iU3A News

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Our Newsletter
Islington U3A produces a newsletter three to four times a year. We let every member know when there is a new one, sending them a link so that they can easily see it online. To see our latest newsletter click
Autumn 2021

Previous Newsletters
All our previous newsletters are archived so you can go back and see what was happening at that time. Click on this register then pick the one you want:
Newsletter Archive

                           RECENT NEWS

Summer Party
              Party 2021We had a very enjoyable gathering as our postponed 'Summer' party on 01 September this year, with nearly 100 members present. This was the first time for ages that many of our members had met physically, so it was much appreciated. The good food and drink might have helped as well. Thanks to Margaret O and all helpers who made this event a great success.

To see more of the photos taken at this event look here.

National u3a Day
In 2021 iU3A participated in this nationwide National u3a
              Dayevent to celebrate the u3a movement and attract new members. We kicked off our activities with an attractive stall in Chapel Market flying the banners of u3a. It was supported by many members giving out literature to the passing public. 15 signed up on the spot and many others took away our literature. On the actual day of 02 June we had a public demo from our Petanque group in Caledonian Park and a day-long online programme of events. The programme, again open to the public, showcased some of our Groups (Current Affairs, Classic Films, Bird Watching) and our Courses (past and future). We rounded off the day with an external entertainer (telling us the tale of a gory murder in Victorian London) and then another of Mary White's popular quizzes.

More of our Groups are returning to physical meetings. The status of each is reflected on the Groups listing page. Some may also move to a 'hybrid' basis - same meeting physically together, others joining online. Zoom might be with us for ever now therefore if you still need guidance on how to use this new technology please refer to these guides:
Zoom Guide for Meeting Hosts
Zoom Guide for Meeting Participants

The Third Age Trust has now also produced guides for online learning methods. Read them here.
If you are looking for online learning opportunities have a browse through this list of suggestions here.

Last Monthly Meeting
For information on our last monthly meeting and all our previous monthly meetings see here.

Shared Learning Project — London Met
In collaboration with London Metropolitan University we are undertaking some Shared Learning Projects (SLPs). The first of these was regarding 'Hybrid Meetings' and the future shape of our Groups using online and physical blended learning techniques. The feedback from this first SLP can be seen here.

New Members' Teas
New Members Tea Oct2020We've been running these for a number of years now with a variety of formats. The intention is to offer a direct welcome to new members to iU3A and they have always proved to be a great success. The new members appreciate the individual invite and the opportunity to meet some new members in the same posiNew Members at Union canaltion as themselves, learn a bit more about iU3A from the attending Executive Committee member(s), discuss their interests and what groups they may sign up for. Due to Covid restrictions these have had to be held outdoors and with few people attending.

Courses and Time Limited Groups:

We've now run quite a few courses or groups that have used online material for their source of 'subject expert'. These are often called 'MOOCs' standing for Massive Open Online Course and is the generic term for the vast array of online courses and material generated by universities all over the world.

The format of these activities is generally that the members review do online material in their own time, at their convenience. Then they meet as a group to discuss and review the material. Subjects covered to date include:
  • Power and Politics
  • Introducing Humanism
  • Sustainable Food
  • Alexander Technique
  • Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism
  • Rising China and Africa's Development: Oil
  • BBC Reith Lectures 2020
  • Ageing in the 21st Century
  • Meditation
  • Economics for People
Lockdown or no lockdown, we found that this online group learning experience has a great deal going for it and some of our group are looking forward to studying another hot topic with other members of iU3A very soon (see the Groups page for current courses or the New Groups page for others on their way).

Pub Quizzes
These are becoming regular events. We held a further three in 2020 all on Zoom.

Our last physical
pub quizzes was in February 2020, again in the Canonbury Tavern (just before lockdown). As always it was well supported, with 58 members buying a ticket for the event. A number of members met beforehand to eat at the Tavern and then we took up our team places upstairs.

Again we were using Jez Worsnip as our
professional quizmaster for the evening. Jez designs the questions especially for iU3A and of course the judges' word is final! As always it's a great opportunity to test the grey matter and get to know other members.

Winning TeamTen teams battled it out with mixed fortunes. The first half's musical round had caused some pains to most teams and there was a clear leader. In the second half the favourites lost ground. The winning team was the Steely J’s. They got 37 points. It was a close contest with only seven points between the first and last  teams:
another successful event enjoyed by all. Thanks to Mary W and Margaret O for organising the event. We are all looking forward to the next one in the Autumn.

