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Competition Voting National Newsletter Express National Newsletter Slow Ways - A Walking Project
Help Covid-19 Research Chairman's Report Annual Accounts Local Assistance
Science & Tech Knowledge Bank Competition Letter from Chairman Group Reports
Membership Extension New Members Discussion Forums



The last day for voting in the Competition is on Sunday.

Do take this opportunity to express your preferences.

Posted on 1 July 2020


The National Newsletter Express can be read Here


Posted on 30 June 2020


The June Bitesize National Newsletter can be read Here;

You can get the full version by subscribing at There is no charge.

Posted on 14 June 2020


There are large number of walkers in the South Lakes U3A community, most of whom delight in the pleasures of the fine views and glorious countryside in our region. But during lockdown, a team of 700 volunteers who want to encourage the idea of functional walking for its environmental and health benefits have plotted a network of 7,000 routes, which collectively stretch for over 60,000 miles linking many towns and villages in Britain.

Information about the 'Slow Ways' project can be found at

Posted on 16 June 2020


You can help fight COVID-19 by aiding research.  Kings College London are running a large research project at

There is a free app attached to the website that members of the public can down load (from the AppStore or Google Play) and report on their health.  After some initial health questions,  it is only neccessary to answer 2 questions on a daily busis. It mostly takes less than a minute to do (although from time to time they ask slightly more searching questions)

This is a valuable well-conducted project that can help to get us nearer the day Covid-19 is beaten.

Posted on 12 June 2020


Although it began with a turbulent 2019 AGM and ended with the unprecedented restrictions associated with Covid-19, I feel I can accurately report that the past year has been an overall success. Our membership peaked at an all-time record of 1502 before the virus hit. A suggestion that a new U3A in Kirkby Lonsdale would help relieve the pressure on South Lakes is now with the North West Region of the Third Age Trust. However, the necessary Kirkby resident who is prepared to organize a ‘start-up’ meeting has not yet come forward.

Ed established a new special interest group “Contemporary History and Politics” which was filled before its first meeting. Cycling and Tuesday Walkers created ‘sub groups’ to cater for growing demand, Jan led an externally-prepared course “Learning to be Retired” and Hilary and Donald organized some very popular and valuable first aid training. All that is in addition to the many established regular activities.  Indeed, when I produced a comprehensive list of SLU3A events I found that there were several occasions when as many as ten separate activities took place on the same day (which actually made it impractical to provide the requested calendar in printed form). Nevertheless, demand still exceeds supply and proposals for new groups continue to be very welcome.

Once again, our Open Morning in September was very busy and many new members were recruited. Val (aided by Brian) did most of the hard work involved in organizing this. Unfortunately the unavailability of the Town Hall and the uncertainty of the virus situation will prevent a repeat of this event in the same format this year.

Mark continued Sheila’s tradition of finding interesting and entertaining speakers for our monthly meetings. It is rather difficult to account for the somewhat variable attendance at these. The subject matter, the speaker’s reputation and the weather all have an effect, but clearly some members simply like meeting up with friends and enjoying the refreshments provided by Fiona and her ‘team’.

The Committee has frequently repeated the mantra that “you can’t please everybody”.  The Coffee Morning organized by Val for our group coordinators and  other (known) volunteers proved to be a classic illustration of this. Some want presentations and speeches. Others prefer informality and a chance to gossip. Perhaps we should serve marmite sandwiches next time! Hopefully the sincere “thank you for your contribution to U3A”  message was not lost.

Communication with members who have an e-mail address registered with SLU3A has been improved by Paul’s magnificent efforts with the new electronic newsletter. Peter‘s website has become a really useful central source of U3A information particularly during the crisis. Hilary and Susan’s indefatigable work to get group membership lists entered into the Beacon database has made contacting most members much more straightforward.

