Letter from the President

Membership

We planned for a small increase in membership this year and our predictions were correct. Currently we have 1,000 members and based on historical figures 183 members will not renew their membership but more new members will increase overall U3A membership. Chris Winstanley is pleased with her new digital membership renewal system and the increasing technical expertise of our members. 51% of renewals this year used PayPal compared to 38% last year and the number of cheques fell from 30% to !8%.

This year Chris has also successively introduced a permanent bar-coded membership card for every member. We have bought a scanner and small computer so that the new plastic cards can be scanned at entry where members subscription status can be assessed. Aidan Kay is going to run a scanner trainer program for the “Front of House” team. Chris, you have ensured your successor as membership secretary is going to have a much easier life –  thank you.

Fees

Unchanged. $35 annual membership fee, $5 visitor fee for lectures.

Finances

Details available on our website. Tony Thomson, our treasurer has maintained our finances in a healthy state. We posted only a small deficit for the year despite having to buy a new Laptop computer, a small computer to run the scanner, new permanent membership cards and increased rentals for special interest group meetings. The functions with a large income and outgoings are all self-funding. The only exception is the November social function which is paid for by U3A. Tony has asked a reviewer to review our 2016-2017 annual accounts. Since we are a registered charity Tony has sent a report to the Charities Services.

Lecture Programme

Again, a hugely successful year. Thank you, Roger Chapman for organising the Tuesday Lectures and Bruce Medcalf the Friday Lectures. Roger must retire at the AGM, having served his 5 years on the committee but has kindly volunteered to continue generating and sending-out the weekly emails. Alan Wright with help from Ian Goodwin and Colin Sarten has run the technical aspect of the presentations. The projection side has worked very well but the speakers, kindly lent to us by the Abundant Life Church need constant fine tuning. Alan is also retiring at the AGM. Thank you, Alan for your technical skills and cheerful optimism.

Jim Thomson, who organises the “front of house” volunteers reports that everything is in good order. The volunteers enjoy not having to collect the $3 admission fee which was abolished this year. There is always a willing volunteer nearby if someone forgets or comes on the wrong day. Lecture attendances this year have averaged 191 for Tuesdays and 160 for Fridays. Inevitably this is under recorded as we know quite a few members attend without registering.  Professor Nigel Roberts had the largest attendance – 282 members. At the AGM, volunteer forms will be available for members to sign up for 2018. Thank you, Jim.

Although we have some lectures booked for 2018 we need your input and suggestions for speakers in 2018. We like to finalise most of the 2018 programme at our planning meeting on 6th November this year.

Special Interest Groups

Margaret and Ian Garrett have been in close contact with the SIG’s especially regarding their expenses. The U3A committee have agreed to meet the following expenses:

  1. Venue hire costs, including ancillary charges such as internet access but subject to prior approval by the committee.
  2. Operating expenses up to a maximum of $100 per annum per interest group.
  3. No remuneration for any costs/charges for food or drink.

Thank you, Margaret and Ian.

The Midweek Film Group has expanded to 50 members and so now offers two films a month, on the 2nd Tuesday and last Wednesday.

Visits and Events

Aidan organised very successful mid-winter lunch at the James Cook where Dave Armstrong was the guest speaker. This venue works very well and therefore has been booked for the 2018 mid-winter lunch. The end-of-year cocktail party at the Victoria Bridge Club was as always, a well-attended and happy occasion. Aidan arranged a marvellous holiday programme which included, Walk Wellington and Art Walks. He has gauged there is sufficient interest to run a day trip to Stonehenge in the Wairarapa during the October holidays. Thank you, Aidan.

Newsletter

Heather Nelson has produced 3 excellent newsletters this year, each containing a wealth of essential information. U3A is very fortunate to have an editor that keeps everyone up to the mark and on time throughout the year. Thank you, Heather.

Victoria University U3A Award

Christine Bogle won the $2000 award this year and will present her study, “Democratisation in Asia-Pacific monarchies” on Tuesday 5th September.

Website

The revamped website has been a great success. Thank you, Rodger Sparks.

Move to the Embassy

Tuesday 26th September will be our last day at the Paramount. Our 3 years at the Paramount have been good years. It is in the right place for transport, it is the right size for U3A which has allowed us to increase our membership and it is a venue we can afford. Venues like this are very important for Wellington. U3A worked closely with the Wellington Film Society and the Abundant Life Church to try and find a solution for when the building was sold but failed. Our first lecture at the Embassy will be Friday 29th September and the October and November lectures will continue at the Embassy. We are still negotiating with the Embassy about hire fees for 2018 and if these are reasonable we will stay there.

Committee

Chris Winstanley is retiring after completing the huge task of digitalising our membership system. Well done Chris.

Roger Chapman like Chris has served his 5 years and can no longer stay. As well as running the lecture programme Roger has updated our constitution but above all he has been a source of wise council.

Alan Wright our technology support person who has kept our speakers happy and relaxed is retiring.

We are therefore looking for two new committee members for whom job descriptions are on pages 13 and 14 of the Newsletter.

The remaining committee members have accepted their renominations.

A big thank you to Barbara our wonderful secretary.

Peter Hatfield

President