U3A THAMES VALLEY NETWORK AGM/Representatives’ Meeting

held at Benson Parish Hall, OX10 6LZ

on Friday 29th April 201


Committee: Mike Price, Chairman (Greater Thame); Susie Berry, Vice-Chairman (Ridgeway); Agnes Budagowska, Treasurer (Swindon); Anne Marie Lord, Secretary (Chinnor & District); Len Smith (Wokingham); Avis Furness (Reading); Patsy Thornton (Wokingham). 


Representatives: John Orchard, Fay Sinai (Abingdon), Geoff and Val Young (Aylesbury Vale), Norman and Esme Dutton (Banbury), Peggy Penfold, Audrey Luff (Bicester), Pam Palmer, Derek Jackson (Bracknell Forest), Geoff Glover,Val Smith (Chalfonts),Tony Biddle (Chess Valley),Tim Layfield, Peter Metcalf (Chiltern), Rosie Hetherington, Dorothy Rogers (Chinnor & District), Shirley Rouse, Anne Hales  (Didcot and District), Peter Foot (Faringdon), Gillian Thomas, Ann Walsh (Goring Gap), Carole Campo, Sandra Matthews (Greater Thame), Sheila Allcock, Anne Partridge (Headington), Jean Myhill, Bill Teasdale, Hilary Warren, Ian Ross (Maidenhead), Brian Humphrey, Mike Davies (Marlow & District), John Taylor (Newbury), Margaret Lipscomb (Oxford), Geraint James (Princes Risborough), Jane Sellwood (Reading), Pat Fewell, Angela Jacob, Annette Thompson (Ridgeway), Colin O’Rourke (South Bucks), Glenys Bettley (Swindon), Peggy Miles, Derek Randall (Thame & District), Mike Morphy, Jill Procter (Wallingford), George Goldsmith, Liz Woolley (Wantage and Grove), Margaret Sherrington (West Oxford), John Wiggins (Windsor), Jane Clarke (Witney), Colin Mitchell (Wokingham), Sue Hooker, Pam Rook (Woodstock). Ian Clarkson


The AGM was preceded by a presentation by Ian Clarkson about the TVN Historic Pathways Project Website he has set up. https://u3atvnhp.wordpress.com   or  “Google” u3atvnhp     Len will also create a link from the TVN website.

The site has two functions : (i) as a record of all that the project achieved, (ii) as a resource for use of members in the future.

It contains walks notes and relevant maps plus information from the project. The maps are published under licence from Ordnance Survey. This will be in place for a year paid for by TVN.

Ian envisages that the site is a work in progress as he would like U3As and members to send additional material (photographs, reports), amendments and new material for inclusion. ian.clarkson@gmail.com preferably with text and photographs sent separately.


1. Welcome and Apologies:

The Chairman welcomed all present.

Apologies had been received from: Gill Le Du (Henley), Pam Jones, (Chairman Third Age Trust), Hilvary Robinson (Regional Rep),Theresa Doherty (Bracknell Forest), Ian and Josephine Wright (Carterton), Eric Magson (Chess Valley), Dorrie Oliver (Chinnor & District), Ali Jinman (Greater Thame), Brian Baldwin (Milton Keynes), David Tippins (South Bucks), Neil Kelly (Thameside,Wallingford), Christina Mungovan (Tring), Margaret Edmondson (Wallingford), Pauline Martin (W Oxford), Pam Hares (Wokingham), Lesley Summers (Woodstock)


2. Minutes of the AGM of 1st May 2015 :

The Reps recorded on these minutes had been amended as advised.

 Approval of the Minutes was proposed by Peter Metcalf (Chiltern), seconded by Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale) and agreed unanimously. They were duly signed by the Chairman.


3.  Matters Arising:    

There were no matters arising.


4. Chairman’s Report:

4.1 Mike thanked the Committee for all their support while he has been chairman and said he would be supporting the next chairman with circulation of documents for Study days to past attendees held on a distribution list. At present he is having difficulty sending bulk e-mails. He welcomed all the Representatives and thanked them for coming. Mike also thanked those who had helped set up the hall for the meeting today, set up the lunches, served the refreshments or helped in the background.

