U3A Thames Valley Network AGM

held at Chinnor Village Hall on Friday 6th May 2011 at 10.30am.


Present:  Pam Jones - Chairman (Witney), Agnes Budagowska (Swindon), Colin Mitchell (South East Region), June Morris (Abingdon), Mike Price (Greater Thame), Len Smith (Wokingham), Ann Mary Ware (Marlow & District), Anne Marie Lord (Chinnor & District), Pauline Nuttall (Abingdon), Anne Gould (Abingdon), Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale), Peggy Penfold (Bicester), Christine Cox (Bicester), George Hunter (Chinnor & District), Molly Milner (Chinnor & District), Felicity Goodfellow (Chinnor & District), Keith Rogers (Chinnor & District), Dorothy Rogers (Chinnor & District), Pam Clark(Chinnor & District), Diane Carver (Chinnor & District), Rosie Hetherington (Chinnor & District), Ian Clarkson (Faringdon), Frank Metcalf (Greater Thame), Kevin Nash (Haddenham), Ruth Waddle (Headington), Nadia Ellis (High Wycombe), Barbel Cheesewright (High Wycombe/Marlow), Vic Ware (Marlow), Wendy Griffiths (Princes Risborough), Jane Sellwood (Reading), Susie Berry(Ridgeway), Pat Fewell (Ridgeway), Jacky Wagstaff (Ridgeway), Jeannie Dickie (Swindon), Rita Fidler (Thame & District), Derek Randall (Thame & District), Mark Phillin (Thameside, Wallingford), Rosemary Spivey (West Oxford), Patsy Thornton (Wokingham).


1.0 Apologies: Shirley Stokes (Aylesbury Vale), Tony Fulford (Bracknell Forest), Martin McBride (Carterton), David Vincent (Goring), Clive Dray (Newbury), Mary Blake (Newbury), Avis Furness (Reading), Margaret Edmondson (Wallingford).


2.0 Minutes of  AGM 2010 and Reps Meeting 28th Jan. 2011

2.1         The Minutes for the AGM of 29/04/10 were approved and signed. There were no matters arising.

2.2         The Minutes for the Reps meeting of 28/01/11 were approved and signed.

2.3 Matters Arising 4.0 Funding - funding for the Conference is currently being addressed.  


3.0 Network Committee Reports

3.1 Chairman (summary)

              High Wycombe joined the Network in 2010; Mid-Bucks, Weston Turville and Aston Clinton have also been contacted and a positive response received from Mid-Bucks. Pam has taken the PowerPoint presentation to several U3As and believes it raises awareness of Network activities among members.

              Ann Mary and the Events Team were thanked for arranging study days on Music, Architecture and Historic towns during the past year. They have worked particularly hard on costings which are affected by member take-up, and are beginning to achieve a good balance.

              Members were thanked for supporting these events especially given the travel involved.

              The 2010 Conference organised by Wokingham was inspiring and we look forward to this year’s conference hosted by Swindon U3A on 4th June.

              The Riverside Project Team were thanked for all they have done and are doing arranging a variety of activities and working towards the Study School at Wellington College in October. Patsy Thornton was especially thanked for her initiative in introducing the idea. She was also             congratulated as she produced a Certificate of Achievement awarded to the U3A Thames Valley Riverside Project by the NIACE Adult Learners’ Week committee. The Project had been nominated by Barry Byrne (Wokingham).

              Colin Mitchell has worked hard over the past 3 years to maintain links with the National office and executives. He has agreed to be co-opted onto the committee when he retires as Trustee in September.

              The Committee with their various skills were thanked for their support. Thanks were also extended to all representatives for their continued support enabling the Network to become well-established so that we can look forward to what the next year brings.


3.2 Treasurer’s Report - Presentation of Accounts

              Copies of a summary of TVN Accounts as at 30/04/11 was circulated. It was noted that the financial situation remains strong with future commitments standing at £500. Pam explained that as Martin McBride was unable to attend the meeting she was not able to discuss the accounts in detail.

              The accounts were approved by those present.


4.0 Election of Committee

              Brand Sharpe has resigned from the committee; no communication has been received from Peter Jarvis; Susie Berry (Ridgeway) has agreed to join the committee and all others remain as before. There is one vacancy.

