget is prepared by the Trustee in co-operation with the Regional Association but currently, Colin has sole responsibility for the preparation and approval of requests for payment which are then forwarded to the National Treasurer.  There is a need for a Regional Association to share this responsibility.

In co-operation with Colin, a Regional Association could co-ordinate regional conferences; arrange study days; consider the need for a regional newsletter, website etc and help to identify and encourage candidates for Regional Trustee.  Colin will stand down in September 2011.  He suggested one representative per network, with representatives electing their Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.

A constitution would be required which could be based upon that recently adopted by the South East Forum.  Colin suggested that a special delegate conference is required to agree whether to go ahead with the proposal and how it should be structured with possibly 3 delegates per network to meet somewhere central in October or early November.  This would enable a Regional Steering Committee to be in place to prepare the 2001/12 budget which should go to the NEC in December.  The present regional support budget would pay for the hall, travel costs and lunch.  He requested views on this proposal from those present.

The Third Age Trust will pay for the following from regional support funds:  Regional Conferences; Other Regional Meetings; Newsletters; websites; Study Days and Residential Schools; Committee meetings.  A detailed document is available from Colin.

It was suggested the Thames Valley network take the lead and invite Hampshire to a forum.  Colin is to contact U3As in Hampshire and report back.  In order for the South East Region to have a second Trustee, the national constitution would have to be changed.  For this to be achieved, a 75% majority in favour, is required at the AGM.


4.2  NEW U3A’S IN THAMES VALLEY NETWORK:  Some U3As in the Network do have waiting lists.  Some of them get around this problem by  introducing Associate Membership but this would not allow them entry to members’ meetings.



5.1  Events Team:  They now know what works and suggest adequate parking and good caterers are essential to the success of an event.   IT facilities are also desirable.  There are now 14 venues on the database.  The team feels there is a need for additional members to join the group.

5.2  Riverside Project Update:  A slow start but Henley had been a success.  A surplus of £49 had been made at Goring.  There are currently 180 members on the mailing list - more would be welcomed.  It is hoped to produce a journal shortly.  Consult the website U3A Thames Valley Network Riverside Project to see the work still to be done.

5.3  Music Study Day, 28 June 2010.  The day had been interesting but not the success anticipated due to severe technical problems at Rewley House, Oxford.  However, the main speaker Jeremy Siepmann was excellent and is now on the database of speakers.  Payment for the next Study Day in November will be waived.

5.4  Architecture Study Day “The Attraction of Gothic”.  This will be held at Rewley House on 24 November.  So far 50 members have applied but there is room for more.

5.5  Programme for 2011. The third planning meeting will be held on 14 January 2011; a Training Day for committee members in February; The Global Economy March 2011 - TBA; Historic towns of the Thames Valley follow- up 2 April 2011 at John Hampden School, High Wycombe; Arts and Handicrafts – demonstration of skills, August 2011; Food Science, Health and Wellbeing September 2011 in Benson; Four Opera Masterpieces November 2011 at Rewley House, Oxford.

5.6. Arts and Crafts Day at Burchetts Green – Ann Mary asked for help with the display and demonstrations.  ‘Hands-on’ help is required.



6.1  Contacts List.  This is very useful but requires constant updating, which can only be achieved if Pam receives the details of changes and additions.    

6.2  Database of Speakers.  This has proved to be very useful but is now possibly unreliable.  Deidre Mann is prepared to bring it up to date.

6.3  Website.   Three-hundred and eighty-one ‘hits’ have been recorded.  The Riverside Project can be found on the Home page and in the Events calendar table.  There are links to all activities.  Representatives were urged to use the website.



7.1  Planning for the year 2012.  There is a year to plan events and Ann Mary Ware asked for ideas.

7.2  Items for the Agenda of the next meeting.  Pam invited representatives to contact her if they would like an item included.


8.0  DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING:   This will be on Friday 28 January 2011.  Venue to be notified.