However, by far the most niggling issue that the Committee faced this year was that of communication with those members who do not wish to get involved with the technology needed to access e-mail and websites. Many group coordinators have helped by continuing to keep in (virtual!) touch with such members in their groups. Sadly, SLU3A has neither the volunteers nor the budget needed to set up a paper-based solution.  Recently, great progress has been made by Anne, Audrey, Hilary and Hester who used the opportunity presented by lockdown to mount a magnificent campaign to phone all the members registered as ‘non-electronic’. Very few of those contacted reported that they felt that they were being excluded and almost half of them were willing to register their previously undisclosed e-contact. Now we have only 87 members who do not have a registered e-mail address.

Possibly the most frequently used word in my U3A communications has been “thanks”  This is because the organization functions on a mutual, voluntary aid basis. Many members perform invaluable service without recognition. The names mentioned in this report are simply representative of many others. For a full list of acknowledgements please see (GDPR permitting!) the list of all members in Colin’s Beacon database.

Cath Sharpe, Ian Fishwick and I have now completed our allotted spans on the Committee and we are very pleased to welcome new co-opted members Kate Kohn, Ian  Powell and David Little who will act as our respective replacements until such time as we are able to hold an AGM.  I am truly grateful to EVERY committee member, old and new, for their support and I wish the new committee all the best in dealing with the significant challenges presented by the uncertain future.

Bob Wells 16/5/2020

Posted on 30 May 2020


The Annual Accounts are now available on the Documents page..

In view of the Government's Coronavirus advice these accounts will only be independently examined once the lockdown restrictions have been lifted and therefore may be subject to change.

Posted on 18 May 2020


SLDC are publishing the Directory of Community Support and South Lakeland Newsletter It is intended they will be updated weekly.

Kendal Self Isolation Support is a  group of volunteers offering help to the isolated and vulnerable.  They are very active and have nearly 3000 members.  Details on their Facebook Page 

Lakes Medics, the Kendal-based first-aid specialist, is offering a free telephone service to vulnerable adults and the elderly during the coronavirus crisis, to promote the well-being of people needing to isolate and to alleviate the effects of loneliness. It is being run partly by volunteers. If you are interested in learning more check the Lakes Medics web site or call 01539 232999.

Posted on 14 May 2020


The Science & Technology Group has started the Knowledge Bank, a repository of interesting articles and websites, and recommended books.   The items will be contributed only by South Lakes S &T Group Members, but can be accessed by all. 

Posted on 3 May 2020


As a means of light entertainment during our enforced lock down, I would like to offer a challenge to you all. You don’t have to be in any specific group to enter, just be a member of South Lakes U3A. 

The themes will be:-

Poetry - ‘Life in Lockdown’
 - The entries can be anything from an amusing ditty or Limerick to a deep and meaningful Elegy.

Prose – Short Story – ‘Lockdown’
 - A short Story with a connection to the present lockdown. Maximum length 2 A4 sides

Photography - ‘The garden in lockdown’
– Anything from a snapshot of a favorite flower to a graphic image of your own hide away space for meditation and reflection.

Starting date 1st May closing date 30th June

All U3A Members are welcome to email their poems, photographs and prose to   The entries will be anonymous on the website, so please don’t add your name to your entry but give it a title. Only the organisers  will know your email address (and will not disclose it).
1 entry per category per person.
They will be viewable at competition

Voting between 1st and 12th July
You will be asked to vote only once in each category
The number of votes will be counted and a short list of the top 3 in each category selected. The final winners will be declared 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each group. The winners will be anounced by 31st July 2020.

For any added information needed please contact Hilary Claxton

Hilary Claxton

Posted on 29 April 2020


Three members (treasurer Ian Fishwick, membership secretary Cath Sharpe and chair Bob Wells) were due retire from the Committee at the next AGM which, before the virus crisis, was planned for the 20 May 2020. Other members of the Committee have helpfully indicated that they are prepared to continue in office (subject to a confirmatory vote at an AGM).

