U3A Oliva

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U3A OLIVA

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September 2020

The Newsletter of the U3A in Oliva

Issue 53

Don’t forget the old web site closes at the end of October. Re-register on the new site here.

President’s Message:

Good Morning

 
Hasn’t it been a hot, humid summer? I’ve made a mental note to self to see whether I should take myself off to cooler parts (and I don’t mean the Northern Hemisphere) during the month of August next year.  
 

  In an effort to have as normal a life as is possible some of us have met once a week for lunch in various local restaurants.  It’s been good to talk and put the world to rights whilst enjoying eating outdoors.  I’m pleased to say that those of you in groups which can meet whether virtually using Zoom or in person have also been able to meet.  We may not have been Zoom literate before the start of this year but new skills have had to be learned.

I hope you are all keeping well.  Please get in touch with me if there is anything I can do to help or, if you would just like to meet for a chat over a cup of coffee, then contact me and we’ll arrange something.  

Regards, Barry

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GROUP RE-STARTING

There has been a lot of discussion around whether our groups should re-start in these troubling times. After much debate, the committee have agreed that those groups that can maintain adherence to the current Covid restriction and want to open can do so.

This means maintaining social distancing, hand washing etc.

Members understand they are responsible for their own Health & Safety when involved in group activities; as well as that we feel it is necessary that all members agree to some Covid-specific terms.

To this end we have produced an on-line form for your use. We would ask that all members wishing to join an open group complete this form and show to the group leaders. Each leader wishing to restart their group will need to either check that the member has completed the form, or asks to see the member's hard copy.

I’m sure we all understand the reasons for these precautions; as always STAY SAFE!

It is important we all understand our individual responsibilities at this time. Therefore, would ALL members who are entering into group activities, please complete a short disclaimer here, or print and sign the form here, to show your group leaders.

NOTE leaders will request confirmation before allowing anyone to enter the group.


On a brighter note, Elaine Crook has taken over leadership of the Thursday lunch group!

She still has a couple of seats free, but be quick – remember, first come first served (sorry!).

See more on the group page here.

The joint leaders of our very successful WALKING GROUP have decided to hang up their boots and wander off into the distance.

If you would like to be involved as a leader, please contact the group coordinator here  (see leadership details here).

We don’t want this group to fall, so please step forward!

 
 

Can You Help Your Committee?

 
 
 

Click on the email links to contact a committee member.

Committee members carry out a very important role for the organisation – without a committee there would simply be no U3A!

If you would like to help us continue the great work that has gone on in the past, please contact any member below via the email link.

We would especially like to hear from members with communications (press and publicity) and/or Spanish skills. The requirement could be as little as an hour a month!

Come on – join in!

Nancy Benn – Secretary

John Melville – Mem Sec

Diana Jameson – Treasurer

Publicity Officer – Position Vacant

Barry Purvis – President

Julie Hayward – Travel & Events

Francoise Moncomble – member

Anja Homburg – Vice President

Gail Spoore – Deputy Secretary

Anthony Saxon – Member

Steve Hems – Member

Survey Results!

As you know, we surveyed you, our members, back in the Spring about what you would like to see in your U3A.

We had a response of around 120, (~ 20%), which is a very good turnout and we thank you.

There is a lot of information to take on board, but you can rest assured, when we get going fully again, these views will be taken into account!

Analysis of the returns shows that:

Member profile

  • The vast majority are Spanish residents (80%)
  • The bulk of members are in the 51-70 age group (64%), with a big chunk (33) in the 71-80 group
  • Not surprisingly, only 3% are under 50
  • Most have no physical challenges (78%)

Why did you join the U3A?

  • Virtually everyone (96%) joined to meet new people
  • However, specifically attending small gatherings was not high on the list for most, with only 26% citing it as a reason for joining. But we’ll see later that socializing is indeed important once they’ve joined
  • Of course, access to groups (84%) and trips (79%) are very important too. Access to lifelong learning (44%) is no doubt linked to the importance of groups
  • Access to discounts is low (4%), but this could be down to lack of awareness rather than lack of interest.

What types of groups do you enjoy?

  • The most popular types of groups are sports/physical activities (35%)
  • Academic (24%), crafts (18%) and singing/dancing (13%) are also of interest, as are food/drink-related groups
  • ‘Other’ mentions included card/board games, music, fishing, metal detecting, books, table tennis, belly dancing

What time of day do you prefer to attend groups?

  • Weekday (33%) mornings (27%) appear to be the most popular times
  • Although a fair number (18%) like afternoons, and 10% prefer evenings
  • Little appetite for weekend groups (7% Saturday; 5% Sunday)

Have you ever attended an event?

