Spring should by now be nicely underway. Life is gently beginning to
open up – both the wildlife and our own lives..
Yesterday (mid March) I reached the grand old age of 70. I was a
bit peeved to have to share it with Mothering Sunday but there you are! It
was a lovely day with a Zoom brunch with all my family including my niece
in Australia. I then had a walk and a cream tea picnic with my sister. Its
surprising what you can do even in lock down!
Talking of which, isn’t it great to be able to start making tentative plans?
The Travel Team is working on ideas, the Theatre Groups are hoping to be
able to go to Chichester in August, my Literature Groups are planning an
outing. Next month we should be able to meet in sixes in gardens. This
edition of the Journal will be hand delivered again to those of you who
receive a hard copy and live on one of our delivery routes. The committee
is planning an event for a re-launch in October. We have decided to hold
our AGM in July on Zoom once again just to be sure things are moving
along safely. But there is a teeny glimmer of light at the end of a much
longer tunnel than we thought.
Talking of the AGM, several of us are coming to the end of our terms of
office. Sadly for me in my case. It has been a privilege to be our chair. I
hope to continue on the committee as Events Team organiser. I am
looking forward to being able to meet up again with the events team and
for them to continue the fabulous work they have done over the last few
years. BUT – and it is a big but – if we can’t get a volunteer to take on the
secretarial role then we might have to close down altogether. It is a job
that we cannot do without. It only involves 6 meetings a year, collating the
paperwork, writing the minutes and then distributing among the
committee. The whole ethos of the u3a is about how we can each
contribute to making things work so that we can fulfil our motto of Live,
Laugh, Learn. It could be a job share. Have a good think – there must be
someone out there!
Lots of warm wishes to you all.
Keep safe until we can all meet again.
Our U3A has adopted the Beacon membership system. It will significantly assist the membership secretary in his role, and other committee members will find it very useful.
You may receive emails from Tonbridge U3A with a footnote saying “This email was sent by Beacon on behalf of …”, these will have been generated from this new service.
We have made every effort to ensure that the data on the new system is accurate. If you find that you are suddenly getting (or not getting) the TAMs magazine, or experience any other issue caused by the move to the new system please contact the membership secretary (email@example.com).
Beacon provides the facility for group leaders (group organisers) to maintain details of their group (brief description, when and where it meets etc.). It can also allow group leaders to maintain a list of the members who attend their group.
Once a group leader is using Beacon they will be able to easily email all the members of their group (without having to remember to select the blind copy option). They will also be able to download a list of their members with details of their emergency contact details. This could be very useful for those groups that frequently go on trips.
Group Leaders may prefer to continue using their existing systems to manage their group. There is no obligation to use Beacon.
The current Beacon system will help our U3A in many ways. It is to be upgraded in a year or so to provide even more facilities such as the ability for members to reserve tickets to events online. More information will be circulated when these facilities become available.
The Third Age Trust’s Beacon team have a very good website describing it’s facilities at https://beacon.u3a.org.uk/
If you would like more information about Beacon or, as a group leader, would like an account on Beacon please contact the Beacon Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The committee has recently held a meeting to consider our future in the light of the current Corona Virus pandemic Items we discussed were:-
★The views of some of our Group Leaders. These ranged from those waiting for it all to be over before resuming activities; those considering alternative venues, such as gardens and those using technology such as Zoom.
★Monthly meetings and coffee mornings at The Rose & Crown. We agreed that these should be put on hold until life returns to normal.
★The possibility of starting a weekly meeting in the park where members can sit socially distanced, bringing our own chairs, coffee and cake. This could start once we are allowed to meet up in groups larger than six, possibly in a roped off area?
★We agreed that our underlying mission is to motivate our members to keep in touch. The monthly Journal plays a vital role.
★Would it be possible for groups meeting in a hall to split into smaller groups that would allow social distancing? Could table tennis be played outside?
★The Defibrillation event, French Dance and Quiz have been postponed indefinitely. Could we hold a quiz using Zoom?
★Impact on Travel. Theatre visits have been postponed until next year. The holiday in Ireland has been re-organised for 2021 and the trip to Oberammergau has been moved to 2022.
★Zoom has proved to be a very useful tool for allowing some groups to continue meeting. David Bell will prepare guidance for anyone who may wish to investigate setting this up for other groups. Lionel Austin showed us how to use whiteboards on Zoom. We warmly welcome any further suggestions you may have.
When a member wants to join a group, and has a particular access issue (perhaps they are a wheelchair user), they should contact the group organiser to discuss this. Contact details for each group are in the Handbook and on the website.
Many of our larger venues are public spaces and fully accessible (for example the Medway Hall, the Fisher Hall etc). Some larger interest groups (ukuleles, geology, industrial heritage, choir) do meet in halls, and there should be no access problem in these cases.
However, where group meetings are held in members’ homes, while every effort is made to overcome difficulties, access will of necessity depend on practicality, space and facilities available.
If this issue affects you, then please let us know at email@example.com
A chance for just a chat and maybe to pick up information about theatre, travel and other events, drop a suggestion into the box about a new interest group you’d like someone to start up, or an offshoot group from one that’s already full.
