You have heard about the restrictions announced by the Government. This will have a serious impact on the U3A while the emergency lasts, so we are writing to tell you what we know:
1. The virus may only be fatal in less than 3% of the general population, but it can be deeply unpleasant, and the fatality rate is higher still for those classed as ‘vulnerable’ (which means most of us) and those with ‘underlying health issues’ (which is quite a lot of us). So we must all take it seriously.
2. The restrictions. The Government have announced a ‘voluntary’ ban on “unnecessary” gatherings. They are also advising that the over-70s and others who are considered more vulnerable should be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.”
This advice means that a great deal of our usual activity has had to be suspended “until further notice”. This includes the AGM.
The April Day Trip is cancelled and Vour and Carol will review future trips nearer the time.
There is obviously a question mark over the planned Holiday to Torquay in April. The holiday group leaders are waiting to see if Daish’s cancel. If Daish cancel the holiday we will have more chance of getting a refund.
3. Group meetings are very much a matter for the Leaders and Members. We will not make any blanket decision because Groups vary so much. Outdoor activities such as walking have quite a low risk attached, provided precautions are taken. Indeed the Government announcement itself says that people self-isolating for whatever reason may leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others.”
4. Support and Communication.
Email is almost indispensable these days. If you have received this message directly, then you know we can contact you direct by email, and will do so. But spare a thought for those who won’t see this message. Please pass it on by hand or by phone to any of your friends who don’t have email, and perhaps encourage them to notify us of a close contact or relative who might relay U3A messages to them on our behalf.
Also we want to make sure that every member has at least one other person that they can be in contact with at regular intervals by phone or email. Members who live alone are especially vulnerable. Loneliness is a reason why a lot of people join U3A in the first place, so for many, the prospect of months of total isolation does not bear thinking about.
We have set up a Facebook Group to help members to keep in touch with each other. Please post as many times as you can and also share your photos. Just do a Facebook search for The U3A of Highbridge.
5. Subscriptions. Several members have contacted us regarding renewal of subscriptions. Please be assured that we have extended both the closing date and the validity of your cards until after the emergency has passed, so nobody will be unintentionally ‘cut-off.’
Regarding the magazine, we will need to reorganise our distribution in some way. We have not yet come to any conclusions, so watch this space.
Please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the committee if you have any queries.
Keep safe and hope to see you all soon.