Seaham Harbour U3A Annual Report 2012

Seaham Harbour U3A has been in existence for 2 years. In that time our membership has steadily grown from a handful of interested people to a vibrant membership of 113.

Although the increase is exceedingly encouraging we do not measure our success by numbers alone. Our priority continues to be the quality of experience on offer. During the past year this has been demonstrated through wide ranging opportunities we have been able to access. Participation in 16 interest groups, social occasions, local, regional and national events are an indication of our enthusiasm. Speakers at our monthly meetings have provided an interesting and thought provoking range of topics.

A major strength of Seaham Harbour U3A is all the people involved. A great sense of humor pervades everything we do. A core of dedicated people including the Steering Group and Interest Group Leaders, have worked tirelessly to provide stimulating and varied activities; the emphasis being on an even balance of social interaction and learning.

During the last year we have moved from Martino’s, where the exorbitant cost became prohibitive, to Dow House. We have settled well into our new accommodation which is centrally placed in Seaham.

Attendance at monthly meetings is usually between 70 to 75 people. As a percentage of our full membership this is higher than the average UK participation rate. The down side is that at times it can place pressure on space available and limit the number of new members who can join. Thus far we have been able to manage the situation.

We now have a website which has moved us further into the technological age. Although in its infancy it already has much information. One of our aims for the coming year is to add even more. All members can make a written contribution to this via the Steering Group.

Whilst on the subject of writing we have had a feature in the national U3A Magazine and one in the Northumbria Messenger. Congratulations to Bill Coates, Carol Hindmarsh and Mary Coates [assisted by Alan]. We are waiting to see who will be next.

Since starting Seaham Harbour U3A it has always been my intention [shared by many others] that our organization would support the community in which we live. Local cafes, restaurants, hotels, village halls; The George Elmy Appeal has also benefited from us.

As with any organisation finance is required to keep it afloat. The philosophy of U3A is that we should be self supporting. The majority of interest groups have managed to do this through creative thinking whilst the Steering Group has been successful in ensuring sufficient funding for all our needs.

The Steering Group has continued to meet once a month [and many times in between] to review progress, plan monthly meetings, develop interest groups, manage finance, oversee membership, explore ideas for future events and projects. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the team for their continued hard work without whom Seaham Harbour U3A would not exist. My thanks also to Doreen Sissons who has recently stepped down from the group. Her contribution has been much appreciated. Incidentally at the present time in line with our constitution it is possible for 4 further members to join the Steering Group.

Seaham Harbour U3A is completely dependent on the goodwill of all members. Your personal contribution is always welcome.

We look forward to a third successful year.

Sandra Wilkinson.