Chair’s Chatter

Chair’s Chatter – March 2020 Newsletter

Margot Gale

It has been quite a busy few months since the December newsletter. We had an extremely successful wine tasting in December and our thanks must go to John and Adrian for running the tasting along with Elaine for organising the evening.

We also had an excellent new event, Christmas Wreath making, where 30 members enjoyed a great morning making wreaths from a huge range of foliage and Christmas decorations provided by and with the help and instruction of Rachel Barrowcliffe, gardening advisor to Hodsock Priory. Our thanks go to Sue for organising this event and we hope that we will be running it again next year.

In January we had a very successful lunch where the new Group Facilitators’ Handbook was introduced to over 100 of our group facilitators. Our thanks must go to Anne and Kathy for all the hard work they have put into rewriting the handbook, which was needed following a number of changes to how the trust is now run and also in the light of many new local committee decisions. I would also like to thank the members who attended for the suggestions made about how to ensure that groups continue when there is a change of leadership and also for their suggestions as to how to make new members feel welcome at a group meeting. These suggestions were collated by Sue and sent out to all our group facilitators.

Looking towards the future there are some notable events coming up both at National and Network Level. The National U3A day is set for Wednesday 3rd June and there will be several events happening around the country to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of the U3A. The East Midlands Regional Conference will be taking place on Tuesday 21st April at Eastwood Hall Conference Centre. The cost per member will be £15 which will include all refreshments and lunch along with two speakers and a choice of workshops. If anyone is interested in attending or finding out more information, they should contact me at We are also having a Nottinghamshire Network Arts Festival in August 2020 where groups are invited to participate; further details will be made available soon.

Finally, I mentioned in the last newsletter that it will be our 10th anniversary next June 2021 and we would like to mark the occasion with a celebration of some sort. It seems a long time in advance of the date, but we are hoping that you may have some ideas as to what format this celebration should take. If you have any ideas or suggestions, then please contact me at my chair@ email.

Margot Gale

Chair’s Chatter – December 2019 Newsletter

Margot Gale

As this is my second ‘Chair’s Chatter’ I am beginning to feel a little more like a ‘Chair’ although still find the role a little daunting. Our membership now stands at 948 and we are hopeful that we may even reach 1000 members by our 10th anniversary which will be in June 2021.

As we continue to grow it is essential to thank all our group facilitators who are the backbone of our U3A, without groups there is no purpose to having a U3A. We now have 85 groups with at least another 2 in the pipeline. It is also essential to thank our group facilitators who, recognising when groups are growing rather large, then support other members in starting a new group on the same topic. It would be so easy to say, ‘I’m all right, I am in a group’ but it is very selfless to help start another group just for the good of other members and so they can enjoy all that Beeston U3A has to offer.

Thanks must go to Elaine, our Social Events organiser for the extremely successful Quiz Night in October. We should also thank Sue for writing and delivering the quiz along with her able assistant, Nelson! We should also not forget Janis who helped sell the tickets for the Quiz Night, it’s lovely that despite Janis no longer being on the committee she continues to be involved by selling tickets at our open meetings. The same goes for Elizabeth, who also came off the committee this year but continues to register new members at the open meetings and keeps the booking form for any equipment which is used by groups.

We are delighted to welcome three new co-opted committee members: Ivan Jones; Steve Caunt and Sue Pringle onto the committee. We are sadly losing quite a few long-standing committee members in May but it is lovely that we will be able to fill these rather large shoes with some new people. We will still need a few more committee members after the AGM so if you feel that you can offer some time and enthusiasm then please contact me on

Finally, although it is rather early, I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous, peaceful New Year.

Chair’s Chatter – September 2019 Newsletter

Margot Gale

This is my first chair’s chatter so I thought I should take the opportunity to introduce myself a little. We have lived in the area for over 35 years with our 2 daughters who are now both married and keep me very busy helping with our grandchildren. I taught at a local junior school for many years and I can just hear you saying, typical teacher, always having to organise everything!!!

My first month as chair proved to be quite challenging due to the sad closure of The White Lion Pub. We were all very sorry that Sergio has closed his doors as he has always been so supportive of Beeston U3A and we wish him well in his future undertakings. Happily, all the groups who lost their venues have been rehoused and hopefully are happy with their new accommodation. My thanks must go to Kathy and Anne who have really worked hard to make sure that the transition of group venues has gone as smoothly as possible.

We have been made aware that email addresses published on our public web site are available to anyone who wishes to gather email addresses for whatever purpose. We are moving towards tightening this up by using the as the main link for members of the public to find out more about our groups. We are also aware that group leader details are available elsewhere on the web site, and we are working towards having greater security installed. You can of course continue to contact your group leaders using the personal email address that is already known to you.

Finally, I am putting a plea out for some additional volunteers to come forward to stand as committee members. We have three available places for members to be co-opted on to the committee, in the initial period to just gain a better understanding of how Beeston U3A functions, and to see where their skills would best fit into the committee roles. As we grow larger it is so much easier for us to work in teams and as some of the committee are coming to the end of their tenure, we will need members to shadow the roles with the view of taking them over in the future. If you feel you would like to have some more information about the committee roles and responsibilities, please contact me at

Margot Gale

Chair’s Chatter – March 2019 Newsletter

Somewhat belatedly a very Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2019 is happy and healthy.

As many of you will know Margot and I have been part of the Notts support group responsible for setting up Wollaton U3A. The group is now up and running and the Inaugural Meeting, attended by well over 200 people, was very successful. They are meeting at 10am on the 4th Tuesday of the month in St Leonards Community Centre. The steering committee has worked very hard to reach this point and Mike Johnson is the Chair. We look forward to supporting and working with them, but they will not be part of our cluster for at least a year so if you want to attend their groups you will need to join Wollaton as well as Beeston.

Many thanks to all the group leaders who attended the meeting/lunch on January 18th. We had a full agenda including a presentation on Beacon given by Celia Billau. We hope that eventually all our group leaders will use this system including the ledger. This is definitely the way forward and certainly makes life easier once people are used to it. Please remember that help is always at hand if you don’t understand how to set it up or experience any difficulty.

On the subject of Beacon thanks to the members who have renewed their membership online. We hope you found the instructions easy to follow. Again, I think this is the way forward as our membership continues to grow making the administration of renewals a bigger job each year.

Sue Blackley

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