Whilst the prohibition on all Wokingham U3A face to face activities remains in place, group activities through remote meeting system such as Zoom and Skype are permitted and are activity encouraged by the committee.  There is a ‘Keeping in Touch’ page on the Wokingham U3A website which gives information on these various systems

08 April 2020
Wokingham U3A Committee

Below are copies of Emails sent by the Committee to all Members:

20th April 2020


Hello again.  Well, we’re three weeks and more into this thing, and probably only halfway, but we are doing what we can for the greater good, and inconvenient as it is, we really don’t have a choice.  So let’s peer into the crystal ball to see what we may be doing later in the year.

The National U3A Day has been postponed from 3rd June to 1st October, but also in Autumn we, Wokingham U3A, plan to have a celebratory event designed to showcase what group members have been doing during the lockdown.  And that’s what it will be called, ‘Showcase’.  

What we are hoping for, is that groups members can put together something that harks back to what we hope will be, the dark and distant days of COVID-19.  For example, screenshots of members, collages of images, songs sung via Zoom, instruments being practised upon, poems, letters, photographs, notes anything at all that will bring to mind all that we are doing to help each other at this time.  All and any Groups are invited to contribute, MOTO Groups can send photos of themselves, their homes, gardens. Walking Groups put in images of where they wanted to be. History Groups, why not put in images from half-prepared presentations (a trailer for next year, perhaps).  Music, singing, dancing and playing will be an integral part of the day, so what have you sung or played during lockdown that you didn’t before? It’s an open field.

We shall be writing later in more detail, once ideas have solidified, to the Convenors of those Groups who may wish to demonstrate their abilities.  The plan, such as it is at this time, and please don’t forget we’re having to do this remotely as well, will be to hire a hall, possibly St Crispin’s, with Groups represented at tables or stalls.  It’s large space, so performing groups, have no fear!

This will be a real opportunity for everyone to get together once again, renew acquaintances and have a good time. 

In fact, something for us all to look forward to.

With Kind Regards
Ian Grainge

27th March 2020

Hello, and here I am again.  We’re into week 2 of this wretched plague now, and the news all around seems dark and uncertain, but it is, of course, a situation that no one in the world has experienced before, so if you’re feeling worried, the rest of the world is worried with you, so you are not alone.

It’s like a Middle Ages siege of a castle, just like the old films, we, the heroic (and always very good-looking) defenders, whilst the evil army of the unshaven, immoral and unwashed enemy try all their dirty tricks to undermine our resolve.  But we will be strong, – just beware of the Trojan Horse (I know it was not Middle Ages, but I’m trying to be upbeat and positive here).

Outside my window now, the sun shines and Spring is almost here.  I used to pace my year by sporting events – Spring was the London Marathon, then the Grand National, then the Boat Race, then the Cup Final and so on, but now there’s just the TV, and aren’t they just loving dwelling on the doom and gloom?  Where’s the positivity?

But we at Wokingham U3A are doing what we can to keep you abreast of what’s going on in our world. Your Convenors are being asked to make even greater efforts to stay in touch with group members, however that may be done, and the humble telephone landline is coming back into its own once more. Stay in touch with your fellow group members if you can and don’t be ashamed to use the good offices of neighbours.  If there’s one good thing to come out of this, it’s that ‘neighbourliness’ has ceased to be a forgotten word.

We’ll be sending out advice regarding how to set up video conferencing for meetings or just for group chats, and if you want to continue some distance learning, there are lots of free web based self study courses available on the internet to keep you interested.  Click here to have a look at the Other Education Resources section on our Website.

The BBC has brought out a guide to ‘How to video call my family’ for more information on that click here, and try it out, what can you lose?

If you haven’t already signed up to receive the Third Age Trust Newsletter why not do so?  It’s free and another way of seeing how the outside world of U3As are getting on.  For more information on how to sign up click here.

In addition, our April Newsletter will be posted to all households next week. It will be in glorious colour and is full of interesting articles, news and reviews – Look out for it.

If you will permit a divergence from this advice, I have some empathy with those living on your own, and forgive me if I now stray into the situation that my wife and I find ourselves. Our daughter is single, early 40s very fit and lives alone – with a cat. Actually, the cat lives with its own personal servant. She was our designated ‘emergency fetcher and carrier’ should anything occur. However, she has an ‘underlying medical condition’ (isn’t it astonishing how some phrases, never previously of particular interest, now seem to be harbingers of doom), and has received one of the 1.5 million ‘stay at home or else’ letters. She can’t leave the house or garden, she can’t go to the shops, can’t go for a walk, nothing.  So, our situation is flipped on its head.  My wife and I are the ‘emergency fetchers and carriers’, which, of course, we do with pleasure.  But she finds it hard, so, as I say, I do have an inkling of how those of you living alone must feel.

It’s important to try to be positive, – sometimes we wait for others to make the first move, but now is not the time for reticence.  Give someone a call, someone you haven’t spoken to for a while, they might welcome a communication as much as we all do, and after all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Keep upbeat if you can.  My mother had a saying ‘Tomorrow is also a day’, – and it is, – we will see Summer together.

With kind regards

Ian Grainge


20th March 2020

Good Evening to you all,

Here we are, almost one week into this wholly unexpected battle that we face, with panic-buying rife, hospitals turning away patients, holidays cancelled, stock market looking like the Doomsday Book, but we’re still here, and we will still be here when it has all passed over.

I wrote to you on behalf of the Committee earlier this week setting out the immediate actions we had been advised to take, and our COBRA section met again yesterday (that’s all of us, by the way). We met via Zoom (a bit like Skype), which is new to me, but it worked. There in plain sight, were the smiling faces of all Committee members listening and putting forward their ideas as to how best to keep things going during this crisis. I commend this sort of system to you, – have a practice.

We’re working on various initiatives that will help you all stay in touch and, wherever possible, keep your Groups in contact with each other. When we have tested these, I’ll be in touch again with further advice from our technological wizards.

This is a moveable feast, – we’re in uncharted waters – mix whatever metaphor you like, but we, the Committee, are doing what we can to keep you up to date with what is, what may be, or what is not possible, and there will be many more communications from us in this vein.

Convenors will be getting a separate briefing next week, largely on the subject of inter-Group member communication, so keep your eyes open for that.

In the meantime, try to be happy and keep healthy and well.

Kind Regards

Ian Grainge


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