We have been very fortunate to find volunteers who are willing to fill the vacancies. Our three heroes are Kate Kohn, nominated for membership secretary, David Little for chair and Ian Powell for treasurer. All three have already been co-opted to the Committee so that they can become familiar with the other individuals and the work involved. Of course, this is not easy to do during lockdown.

To allow the newcomers to get their feet under the table before the new subscription year in September, which is normally the busiest time, the retirees will formally resign from the Committee in May and the newcomers will become ‘acting’ officers pending the AGM (whenever that can be). The AGM will eventually provide an opportunity for a confirmatory vote (or an alternative nomination).

This procedure has been developed to enable SLU3A to function as effectively as possible without straying from the spirit of our constitution and the requirements placed on a registered charity.

I know that the retirees are ready to support their successors when we are able to restart activities. Please be tolerant of any glitches that might occur because of the unprecedented circumstances that we are facing, but do feel free to contact Committee members with your comments and suggestions.

New contact details will be on the Members Page by 20 May (a password is required),

Following normal practice, the annual financial statement will be posted on the website in May together with the chair’s report for 2019/20.

If you know of any SLU3A member who does not use the internet then please pass this information on to them.

Bob Wells

Posted on 28 April 2020


Mostl Group Reports are dormant, but here are a few

Culture Trips

Rag Rugging

Saturday Lunch Club

Country Dancing

If your Group has news for your members or would like to tell us how your Group is adjusting to Covid-19, use the Contact Form , email or Beacon to send details.

Posted on 8 April 2020


A number of members have suggested that as no activities are taking place the annual membership fee of £9 should be used to cover a longer period than the normal 12 months. Effectively this would either mean extending the membership year by changing the renewal date or reducing the subscription for next year on a pro rata basis.

The bulk of the membership fees are spent on payments to National U3A for membership, insurance, Third age Trust newsletter and database services. In addition they also cover the costs of publication and distribution of our annual yearbook. Details of these Costs can be seen in the historic accounts on the website and in the current years accounts which will be published shortly. No extension is being granted by the National body, we do not have unlimited reserves and we are required by the Charities Commission to behave in a financially prudent manner.

Consequently the committee have decided that we are unable to agree to any extension to the period covered by the membership fee under the present circumstances. We hope that members will understand the reasons for this and support all our efforts to survive this unprecedented  crisis and recover our normal activities as soon as possible.

Posted on 8 April 2020


In a normal year any new member joining SLU3A after the end of March would pay a reduced rate to cover the period between then and the renewal date of 1st September.

At the moment normal SLU3A activities are suspended until the current Coronavirus crisis is resolved. The committee have therefore decided that it would be unreasonable to accept new members until the start of the new period in September so until we can resume our normal activities membership is effectively closed to new entrants.

Posted on 8 April 2020


During these unprecedented times, the Third Age Trust has been looking at different ways to support our amazing U3A community. We wanted to enable and support U3As, members and Interest Group leaders, to stay active and connected with each other.

To this end, from today, Monday 6 April 2020, we have launched three online discussion forums so that you can share ideas and support each other. Thanks to the Beacon users, we are doing this by extending the existing (and successful) Beacon User Forum to all U3As, regardless of whether or not you are using the Beacon management system at your U3A yet.

It is easy to get started. All you need to do is visit the forum website at, click the ‘register’ button and fill in your details.
From there you will be able to explore the forums and get involved in the discussion.

If you are not familiar with online forums, we have prepared a how-to guide to help you get started. We welcome your feedback on the guide.   Your feedback will help us develop our guide which will be available on the national website in the next few days.

There will be three forums that you can join:

Learning – discussions around subjects and all forms of interest and learning
Our U3A Community – discussions arounds how we support each other
Beacon – discussions around using Beacon, the U3A management system

This is just an outline of what the forums are about because it will be led and developed by you when you join and the conversations that are happening.

A volunteer team will moderate the site and support you to use the forums in a safe, positive and productive way.

Posted on 8 April 2020

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