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Caithness U3A - First Newsletter

10th October 2011

Photograph of Caithness U3A - First Newsletter

U3A - University Of The Third Age
The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for the Universities of Third Age (U3As) in the UK. U3As are self-help, self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun.

The recently formed group in Caithness has now begun to issue a newsletter


Welcome to the first issue of the Caithness U3A Newsletter. Caithness U3A is now officially a Branch, and at the inaugural meeting on 22nd September twenty-one members were enrolled. The membership year will normally run from 1st April to 31st March. The annual subscription is 10.00, but for the current year up to 31st March 2012 it is 5.00.

Anyone who attended the first meeting on 1st September, but was unable to come to the inaugural meeting on 22nd September, and who would like to become a member can contact the Treasurer, Moira Dearness by telephone (01847 893183) or e-mail (justmoira[AT], or sign up at the next general meeting. This will be on Thursday 20th October at 2.30 pm in the West Church, Thurso.

Steering Committee

At the first meeting on 1st September a number of people volunteered to form a Steering Committee in order to get the Caithness Branch up and running. The Steering Committee will continue to organise and oversee matters until the AGM in May 2012 at which time a new committee will be nominated and duly elected.

The Steering Committee members are:
Myrtle Gilles - Chairperson
Lynne Hogben - Vice Chairperson
Fran Smith - Secretary
Moira Dearness - Treasurer
Roy Blackburn - Programme Co-ordinator
Jeanette Sinclair
Peggy Lunan

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups are being set up and will hopefully be running soon. At the first meeting on 1st September people expressed interest in a wide variety of topics for the Interest Groups. However, in order to get them started the initial number of Groups has been restricted to five and they represent those topics with the most interest expressed in them. As time goes on, and if the members wish it, then we hope that additional Groups will be started. The initial five Groups are: Italian, French, Local History, Philosophy and Book Group. Some further details are:

Italian: The Group are to meet on a Monday afternoon, how often and where will be decided at the general meeting on 20th October. There are potentially thirteen members of the Group with a vast range of skills and knowledge of Italian, from absolute beginners to people with more understanding of the language.

French: The French Conversation group have agreed to meet fortnightly on a Thursday afternoon. The aim is to encourage each other to improve our French and make language learning fun.

Local History: Currently 12 members have 'signed -up' for the Group and there are afurther5 with an interest in history. If members of the Group wish it we caninclude more general history, or possibly start a separate sub-group on History. At the general meeting on 20th October it is hoped we can have a quick get together and set dates and a venue for meetings of the Group. The general meeting on 20th October will includea talk on local history by Barbara Hiddleston.

Philosophy: The leader of this Group is Ronnie Johnstone. Philosophy is a vast area with many different facets and one of the first tasks of the Group will be to decide the future direction. To assist in this decision the first meeting will be a taster session which Ronnie has suggested covers the Summer riots in England since there are many issues associated with this topic. It is planned to have a get together at the general meeting on 20th October and take it from there.

Book Group: The leader of the Book Group is Morag Mitchell who has received thirteen enquiries about membership, twelve from Thurso and one from Wick. A meeting has been arranged at Morag's home for Thursday 13th at 2.30 pm when possible venues, date, time and frequency of meetings will be discussed. A number of possible venues have been researched already. It is hoped that the Group willagree on a list of proposed books to be read and also a few volunteer members willing to lead the discussion at each session.

Programme for General Meetings

A draft programme of talks has been put together for each of the general meetings over the next 12 months. This programme is given below and it is hoped that you will be able to support it. There has been a conscious effort to hold some of the meetings in Wick.

22 Sep 2011
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
Inaugural Meeting

20 Oct 2011
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
Local History
Barbara Hiddleston

17 Nov 2011
2.30 pm
Mike Lunan

8 March 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
Ronnie Johnstone

5 April 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
Lyn Leet

3 May 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
AGM + Something Choral
Camilla Elder

31 May 2012
2.30 pm

28 June 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church

26 July 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church

24 Aug 2012
2.30 pm
Castlehill Heritage Centre
Muriel Murray

20 Sept 2012
2.30 pm
Thurso West Church
Caithness Field
Geoff Leet

If you have any queries or comments regarding the Caithness U3A please feel free to contact any member of the Steering Committee who will be happy to discuss them with you.

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