Issue 42

August 2012






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Chairman’s  Address  Summer 2012

Our annual Open Event and AGM are scheduled to be held at the Cairn Hotel on Friday 21 September.

At that time we are, once again, likely to receive a substantial influx of new members. As we plan to welcome them, we have to consider how our membership is changing and what challenges this will place on us all, not just the committee.

I have been trying recently to draw out from the national and local scene some information that might help to inform our future plans.

The Third Age Trust tells us that over 50 U3As are forming each year and that our national membership could well top 400,000 in the next few years.

Many older people are now retiring earlier and are keen to re-engage in a wide range of educational activities. They also wish to widen their socializing opportunities. However, many are keen to save rather than to spend money.

The picture emerging suggests we might be wise to:

Continue and deepen our support for formation of new     U3As in our neighbourhood.

Encourage the formation of a wider array of group activities.

Stimulate active membership—all of us learners and teachers.

Develop further social activities.

Continue efficiency and economy measures to hold subscriptions at a modest level for the foreseeable future.

Most importantly, we need to demonstrate a warm welcome at all our events to new members as they seek to engage in our sharing of educational, creative and leisure activities.

I do hope you will manage to enjoy the summer and I look forward to seeing you, tanned and refreshed from the British sunshine, in  September !

Best wishes

David W Davies


NHS Seminar Report

In the last issue of Stray News we were told about an NHS Seminar.  Sue Lamb and I decided to go.  It was at The Cairn Hotel and concerned the big changes which are about to take place in the NHS.  It was being hosted by The Council for Voluntary Services.

The programme for the event was emailed to me and the whole contained many acronyms most of which were unfamiliar but seemed to show that it would be a gathering of voluntary sector representatives (I wasn’t sure where the U3A fitted in to this).

The objectives were:

To give an up to date briefing on NHS reorganisation in the Harrogate District.

For voluntary and community representatives to learn about future commissioning and provision of health care.

Health and local government representatives to learn more about the current potential role of the voluntary sector in healthcare.

Clinical commissioning groups will replace the present trusts.  19 GP practice groups have signed up to be a clinical commissioning group for this area (C.C.G).  They will redesign services to improve them for patients.

Without going into great detail, the main focus was updates for the voluntary sector on improving services in the community.

During the second part of the morning, there were round table discussions on how the voluntary sector can contribute more.  I got the distinct impression that funds are a problem!

My overwhelming feel is that after much reorganisation, the voluntary sector will be asked to play a greater role in community health care.  It is certainly complex.  I recommend a look at the web site: (Joint Strategic Heads Assessment.

There are over 400 voluntary organisations in the Harrogate District.

Margaret Douglas