Seaham Harbour U3A.

Chairman’s  Report   2014.

According to National U3A guidance every U3A must constitutionally have a stated Chairperson. I began last year’s report assuming it was the end of my term of office. It was however not to be. Yet again no one was prepared to take on the role.

After four years as Chair the time has come for me to stand down. My sincere hope is that someone will take up this position to allow Seaham Harbour U3A to continue. Imagine your diary without any U3A dates – this is the reality of the situation.

Reflecting on our achievements during the last year there is much to be proud of. The membership has continued to grow despite limitations of accommodation. At the latest count we have 129 members with a waiting list of 20. Hopefully a larger venue may be available to us in the near future. There are now 22 interest groups with ideas for a further six being developed.

The monthly meetings continue to be exceedingly well attended. Usually between 85 to 90 plus people is impressive especially when compared to other U3As. The wide range of speakers covering a variety of subjects has been a big draw.  A different leader at the front each month has added a new and valued dimension to the meetings.

During the year there have been numerous opportunities for outings and experiences both near and far organised by our group leaders. These have enhanced our learning through sheer enjoyment.

Notable firsts have included the photography group producing a sell out calendar – one of the photographs featured having won national acclaim. Our submission to the Regional RITA Competition [Research in the Third Age] came joint third. The group involved are now developing international links with Gerlingen in Germany. Don’t ever let it be said we are parochial – global is the ambition. Our evaluation to find out what members think of their U3A proved informative and positive. Giving members their say has enabled us to identify action points to support the development of Seaham Harbour U3A. The intention being to keep a vibrant ever changing organisation which meets the needs of those involved.

The regeneration of our community is very important to us and to this end supporting local charities and business continues to be a priority.

The success of Seaham Harbour U3A is due to everyone involved. It has proved to be life changing for so many as evidenced in evaluation feedback. I sincerely hope that members will not allow it to close simply because a Chair cannot be named.


Sandra Wilkinson.

May 2014.