Mike said he was pleased that the Network was continuing to grow and that the Events/Study days were so successful. He stressed that the Network enables things to happen which may not be possible for a U3A working alone. The success of the TVN is due to the work everyone does.

4.2 Discussion followed re the role of Networks. Proposals from the Regional Trustee and elsewhere suggest that Networks could have a greater role in how the Third Age Trust works. The Third Age Trust is the umbrella body regarding insurance and set up of new U3As but individual U3As are responsible for themselves, Networks do not exist to provide another layer in the organisation. They share ideas rather than becoming involved with liaising between U3As and the NEC.

4.3 Payments to speakers: Charity Commissioners say that as all U3As are part of the Third Age Trust and no members should be paid if speaking at any U3A. Potentially this could prevent/deter people from joining U3A. This issue has been referred back to the Charity Commission.

4.4 Constitution: Currently no U3A is required to make any change to its Constitution. However, if a U3A wishes to change its constitution, this must be sent to the Charity Commission. U3As are advised to discuss changes with the Third Age Trust but it is down to U3As to decide how they are run. It is recommended that the Model Constitution is adopted to begin with.

4.5 There are likely to be changes within the Third Age Trust. Lin Jonas retires after the Conference. At present Lin answers all queries but this is likely to change with several people being available as contacts each with particular areas of expertise.

4.6 As the Chairman is elected annually Pam Jones is seeking re-election. TVN U3As are encouraged to vote for Pam. It is felt that this annual election is not helpful in regard to this position, TVN can discuss and look at ways forward but only individual U3As can put forward a resolution to Conference.

4.7  A number of information flyers and brochures were available for Aylesbury Theatre re Theatre groups and Windsor U3A  (Gilbert and Sullivan).


5.  Treasurer’s Report:  

5.1 Agnes Budagovska circulated copies of the TVN Account Summary for the period 1st January 2015 to 15th December 2015 plus a list of the study days.

Some of the study days had been repeated due to the high level of interest, Culham had been over-subscribed while some events showed a deficit due to the venue reducing the numbers accepted at the event.

No affiliation fee will be levied this year.

The TVN account summary for March 2016 was also presented showing income of £1830.50 for new study days.

Monies in hand £2985.50 and cash available £6992.47

Derek Randall had checked the ledger and deemed it correct.

Agnes has the Monthly accounts available for inspection.

Asked why the annual accounts were to 15th Dec. and not 31st Dec. Agnes said there was no change in the accounts between those dates.

Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale) proposed that the Treasurer’s Report and Accounts be accepted; Fay Sinai (Abingdon) seconded this proposal, which was agreed unanimously.

5.2 Agnes made a request that all cheques paid out be cashed within the six month period allowed. The TVN Committee had agreed that if cheques are out of date the money will be treated as a donation to TVN.


6. Elections of committee members:

A new Chairman needs to be elected. Susie Berry is prepared to take up this role. With no other candidates coming forward Geoff Young (Aylesbury Vale) proposed Susie be elected as Chairman, seconded by Margaret Sherrington (West Oxford) and carried unanimously.

Avis Furness has agreed to stand as Vice-chairman and is prepared to be Chairman when the time comes. 

Fay Sinai (Abingdon) proposed that Avis be elected as Vice-chairman, seconded by Val Young (Aylesbury Vale) and carried unanimously.

Derek Randall has indicated that he is prepared to join the Committee. Mike Price proposed that Derek be elected as a committee member, seconded by Sandra Matthews (Greater Thame) and agreed unanimously.

All other committee members continue in post.


7. Resolutions:

None received


8. AOB: i) a report from Hilvary Robinson (Regional trustee) was read by Susie. She apologised for not being at the meeting and thanked Mike for all he had brought to the TVN as Chairman and offered congratulations as our TVN is referred to as a model network. Currently interviews are taking place to find and appoint a new CEO of the Third Age Trust.

Mike responded by saying that the Network is all about sharing experiences and moving forward.