We've now held a few of these 'Pub' quizzes in Pub Quiz May
                                                          2020-12020. The first was held online on Zoom in May 2020. Covid-19 has caused some of our activities to be cancelled, so this was a replacement activity, working much like our previous 'physical' pub quizzes. It was run by our usual quizmaster Jez, in 'virtual' teams which communicated with each other through WhatsApp, Skype, phone or other means. Each team had one electronic scorecard, which was then sent to Jez electronically for marking. 50 took part, over 10 teams. It was different! But it was enjoyed by all.

Team K, which consisted of Helen Wright (quizzing from locPub Quiz
                                                          May 2020-2kdown in Italy), Norman and Jean Wilson, Jayne Forbes and returning member Rob Townsend, won with a score of 32 points out of a possible 42. Well done to them! And thanks to Mary White for organising!

On 28 November 2020 iU3A held its AGM. The annual accounts were presented and two new members elected on to the Executive Committee. You can see all the subjects addressed here.

Open Day
Open DayWe were due to hold one of these in 2020 but due to the Covid pandemic we had to postpone this to 2021.

We didn't hold one of these in 2019 but in October 2018 our Open Day was also our fifth birthday celebration. Again this proved very popular and enabled non-members to meet us and find out about all the things iU3A does. As in previous years there was an excellent turnout with over 200 attending (151 members and 50 non-members). Out of the 50, 23 joined iU3A on the day and many others took away forms, so we hope to hear from them again soon. The existing members who turned up used the chance to see what other groups were on offer and sign up to them. Everybody also enjoyed our delicious birthday cake and had a good natter. This year the 'star' who cut our birthday cake was our acting Vice Chair, Ruth Gee.

Open Day 2018 StallsOpen Day 2018 Cake cuttingWith over 60 interest groups on display there were many great displays. Eight potential new groups were also being advertised to gauge interest and support. Visible and audible displays charmed the audience as they strolled around. All the existing Group Coordinators and their helpers did an excellent job of explaining what their group did and hence encouraged many to sign up. Hopefully this exercise also encouraged more members to be brave enough to volunteer to be Coordinators.

A special thanks must go to the sub-committee which organised another successful day, particularly to Sue Welsford, Diane Austin, Margaret Wearing and Isabel Dickson for coordinating the whole event. The Open Day is our major showcase for members and to the public who might be interested in joining.

Summer Parties
Again this was another casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic and our 20202 Summer party had to be cancelled. Hopefully we can hold one in 2021.

Summer Party1Summer Party6In June we held our annual Summer Party for all members. The venue was the Olden Gardens and it was looking its best — particularly the rambling rose. This tranquil haven is a glorious backdrop for our jolly party. This year we sold 108 tickets allowing us to just about cover the costs.

The weather forecast had threatened rain
— again. However, it held off, but it wasn't that warm.

The booze lasted well this year so all were happy, Summer Party5in fact the challenge was
getting people to vacate the gardens at the end when our time was up.

There was much
socialising, chatting to friends and making new friendships. Thanks to Lesley Delacourt for again bringing the bubbly back from France at a very low cost allowing us all to benefit from the low ticket price.

Thanks also to Diane Austin and other volunteers for organising this event.

Summer Party2Summer Party3Summer Party4

Group Coordinators
These are becoming more frequent. In 2020 with lockdown and other restrictions these were all held online through Zoom.

In April 2019 we held the annual Group Coordinators' meeting:
a good turnout, over 60% of coordinators attending. As usual there was a full agenda and plenty of healthy debate. The Chair kicked things off with a welcome and then some feedback from recent surveys and initiatives. The full presentation can be viewed here.

Coordinators Lunch1Coordinators Lunch2In January (2019) we held a 'thankyou' lunch for all our Group Coordinators. 45 attended, a good majority of the total we have. They were all thanked for the efforts they provided in running their groups. Our activity groups make up the majority of what we offer in iU3A, so we are highly dependent on these volunteers. Unlike the annual Group Coordinators' Meeting this was not about training but merely a thankyou. However it still provided an opportunity for the Group Coordinators to exchange ideas amongst themselves and learn about other group activities. While the service was a bit slow the conversation flowed.

Coordinators Lunch2It was also an opportunity to put a face to a name on an email. All seemed to enjoy the event.