Come alone, or arrange to meet friends there. It’s open to potential new members to find out what the U3A is about so feel free to bring a friend.
£2.50 for tea or coffee and biscuits (free drink refills!), from 10.30 am to 12 noon in the Oak Lounge at the Rose & Crown on the 3rd Friday each month.
Free parking available at the Rose & Crown.
There will be a couple of committee members at each coffee morning to welcome anyone arriving on their own. See you then.
We have added a quick link button to the Home Page. By clicking this you can rapidly access our current Journal. This makes it easy to reference, especially when you are out and about in town or on the road – if you have a smart phone.
Here is where it is on the Home Page:
Do try the top row of buttons if you have not done so previously. The All Groups takes you to a page of all the major group titles and then you can click the one of interest to take you directly there.
Note: You will need to log in to access the destination pages for these two buttons, unless you have saved your password. (Do not save your password if your device is shared with someone you should not trust!)
The National (England & Wales) Trading Standards Scam Team
helps to tackle mass marketing scams and to disrupt the operations of the perpetrators behind mail scams. It has recently launched an initiative with Royal Mail and Trading Standards Scotland to create a new process for cancelling the contracts of companies that send fraudulent mail. So far over 6,000 items of mail have been returned as part of this operation, and more than £186,985 has been returned to victims.
Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK and the people scammed experience shame and isolation as a result. Phone and internet scams are increasing and all need to be aware of them. If you are unsure of a phone call put it straight down.
1. A phone call purporting to be from Windows or Microsoft is a SCAM. Neither company will call you suggesting you have a problem. You may be asked to allow them remote access to your computer – NEVER ALLOW REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER. If you are scammed in this way call 0300 123 2040 or report it to https://actionfraud-az-microsoft-frauds .
2. If you receive a phone call from the Inland Revenue – it is a SCAM. The caller will tell you that you owe tax going back years and it must be paid immediately and they do not send letters as it is all communication by phone only. They ask you to pay immediately or you will start incurring hefty fines. They want you to pay by card over the phone. DON’T – IT IS A SCAM. The Inland Revenue will only send you a letter on inland revenue paper with the appropriate headings and your personal number.
KEEP SAFE AND ALWAYS PUT THE PHONE DOWN ON UNUSUAL PHONE CALLS AND DELETE UNKNOWN EMAILS WITHOUT OPENING THEM.
We have had a couple of calls into the advice line regarding U3As who have experienced financial related scams.
One of these involved a degree of sophistication whereby the email seemingly came from a hotel where the U3A was due to hold an event resulting in the U3A making their payment to a fraudulent account. Another U3A received an email via its website also requesting a payment which they did not make.
Please be vigilant in respect of any requests for payment that come via email and double check that these have been sent from the appropriate source before making any payments.
Fraud and scams
The Metropolitan Police Service FALCON unit (Fraud and Linked Crime Online) have created resources which are freely available to the public to assist in raising awareness about Scams and Fraud.
Available for download for free are:
- Little Book of Big Scams (3rd Edition) (4th Edition is now available)
- Little Book of Cyber Scams
- Little Leaflet of Cyber Mistakes
There are also 5 short animated videos to help raise awareness with regards to defending yourself against online crime:
In the next few weeks, five more will be released including Computer Software Fraud, Payment Fraud and Romance Fraud and Money.
Tonbridge U3A Website: Over a period of time we have had a number of reports of problems with logging in or forced logouts. We seem to be able to nail this down. First step when it comes to not being able to login is to contact Web Admin and check your login details work and the web team can log you in.
If you login and then then get forced off, it may be because your browser has a saved login for the site, and the password has been changed. You may need to delete the saved passwords.
For help to do this if your browser is Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari,Opera: click on How to Remove a Saved Password from a Browser : TechWeb …
For help if your browser is MS Edge, click here
Don’t forget, the best way to get a problem fixed starts with an email to Web Admin.
The latest newsletter is emailed direct to the ‘opt in’ list of U3A members. It is packed full of news from U3As, news from the Trust, including upcoming events and new subject advisers and much more.
You can view all back copies and sign up to receive it direct on the National U3A website https://u3a.org.uk/about/
We are extremely grateful for photographic contributions and want to encourage this, but there have been some legal implications of copyright law in recent times. Some U3As have had to pay considerable payments for breach of copyright. In order to make the situation quite clear we would like to advise you of the following.
- Tonbridge U3A expects that the provider does own copyright to the photograph, that is the provider has taken the photograph.
- Members are advised that when they contribute photographs for use on the website or the Journal that they are aware that we assume they are passing the copyright to Tonbridge U3A for free.
- Alternatively they may retain the copyright but are assumed to give Tonbridge U3A permission to use the photographs for free.
- In this case they should notify us that such is their wish and ensure that they have our acknowledgement from Tonbridge U3A of the notification.
- If they wish to withdraw the agreement, they should give use reasonable notice of that fact.
The Third Age Trust has produced an informative booklet which gives an overview of its insurance policy including Frequently Asked Questions. This can be found on their website at www.u3a.org.uk.
You will need to log on to the members area, then click onto the Document Downloads icon. Scroll down and click onto Reference Documents, then scroll down to find insurance information under ‘Information Booklets’ or, below that, the insurance cover note.