The AGM closed at 11.30 a.m.




Chairman………………….     Date ……………………..                                                        05/05/16



U3A THAMES VALLEY NETWORK Representatives’ Meeting held at Benson Parish Hall, OX10 6LZ on Friday 29th April 2016

For those present and for apologies please refer to the Minutes of the AGM held prior to this meeting

By prior agreement Mike chaired this meeting

1 Network Activities

1.1 Events Team Report

Patsy Thornton reported as leader of the Events Team. She said she was very grateful to the enthusiastic people who organise and lead events for the TVN.

The quality of the events and the diligence of Reps in disseminating news of them has led to many being filled rapidly.

Patsy had put out questionnaires on the tables for Reps and members of their U3As to complete so that she will have a greater understanding of the subjects people might be interested in for events.

1.2 Programme for 2016/2017

Staying Connected – an excellent day, Margaret Sherrington has handed out information bags before this meeting. West Oxford U3A now has a link on its website about how to put on a similar day. They have already had responses from U3As in York and more locally.

Kelmscott  Gill Le Du was unable to be at this event but was highly praised for the superb organisation. A second visit is due in August and is already fully subscribed, Gill will arrange a third in 2017.

Civil War Revisited on Wednesday, May 11th at the River and Rowing museum, Henley. Fully booked with 100 delegates and waiting list of 20. The museum has up-dated and improved facilities and organisation.

Wildlife Day on Saturday, 11th June at Maidenhead. Information has been sent to Reps and also to previous attendees of Events.

History of Railways Day on Tuesday, 21st June at Swindon Steam Museum. Glenys Bettley reported that this event was almost full, a few more people can be accommodated but they would not be able to take part in the guided tours.

Learning Languages in Later Life on Friday, 15th July at Benson. Susie reported that this day would be led by Heather Westrupp the National adviser. Details would be out shortly.

Children’s Literature Day on Saturday, 24th September at Oxford University Press. Fay Sinai reported that the editor of the Oxford Companion for Children’s Literature would be speaking, lunch would be available, parking was good and a flyer would be out shortly.

Wine Tasting Day on Wednesday, 5th October at Benson. Applications are now out and copies available for reps to take for their U3As. Margaret Sherrington would like to hear of anything that members would like to have in the programme for this event. She also needs people to help with this event.

TVN Workshop Day on Friday, 21st October at Benson. This event will focus on groups, it would be useful for groups co-ordinators and is open to people from the SE Region.

Robotics Day on Wednesday, November 23rd at Oxford Brookes University. A joint TVN/ University event which has been set up at the request of the pro-vice chancellor. The university is sponsoring this event, which will be open to 150 Oxford Brookes students and 150 U3A members. The cost per member is estimated at £16 or £17 to include lunch plus teas and coffees.

With limited numbers available each U3A will have the opportunity to book 3 members initially. This will be held for a fortnight after which applications will be dealt with on a first come first served basis regardless of U3A. Flyers/application forms will be sent to Reps, and should be returned to Susie. N.B. one applicant per

1.3 Patsy would like to add to the list of people who are willing to be involved in organising events. Working with a mentor or as part of a team is possible.

1.4 Mike maintains a list of people who have previously attended TVN events. As information re events does not always reach all members this is another way of keeping members informed. Please let Mike know if you do not wish to be on this list. There are about 1000 contacts. In response to a question re this process Mike explained that information is initially sent to all U3As and two weeks later is sent to those who have attended Events in the past.

1.5 Patsy asked for details of any venues suitable for future events.

1.6 Potential research Group.

Colin Mitchell (Wokingham) is a Research Ambassador charged with encouraging U3As to become more involved in research. He is using Wokingham U3A as a pilot but there are other projects elsewhere in the country including  Portsdown which is researching who was involved in the Battle of Jutland. Research for this includes museums etc.

Some U3As have individual members working as researchers in universities. A research showcase is planned which may take place in 2017.

There are two areas of research: primary where the researcher goes to original documents and secondary using work that is already available.