A big thank you to Sue and Judith for organising the event.
Results from the recent (June 2018) Group Coordinators' survey can be read here.

iU3A Outings — Previous Visits
These were suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully we can re-start them in 2021.

Bath3December 2019
Bath ChristmasBath2 Market: on a sunny Monday morning in early December, nineteen members of iU3A set off from Paddington for a day out at the Bath Christmas market. It turned out that much was on offer in addition to opportunities for Christmas present buying, and food and mulled wine tasting at the 100+ pop up chalets in the centre of town. Some of the more hardy set off for a walking tour taking in the Holbourne museum (Raphael and Matisse exhibitions currently), Bath1the Royal Crescent, a quick look at the outdoor ice rink, frequent reminders of Jane Austen and Persuasion, all of course in the setting of the stunning honey-coloured sandstone of the Georgian architecture. Others looked round the Abbey and then the Roman Baths for what turned out to be a highly recommended, fun guided tour. In the late afternoon as the Christmas lights were at their best we all met up for a delicious supper before a dash to the station for the journey home. (Lisa Crispin and David McPhail)

To see more of our previous events and outings follow the links below:
For 2019-20 look here.
For 2016-18 look here.

Theatre Visits
We hold these at least once a year. These are in addition to our two Theatre Groups that we have (for more information see the Groups page. Thanks are due to Sue Welsford for organising these events.

Clues Trails
Clues Trail Sept2020We are pleased to be able to announce the restarting of these after lockdown. This one in October 2020 was in the King's Cross area (one of the benefits of London still being quiet is that we can hold these midweek). Three teams battled it out around a mixed area starting in the redeveloped Granary Square but then through the refurbished gasometers, across to the old St Pancras Gardens where so many famous dissenters are buried. Then we completed the circle through King's Cross and St Pancras stations before returning to Coal Drop Yard. The scores were very close: 68-67-67. Thanks again to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another of these successful events. The trail can be read here. Try it out yourself!
Clues2June2019Clues1June2019In 2019 we held two of these popular events. The first was held in June and was in the Hoxton/Shoreditch area with a street art theme. We gathered at the beginning point for food and drinks, then six teams of four or five set off from Great Eastern Street in a radial direction on the circular three-mile route. Teams used their observation skills to follow directions, use the clues provided to spot features (often street art) and also to spot the location of provided images. All teams avoided the late-back time penalty and final scores were close. However there was a clear winning team. While the pub made it awkward for us, all had a great time. You can do this trail by yourself at your own time. The trail can be read here.

The second was held in August and was around the Tower of London area. While quite a tourist hot spot, even on a Sunday morning, there were amazing quiet hidden pockets that were a delight for the four teams that puzzled their way around the course. We were lucky with the weather and had just enough sun to make it a pleasant stroll round this just under three mile course. However, there wasn't too much time to dawdle as there was a time penalty if you were late back. As always, it was the round of photo images that provided the difference between the first and last teams. Thanks go to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another great event (and to Isabel for doing the tickets and team selections).

Clues 2018In 2018 we held two of these popular events. The first of these was held in June and the second in September. For the June one a warm Sunday meant a very pleasant event with three teams this time (numbers a bit down from the last one). This one was based again around the city and followed byways and alleys that most people didn't even know existed. Great views over the river at one point. Most teams got the majority of the clues and got back to the starting & finishing point pub in good time. However the photo images were the differentiating aspect. No team spotted all the images during their route but the 'Poached Eggheads' saw the most and hence were the winning team.

The September one (arranged by Elizabeth Mansbridge) saw us in a new area for this Clues Trail
Canary Wharf. While the image might be of tall skyscrapers and not much else, we discovered an amazing collection of street art, historic corners, and interesting architectural features. Numbers attending were a bit disappointing considering the effort put in to organise these events. But maybe a Friday just coincides with too many other iU3A activities.  

In 2017
in August on the day 22 members turned up to form five teams, then followed the trail to seek out the clues. Additional points were awarded for spotting the location of some photographic images during the trail and a special round at the end back at the pub tested teams' knowledge of the London Guilds. Again everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising this one — and we all look forward to the next one.

To see more of our previous events and outings follow the links below:
For 2019-20 look here.
For 2016-18 look here.

Or you might want to read about 'Our iU3A Story' which maps our development over the years: Our Story.

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