              Pam Jones nominated the committee, this was proposed by George Hunter (Chinnor) and seconded by Patsy Thornton (Wokingham). It was carried unanimously.

              Committee 2011/12: Chairman- Pam Jones (Witney), Vice Chairman - Mike Price (Greater Thame), Treasurer - Martin McBride (Carterton), Events Team - Ann Mary Ware (Marlow & District), Agnes Budagowska (Swindon), Peter Jarvis (Thatcham), June Morris (Abingdon), Len Smith (Wokingham), Susie Berry (Ridgeway).


5.0 Regional and National matters.

5.1 Regional

i              As Trustee Colin Mitchell reported that there are approximately 157 U3As in the Region with 3 embryo U3As on the S coast. This is the fastest growing Region in the country.

ii             Colin will be attending his last AGM as Regional Trustee this year and is aware of 2 candidates for this post: Stella Porter (Arun U3A) and Pam Jones (Witney U3A). An election will be therefore be held and he outlined the procedure for this. Nomination papers will be dispatched from the National Office to U3A secretaries within the Region. Nominations must be proposed by the Nominee’s U3A and seconded by a different U3A, the candidate writes a personal message. This information is sent to all U3A secretaries in the SE Region with a postal voting form. The number of votes allocated to each U3A is proportional to its membership size. The result is announced at the National AGM in September.

iii            Along with the nomination papers Colin stressed that there will be a proposal put forward by   Fetcham U3A that Networks and similar groupings of U3As should receive more recognition. It was felt that this would be a huge step forward as currently Networks receive no information/mailings from the Third Age Trust and it may result in advantages re funding. Colin did not think that rules and regulations will be applied to Networks etc if the proposal is accepted. representatives were asked to consider this proposal and use their postal vote if their U3A was not sending a Delegate to the AGM

iv            Colin stated that there are rumours of another proposal from another Region aiming to involve all members of every U3A in consultations rather than each U3A. It was felt that this would impose a huge burden on the National Office.

v             The SE Region has the following Networks: Kent Network (includes all U3As within the County boundaries and assumes every U3A is a member), Sussex Network (combines E and W Sussex using County boundaries), Surrey (2/3rds of Surrey), NE Hants & SW Surrey (not clear if                           this is a Network or a group of Chairmen), New Forest (this is new and has 10 U3As),                                                      Waterlooville, Southampton and there may be one in S Hants. Some do not identify themselves to                                      Colin, all are organised differently and some have constitutions.

5.2 National

i              The Trustees are a very active group who have been dealing with the perceived top down management approach. He has drafted a report to be sent to all the Regional U3As.

ii             Money is now becoming available to Regions, initially it was rigid in its application eg it could be used for a Regional Conference. Some Networks have bid for and used the money to fund their Conferences. This has been more problematical for the Thames Valley Network as not all U3As are included in this Network. Hampshire does not want to be involved.

              Greater flexibility is appearing and the Network Conference at Swindon can be part funded if it is open to all U3As in the Thames Valley. Swindon has already invited the other U3As and one has responded positively to date.

              There is the possibility that Network reps meetings can be funded.

iii            In response a question regarding the size of the Region Colin said that he has bid for and received money to  be used for travelling expenses for an assistant to the Trustee. Currently there is a proposal that every Trustee should have an assistant and that the assistant could attend NEC             meetings if the Trustee is unavailable. the rest of the country does not want a change to the Regions and, in any case, this would lead to a change in the Constitution requiring 75% agreement which would not be achieved.

iv            Some U3As are querying the capitation fee paid to the National office, the perception is that it is excessive and the question posed is “What do we get for this?”

v             In conclusion Colin said that National and Regional matters cannot be ignored.


6.0 Network Activities.

6.1  Events Team Report/Programme for 2011

i              The Events Team is a supportive group.

              the Global Economy study day was cancelled due to lack of support. It is recognised that some interest days have been of more interest to minorities, as they have been less well supported. It is proposed that they will now be offered every other year.

ii             The Historic Towns day was an excellent day with 113 people attending. History, music and art appear to be the most successful study days.

iii            The Officers Training day on 13th May will have Lin Jonas and Mike Long attending. The National Office is concerned that some U3As are not complying with Charity law, Lin Jonas is very knowledgeable and helpful. All U3As should be receiving the publication “Charity News”. Mike       Long will be speaking on the future of U3As. To date 10 U3As are not attending, Pam would like more delegates for this day. Pam has arranged for delegates to use the multi-storey car park in Witney and has car stickers for this.

 iv           The Network conference in Swindon has 54 delegates to date. The Chairman of Chipping Norton U3A will be attending and other U3As recently invited would have come had they known earlier.