  • Well over half (60%) have attended an event in the past
  • Preference for events split across the range
  • Food/drink 25%
  • BBQs 23%
  • Dinner 19%
  • Music/dance 15%
  • Parties 10%
  • Main reason mentioned for not attending was being a new member, not knowing enough people yet
  • Some also claim they are too busy or it’s ‘not their thing’
  • One interesting suggestion was an early bird event which wouldn’t require evening travel

Price point and travel preferences

  • Interestingly, 44% claim they don’t mind how much an event costs, as long as it’s good value for money
  • That said, over one-third (35%) wouldn’t like to pay more than €20 per person, and very few (4%) would pay more than €40
  • Similarly, over half (57%) claim they don’t mind how far they have to travel, and only 9% need to stay local in Oliva
  • However, over half (55%) prefer to have a coach organised, even at extra cost

How would you prefer to find out about U3A news and developments?

  • Emails (38%) and The Voice newsletter (35%) are the most popular information channels
  • The website (14%) and Facebook page (8%) aren’t currently big preferences – but of course this could change over time
  • Most (70%) are aware of the U3A Facebook page
  • Only 1% cited the monthly meeting as an information source preference

On average, how many times a month do you go to the U3A website (excluding visits in group leader capacity)?

  • The majority (61%) of members visit the website 1-3 times a month
  • Only a small percentage either visit very frequently at 7+ times (9%) or not at all (10%)
  • The main reason they are visiting the site is to get information on events or trips (54%)
  • A fair number (29%) are looking for information on groups they’re interested in. Only 11% visit with regard to groups they’re already a member of – perhaps indicating that WhatsApp groups or emails are being more widely used

How many monthly meetings have you attended in the past year?

  • More than half of members (57%) have only attended one monthly meeting (for some, just the AGM) or not at all
  • Whereas a fair few attended 4-7 meetings, none attended all 8
  • None

    Only the AGM

    One

    2-3

    4-7

    All 8

    28%

    4%

    25%

    20%

    23%

    0

Ideal members’ gathering

  • Suggestions for the ideal gathering focused primarily on building in more time for socialising – to the extent that a speaker isn’t necessarily needed every month
  • Tea/coffee/cake afterwards so everyone doesn’t rush off
  • Food/buffet/BYO – or possibly at a good value restaurant/menu del dia
  • More informal seating plan
  • A nice (clearly open to interpretation!) central venue with easy parking is also important

Other topics/suggestions

  • Additional topics of interest include:
  • International topics
  • The Spanish way of life
  • Local legal/political issues that affect members
  • Local offers available to members
  • Many members are also interested in seeing group demonstrations, including encouraging audience participation
  • Someone suggested showing a photo montage of recent trips on screen while everyone is waiting

To what extent would you be willing to help out the Committee?

  • Encouragingly, there appears to be a willingness to help out, albeit with varying levels of commitment
  • There weren’t many additional suggestions for the Committee
  • 4 members went out of their way to say thanks for doing a great job!
  • Two members suggested liaising with other groups (eg Denia, Vall de Pop) for ideas or even organising joint events

    Not at all

    1 hr/ mo

    1 hr/ week

    Help set up

    44%

    19%

    17%

    20%

    What is the best U3A trip you’ve ever been on?

  • Encouragingly, several members noted that they ‘loved all the trips’ they’ve been on
  • The trip to the Ford factory was a big hit, with 7 members citing it as their favourite
  • The remaining responses covered the range of trip types and duration, indicating that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all!

What types of trips would you be interested in?

  • Members had a few suggestions for trips they’d like to see in the future
  • Dog-friendly trips (indeed, we will see in a few pages that not wishing to leave dogs at home is a barrier for some to going on trips)
  • See Valencia FC play at home
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Walking

When considering a trip…what things are important?

  • Not surprisingly, the most important factor is what the trip is
  • Price is also a consideration, but not overly so – along with distance and day of week
  • Although how much walking on average isn’t a key factor, it was ranked as very important to those who have mobility issues

Factor

Average score

(out of 4) 1=not at all; 4=very

Venue/activity

3.5

Price

2.7

Distance/duration

2.4

Day of week

2.3

How much walking

2.2

If anyone I know is going

1.8

How often are you likely to go on a trip?

  • Quarterly is the most mentioned frequency, although responses were pretty evenly spread
  • Only 10% replied ‘never’
  • Interestingly, the top 2 reasons people gave for not going on trips had nothing to do with the nature of the trips
  • New member, so haven’t had a chance yet
  • Don’t live in Spain full-time
  • Other commitments/too busy

Monthly

Bi-monthly

Quarterly

Once a year

17%

20%

34%

18%

Although only mentioned by a few members each, it may be worth thinking about…

  • Emphasising that the trips don’t feel like stereotypical coach trips
  • Shorter half-day trips for those with animals/dog-friendly trips
  • Later-start trips for those who don’t live in Oliva to give them time to get to the starting point

Other reasons for not going on trips

  • Five members experienced trips being overbooked or postponed
  • Walking/health issues were mentioned by 3 members, with another 2 having issues with travel sickness
  • Interestingly, only 2 members mentioned price as a barrier to going on trips

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Free Subs - Yes or No?

