The Conference and AGM this year was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham University from 25th – 27th August.

Whenever I have met any Chairman from other U3As, everyone has said how great these conferences are, so Tim and I decided to attend this year’s conference and find out for ourselves.

We were sent plenty of documents about the Conference and the AGM, including details of the candidates standing for new National Chairman as Barbara Lewis has reached the end of her period of tenure.  Because of the size of our U3A we had 2 votes and as I was our voting delegate, I read everything through very carefully.

There were also 13 Workshops and 12 Discussion groups taking part and we had to sign up for 2 of each.  I chose a discussion group  meeting with other Chairmen and a group discussing the encouragement of future Committee members. The workshops I chose were  “Singing for Health” and the new online Membership System which has been specially written by some very clever U3A members for the Third Age Trust. This will be launched in January next year and is a very promising way forward to make the behind the scenes mechanisms run smoothly and easily.  Tim, as our Webmaster, went to this workshop as well and other computer user discussion groups.

There were 400 delegates and it was fantastic to meet with so many like-minded and enthusiastic people with whom you instantly had something in common.  Every coffee break and mealtime was a marvelous opportunity to chat about our own U3As and to exchange ideas – I’ve brought back lots of ideas for our Committee to discuss!

We both made some very useful contacts, Tim on the computer and website front and I with the West Midlands Regional Trustee and our nearby U3As.  I also chatted to Lin Jonas, Chief Executive Officer of the Third Age Trust, as we sat next to each other at dinner on the first evening and I hope to have some news very soon about having a special speaker from Head Office for our AGM! Watch this Space!

On the third day there was a Keynote Speech from Dr Lewis Dartnell from the Space Research Centre at Leicester University and he gave a talk called: ”The Knowledge: How to Rebuild the World from Scratch”.  I have to tell you, he was amazing! He was in his mid thirties, lively and entertaining!  And really clever!  Some people have it all don’t they! A definite future challenger for Professor Brian Cox!  Take a look at his website: Lewis Dartnell

This was followed by the AGM and it is my pleasure to tell you that our new National Chairman is Pam Jones, whose energy, zeal and passion for the Movement will assist her in guiding the U3A to new achievements.  She promises to be a very present, active and committed chairman.

And so, it all came to an end!  It was three days very well spent.  The food, accommodation and evening entertainment were all really good and would thoroughly recommend anyone to go. It was very tiring, but it was a really uplifting experience.

Elaine Yates
Acting Chairman