              The venue, speakers and workshops are all arranged. Barbara Lewis is the keynote speaker and will   be speaking on the interaction of U3A with other bodies. In the afternoon a local speaker will describe how Local Authorities and others view U3A. If Colin is successful in his bid for a grant for the conference a rebate will be given to Delegates later.

v             Ian has amended his tournament brief for Bridge (at Faringdon) it is aimed at people who play bridge within all the Network U3As.It is not aimed at those who play regularly outside their U3A and are therefore very experienced. Three U3As have responded, they can send more than one team. The cost is £10 including lunch, wine and coffee. Another flyer is to be sent out indicating that the day will be structured for beginners and others but not experts. Ian wants to include as many U3As as possible. 15 tables are needed (6 are booked so far), and a decision will be made at the end of   May as to whether it takes place.

vi            It was felt that communication can be a problem in encouraging delegates to Network Conferences. Half-term can also be a problem but this is when many schools (being the larger venues) are available. It was agreed to go ahead with the Conference in 2012 in Abingdon at the John Mason     School on 16th June.

vii           The Arts and Crafts day planned for 22/08/11 is an ambitious project and delegates were urged to support it.

viii          It was agreed to postpone the Food Science, Health and Wellbeing event planned for September as so much else is taking place. It will be put in the programme next year.

ix            The Opera study day on 15th November at Rewley House will be advertised shortly.

x             Ann Mary finds electronic advertising for events very helpful and Len has included a calendar on the website so that anyone planning an event can ensure that dates do not clash.

6.2 Riverside Project update/Wellington College Study School

i              Patsy reported that there is an exciting programme of events throughout the summer, all details are on the website where there is a Thames Valley Network Riverside blog and calendar table.

ii             The Dorchester day organised by Ridgeway U3A was brilliant and Wallingford has organised a day on 8th June. 80 people booked already. There is an activities day in Reading on July 11th.

iii            Chess valley U3A have organised a Traditional Boats day at Beale Park on Monday 13th June.

iv            There will be a planning day on Friday 8th July.

v             Patsy expressed her thanks to Ian and Pam Palmer for co-ordinating many walks planned for the summer.

vi            CHATT (Chinnor, Haddenham, Thame & District and Greater Thame) is studying the river Thame and will bring a short presentation to the Wellington College Study School.

vii           The U3A News has requested an article on the Riverside project.

6.3 Programme for 2012

              This is on the website.


7.0 Network Information

7.1 Contacts List Pam requested any changes be given to her ASAP as the list is sent out following this meeting.

7.2 Database of Speakers This is completed

7.3 Network Website  All affiliated U3As are included. There is a calendar for TVN, the agenda tab gives a listing of events. The index for the Riverside project is the calendar table.                                             


8.0 AOB

8.1         Rita Fidler offered some copies of the booklet “Silver Threads” produced last year by Thame & District to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. The cost is £4.

8.2         Ann Mary said that there will be 5 study days in 2012.

8.3         There was some discussion around whether a Network Conference is needed given that some Study   days and the Network reps meetings address many of the issues that form the focus for Conferences.however, it was stated that study days focus on only one subject but a Conference has a greater mix. It was suggested that Conference could be combined with the AGM. Abingdon and Pam will discuss this. Note that these are ideas to explore further.

8.4         There was a short discussion on benefits of full and associate membership but issues such as this would be best discussed at Reps meetings.

8.5         There is a Swan Upping day on 22nd July in Abingdon where this tradition concludes for this year.It links in with Network Riverside Project “Adopt a Lock” and Patsy would like to have a U3A rep at each lock during this event. Abingdon is arranging a “walk into history” on 22nd July.

8.6         Windsor has “A walk into history” on 5th July led by a Blue Badge guide. Book by 20th May.

Pam thanked everyone for attending before agreeing the next Reps meeting:


Date/Venue for next meeting: Wednesday 31st August at Watlington. (Ridgeway U3A) 10am for 10.30am