Your committee discussed allowing this coming year (2020-2021) to be free of subscriptions. The reasoning can be seen below.

Due to the Covid situation we could not hold an AGM, where the decision could be put to the members, but it was decided to go ahead anyway.

Last week we sent out an email asking members for their views. To date, approx. 8 ‘No’ replies have been received. Note the question was phrased such that no response indicated agreement; this was done to save asking members to reply simply saying ‘Yes’.

The eight replies represents some 1.5% of the emails sent out.

To understand the rationale behind the decision please click here.

As an organisation we have been unable to operate in our normal manner through most of the year – and this may continue for some time yet.

  1. Even if the council does allow rooms to be available at our normal meeting places, restrictions could be in place.
  2. Covid 19 is potentially a very serious event; most of our members are in a vulnerable demographic.
  3. We are in the fortunate position of having sufficient cash in the bank.
  4. The new web site will save us circa 1500€ per year.

For these reasons it was felt that the organisation can afford the gesture and our members would appreciate it.

It was further decided to offer free membership to potential new members as a way of boosting levels this year.

Regarding voluntary donations, it was felt it would be cumbersome and in-effective for the U3A to donate subs to our chosen charities. It was felt better to allow the members – if they wish – to make their own charitable decisions.

NOTE this is only a one-time offer! We would fully expect to be back to a more normal situation next year.

Here are some brief comments from some of those who disagreed with the committee’s decision:

  • My thoughts are to make the fees optional – they are not large – and if a percentage of people did pay for the year it would assist the association with giving them a cushion for future activities and events.  It can be done anonymously so that no-one would know who or who did not contribute – but a little extra finance will help the association in the future – which personally i believe is the most important thing..
  • I agree with no fees for existing members because most groups closed down due to covid early March BUT I feel that new members joining from this month onwards should pay as groups are beginning to start up again.
  • A membership fee will help to keep the members grounded and feel connected and rejoin.  Some members may not renew because there is no point. ( how many members are there now?)
  • Membership fees could help towards event cost ( if we ever get any) if turn out is low.

Once allowed to socialise again it would be great to have a welcome back event.

There could be more online events/ competitions with prizes to help connect members

Money could be invested into online group activities or room / venue hire to help some groups restart (especially as council buildings are closed)

As mentioned. We usually donate money to charity which I think most members agree with, although it should not be ‘charity of your choice’ it should be the elected charities that the U3A support. Why not do more for charities if members agree?

The fees could be used to purchase equipment 

There should always be a contingency fund

Members expect to pay a fee to be part of an association

  • Hi, I disagree, I don't know what the ongoing costs are but there must be some, even if there is a surplus and some gets paid to local charity. 
  • My husband and I do belong to the U3A but we don’t participate in any classes, mainly because I work during the day. However, that does not mean we don’t value the group and the opportunities it offers. The annual subscription is so small and unlikely to affect the day-to-day living of members, so my husband and I would vote to pay for 2020/2021. That way, the Oliva U3A has some funds to help it continue its work and maybe build up a small reserve for 2021/2022.
  • If the majority votes to waive the subscription fee, we will pay the E20 into the U3A’s bank account as a donation.
  • Existing members free renewal – new joiners pay the fee.
  • I do disagree regarding zero subscription for new members which is a very reasonable annual charge anyway.
  • And with any organisation/club/business especially in this climate any financial support will be needed if not now for future events.

I cannot see a good reason not to request such a low charge to be a part of a very beneficial organisation.

  • I wish to register my disagreement with the decision not to maintain the normal practice of charging a fee for the annual membership of the U3A for the year 2020-2021.  
  • Whilst we all appreciate a 'freebie' I'm unclear why in the present circumstances it was felt that such a proposal was justifiable.  To that end I would appreciate a little more clarity regarding the rationale used prior to taking such a decision.  This may well help me understand why such a decision was actually taken.  However, unless there is a substantial argument in favour of doing this on a regular basis it leaves me wondering if we should/can do this on an  annual basis for years to come.  Can I assume that the financial state of the U3A is so favourable that we can safely fulfill all our financial obligations without the need to request 'donations' from our substantial membership (500+) who make full use of the services essential to the effective running of the association?  

As an aside I feel that by using the phrase:

Also, as we are not able to fund-raise this year, it maybe that some of you would like to donate your subscription to a charity of your choice', there is an automatic assumption that such a decision is irreversible and those who disagree with it should consider donating their 10 euro subs to a charity of their choice.

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Readers' letters

Letters are accepted for publication subject to approval by the editor. No correspondence will be entered into.

Email your views here.

No letters yet – get commenting, your feedback is important!

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And finally a word from our friends in the Oliva Drama group.

Obviously we have been keeping our heads down over the last few months, however, we are starting to pick up and look around a bit now. To that end, we are always happy to greet new members both on-and back-stage.

If you are at all interested in joining, especially getting involved in the exciting new avenue we are exploring, please get in touch directly here. Thank you!

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