December 2022 All the Latest News for U3A Network Victoria

From the President
Many U3As will be in the midst of enrolments for 2023 and busy with the celebrations that come from another successful year.
 
I’ve been fortunate to visit U3A Melbourne City and U3A Port Phillip for their Annual General Meetings which are a celebration of all things U3A – strong committees, tutors passionate about their classes and interested members.  Both U3A presented Life Memberships to a number of their dedicated members.
 
I’ll be in Bairnsdale as this publication is sent out.  U3A Bairnsdale is celebrating their 35th Anniversary.  They have five hundred members who attend classes with more than 30 members aged in their 90s.  Their eldest member is 97.  I feel very privileged to attend and be able to share some news and ideas from these visits that may be helpful to others.
 
If you have a good news story that you’d like to share with the U3A community please email it through to me or the office.
 
On behalf of the U3A Network Victoria committee and staff I’d like to congratulate you all for building back better this year and wish you well for the start of 2023!

Have a safe and happy break! Live Learn Enjoy – Annie G

Dates for the Diary
Network Office Closes for the End of Year
Friday, 16 December 2022 at 5:00 pm

Network Office Opens for the New Year
Monday, 9 January 2023 at 9:00 am

Members Council Meeting
Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Members Council Meeting
Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Members Council Meeting
Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Network’s Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Members Council Meeting
Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Network Office End of Year Closure
Network Office will be closed from 5:00 pm on Friday, 16 December and will reopen on Monday, 9 January 2023 at 9:00 am.  

November Members Council
Materials from the November Members Council Meeting are now available. Contact Network Victoria for more details.

VMIA Insurance Presentation Update
Clarification about whether individual U3A members have coverage.

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) is the Victorian Government’s insurer and risk adviser.  The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) funds a suite of insurance products called the Community Service Organisations (CSO) Insurance Program for all incorporated U3As that are members of U3A Network Victoria.  Your U3A does not pay for this insurance, but will receive Certificates of Currency each year confirming the type and level of cover you have via the VMIA online Portal.

A VMIA representative provided a presentation at the November Members Council meeting.  The presentation included statements about whether individual U3A members are covered by the insurances, which may have caused some confusion for some attendees.

It is important to note that your Community Service Organisations Insurance Program does not cover such things as buildings, contents, vehicles, cyber or your individual members.  U3Asmay need to seek their own independent insurance advice, purchase insurance from a commercial insurer or may have insurance from another source.

It is highly recommended that you create and maintain a list of your volunteers because they are covered by these insurances.

For more information, please refer to the VMIA Guide to Insurance for U3As and the CSO page on their website.

Floods Update
Network has contacted the 57 U3As in all the Victorian flood-affected shire and council areas.  Thankfully at the time of calling, and we appreciate the situation can quickly change, most U3As were minimally impacted, with flood waters not actually entering their venues – although coming very close in some locations.  U3As reported that to the best of their knowledge, even their members’ homes seemed to have escaped being flooded, although some members had been cut off for a while.

In typical U3A-fashion, so many of those we spoke with expressed concern for other U3As ‘down-stream’.  A number of U3As were involved in their area’s emergency and recovery programs, or local fundraising efforts.

For the U3As who have been directly impacted, they have found other venues to run their activities from until they can move back in.

Here is some information on the supports available:
– Local Government Areas (LGAs) affected by the floods will have support information their websites, so please contact your Shire or Council
– Links to supports available from the Victorian state government here. 
– NAB Foundation ($1,000 – $10,000) – more information can be found here.
– Emergency Assistance Support (for Commonwealth Bank customers) – more information here.

Living With COVID
Despite mask and vaccine mandates being lifted for many settings, the health advice is clear and recommends you:
– Wear masks in a space (indoor or outdoor) where you can’t physically distance or where there are people who may be vulnerable to COVID
– Stay home if you are feeling even slightly unwell and take a rapid antigen test (RAT)
– Keep your distance – 1.5m apart
– Avoid poorly ventilated spaces, crowded indoor settings and prolonged contact with others
– Use hand sanitiser regularly
– Keep up to date with vaccinations

Keep the following health guidance in mind: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/staying-safe  

Network Partners with nbn for Scams Awareness Week
Summary report about about cyber security online now available.

Life Saving Victoria’s Free Seniors Program
Get fit and be safe in the water this Summer. Trudy from Life Saving Victoria (LSV) hosted an online information session about their free Seniors Program.  The session was very timely as December is ‘Water Safety Month’ and people are beginning to thinking of going for a swim at the beach, the lake or a river, or the local pool as the weather hopefully heats up!