2. Network Information

2.1 Contacts List Mike will up-date this list before passing it over to Susie, please let him have up-dates ASAP. It is suggested that each U3A has more than one contact e.g. Chairman, business secretary plus the TVN Rep. The TVN rep does not need to be a U3A committee member.

2.2 Database of Speakers.

Avis thanked everyone for any feedback and said that an updated Speakers List will be sent out shortly.

She had experienced the loss of some information through a problem with her e-mail but hoped it had all been retrieved. Please continue to send comments e.g. on fees etc.

Faringdon U3A commented that they were particularly grateful for the Speakers List.

Other comments were made regarding speakers and Avis repeated that the policy on maintaining was to remove a speaker if two U3As commented adversely. It is, however, the responsibility of the Speaker secretary to research the speaker e.g. asking which other U3As he/she has spoken to and checking with those U3As on suitability.

Some speakers contact individual U3As. Please let Avis know if they have been suitable and she can make contact and add them to her list.

Avis is also up-dating the Interest Groups list.

2.3 Network Website

Len has now archived the Historic Pathways Project and the Committees Workshop day along with the Riverside Project.

He needs items of interest to put on the home page and will have a link to Ian Clarkson’s site. Please let Len know about anything that could go on the website.  www.u3atvnetwork.org.uk

There were 338 hits in March and 306 to date in April. Len has changed the format showing the historical usage of the website.

Len was thanked for maintaining the website for the TVN.  


3. Regional Trustee’s Report

Sending her apologies Hilvary wrote that there was little to report. She is still seeking a Regional Volunteer for Oxfordshire, training is available and the role includes speaking to committees or members regarding problems and covering the start-up of new U3As.


4. AOB

i) Network Chairmen are encouraged to go to the National Conference as it is a valuable experience; payment for the TVN Chairman could be made from TVN funds as many U3As sponsor a rep to attend. This could be discussed at a further meeting but needs to be brought to the meeting by someone other than the chairman. However, Network chairmen do not have a vote at Conference, only individual U3As have a vote.

Several of the TVN U3As are sending a representative. U3As who are not were encouraged to use their proxy vote.

Windsor U3A recommends Conference as it is a good opportunity to network with other U3As and delegates come back with greater enthusiasm for U3A. They sponsor up to 2 people.

Conference dates 23rd-25th August at Nottingham University. Information is due mid-May re programme, workshops and discussion groups.

Interest can be registered on the Third Age Trust website.

ii) Goring Gap asked for comments on the Memory Course.(N.B.  a presentation was made by Maidenhead U3A on running the course at the Reps’ Meeting following the AGM on 10th May 2013. Notes were included in the Minutes. AML Mins Sec.)

In response Maidenhead and Windsor said they had run the course. Swindon and Greater Thame are considering it.

Chiltern advised that the books provided for the course are copyright and the course needs to be followed exactly as specified otherwise it cannot be done in the name of U3A. Feedback to the TVN will be welcomed.

iii) Reps were asked whether anyone was using the Beacon Project. At the SE Forum (attended by Susie) it was reported that the Third Age Trust have set up a working group to look into the project. The downside is that it has been developed primarily by one person and the Trust needs to be reassured that it is sufficiently well backed-up so that it can provide proper support. The “users forum” has reports of numerous problems and due to outstanding issues it is not coping with accepting more U3As. A support group exists in Devon and a similar support group will be set up in the SE Region in the next couple of weeks.

In principle the objectives look excellent.

iv) Flyers for the Chiltern U3A JazzFest were available.

v) A request was made for a roving mike for these meetings. This will be followed up.


Finally Tony Biddle of Chess Valley thanked Mike on behalf of the reps for being a super Chairman.   Susie also thanked Mike and presented him with a “thank you” present on behalf of the Committee.   


The meeting closed at 1pm.


Date of next Meeting - Thursday 28th July at the Benson Parish Hall, Benson OX10 6LZ 10am for 10.30am

N.B.  Please ensure that you book lunch in advance.  See Agenda when issued




Chairman………………….                   Date ……………………..                                         05/05/2016