Members of U3As Altona, Werribee and Croydon who have taken part in the different elements of the program found the sessions to be fun, interactive and social.  They also found it a great opportunity to collaborate with neighbouring U3As or seniors groups to make up the 20 people needed to run the sessions.   

The program could be run as a short course with another U3A.  And your U3A does not need to have access to a beach, the local pool is a perfectly suitable for the program.

More information on the program can be found here: https://lsv.com.au/educational-programs-seniors/

Walking Football Opportunity for U3As
Join a network of U3As developing or running local Walking Football programs. U3As who were operating , or were interested in operating, a Walking Football program were invited to attend an online meeting led by Gerry Fay from U3A Whittlesea, with Football Victoria also attending.  A recording of the meeting is available in Network’s Course Coordinators private Facebook group.

This initial meeting was called to see if U3As would be interested in being part of a Walking Football support group or community of practice.  The purpose of the group would be for U3As to support each other, share ideas, future plans, upcoming events and so on.  This group would also be helpful to support U3As who are just starting to get involved in the program.  Meetings would take place via Zoom and would be supported by Network.

If your U3A is interested in finding out more about the Walking Football program or is interested in being part of this group, then please complete this form: https://forms.office.com/r/PT6s2buHtu and we will be in contact with you.

To see Walking Football in action – see this short video.

Announcing Mentoring May
Mentoring programs will be conducted in May 2023 for four courses. Network supports U3A members to have a go at running a new class at their U3A by providing guides to popular U3A courses.  These course guides have step-by step instructions on how to run the class, including discussions, slides and links to resources.  Mentoring, including demonstration of activities and teaching tips, is also available to Members wanting to run the course at their U3A next year.
 
Mentoring programs will be run in May for the following course guides:
– Understanding Friendship in Later Life
– Scribblers (art)
– First Nations
– Curious About Science

If there is someone at your U3A who might like to participate in course guide mentoring in May, they can register their interest at https://forms.office.com/r/xT487dNWdK

New Communities of Practice Announced
Share this news with your music and writing tutors. Two new Community of Practice (COPs) will be established in 2023 to create course guides to support tutors to run writing classes and music classes at their U3As.  The COPs will also provide opportunities for tutors who already lead a writing class or a music class to speak with other tutors who run similar classes.  
 
If there is someone at your U3A who might like to find out about the new COPs, they can register their interest at https://forms.office.com/r/xT487dNWdK

Free U3A Geelong Courses Offer
U3A Geelong is offering two free online courses to existing members of Victorian U3As – Online Science for Non-Scientists and Early Movie Comedy courses start in February 2023. Visit link to the list of courses provided by U3A Geelong. Visit the link to become a member with U3A Geelong.

Free U3A Darebin Course Offer
Read the Grapes of Wrath with U3A Darebin in 2023. The ‘Sometimes Readers U3A’ course offered by U3A Darebin, is open to members of other U3As at no charge.  This group is the result of an experiment during lockdown where a group of readers decided to read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment as a Facebook Group.  They read slowly – a half an hour each day.  Over time Darebin has read ten books in this way.  It has been great fun and in 2023 it is being offered as a distance class to U3A members. 

How it Works 
The Convener will set up a schedule for the reading comprising about 15 pages a day.  She will start each day with a few observations on the Facebook Page and others can add their thoughts and ideas as they see fit.  The suggestions for how this will work will be on the Facebook Page instructions.  Members of the group contribute as much or as little as they like. If the group wishes, a Zoom-based catch up will be held at the end of each book. 

The course will start 2023 with the classic Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  This is available online for free or very cheaply, from book shops and libraries, and as an audio book for those who prefer this medium.  

The link for the group is https://www.facebook.com/groups/5559797564069433

Foster Carers Urgently Needed
Mackillop Family Services has reached out to find foster carers for vulnerable young people. Network received a request from Mackillop Family Services to share the news that, due to COVID, foster carers are urgently needed.

They are calling on the community to make their home a haven for vulnerable children and young people.  There is a high demand for foster carers who can provide nurturing care and support for children in their local community.

Foster carers can come from all walks of life.  They can be working or retired, and there is no upper age limit to be eligible to be a carer.  The most essential criteria is that they care, can provide a safe an nurturing home, and have room in their home to support a vulnerable child or sibling group.

Mackillop supports foster carers with comprehensive training, ongoing advice, respite care and an around the clock helpline.

If you think this is a role for you, a family member or U3A friend then call Mackillop on 1300 791 677 or visit www.mackillop.org.au/fostercare for further information or to make an enquiry.

Source: U3A Network Victoria – December 2022 News U3A Network Victoria – All rights reserved