West Pennine Villages u3a

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Newsletter (March 2023)

March 2023

Help us to help you

Our WPVu3a aims to be friendly, welcoming and inclusive.

We would like you to share your views of being a member so we can ensure we are fulfilling our ethos and improve everyone’s experience.

Over the next few weeks an email will be sent to members with a link to a short, easy survey. All responses will be anonymous.

So watch out for the email in your inbox.

A bit of housekeeping

Everyone should have had an email about the West Pennine Villages u3a AGM on April 19 at 10 am at Withnell Fold Sports and Social Club which included a Nomination Form for the election of committee members.  

Our Constitution requires us to hold an AGM in order to elect a committee of no fewer than 5 and no more than 12 members (with the ability to co-opt up to a further 3 at a later date) and to present and approve the Trustee’s report and the Accounts report. It is also designed to give all members a voice.

The Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary are willing to stand for re-election as are seven other committee members.

After this  year,  according to our constitution, many of our long serving committee members will have to change role or leave the committee.

 We would love to welcome anyone who is interested in joining the committee-either now or in the future. You could seek nomination or observe some of our committee meetings-perhaps as a ‘buddy’ for a particular role that interests you. 

 If that sounds like your thing or you’d just like to see what we get up to – have a chat with one of us or email us via the form at the bottom of the newsletter.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting. There will be refreshments and an opportunity for questions if you let us have them in advance.

Room hire fees

The Room Hire Fees for the  club are going up from £10 to £11 an hour in April  [because of energy costs] – so members should be aware that there may be small changes to the cost of groups taking place at the club. The changes are only likely to be small at the discretion of the convenor  and still represents very good value for money.

Emergency numbers

We are still missing some members’ emergency contact numbers. Can we politely request that, if you are willing to, you let the membership secretary have this detail – or maybe your group convenor.

April speaker meeting

Member Jenni Corr with her son David have agreed to give a 45 minute presentation on the work of Dance Syndrome a multi-award winning inclusive dance charity based in Accrington with a special focus on including everyone, regardless of ability. Its ethos is to empower people with learning disabilities through inclusive dance. David will be joined by a Dance Syndrome colleague.

The meeting on Wednesday, April 5, will be at Withnell Fold Sports and Social Club, with a usual 10.30 start and £2 admission to include a cuppa and biscuits.

A collection for a donation for Karen and Stephen Brooke whose “Walking the Foothills of Retirement” talk last month, raised an amazing £112 for the couple’s charity of choice “Toilet Twinning”.

Thank you everyone for your generosity.

What’s been happening this month

The Natural History group found lots of evidence that Spring has sprung

Natural History group report from Patricia

Five hopeful members of the natural history group met to look for the signs of spring along the Withnell Nature Reserve after first visiting Norma’s pond which was full of frog spawn ensuring the health of the local population of frogs. 
The future really does look bright. Everywhere was showing green (and red). Many trees and shrubs were in bud with leaves beginning to burst out – hazel catkins galore but you may need glasses to spot the tiny red female flowers.  
Red? Early in our stroll a beautiful red fungus was spotted and admired, but after the initial excitement we became quite blasé as they were everywhere. Apparently February is the best month to see these scarlet elf caps.

Group members search out the birds

More red ! The sighting of three bullfinches with their red plumage and of course several robins. Birdsong was loud and various, we wished we could identify more of the singers.

Primroses were in flower and signs of other flowers to come; wild garlic, -soon be ready to gather for culinary use, cow parsley which will make a glorious frothy shoe along the banks, vetch and marsh mallow whose flower buds were just showing.

So much to hear,  to discover and discuss along a most enjoyable stroll through this reserve enhanced by bright sunlight.

Thank you Norma for leading this walk and sharing your knowledge.

Singers get harmonious!

The Singing for Pleasure group was given the opportunity  to try  close harmony  singing last week .

Anne and Steve keen Blue Grass singers brought along guitar and ukulele  and helped accompany the group to master three songs in two-part harmony.

It was great fun  and surprisingly tuneful.

If you fancy belting out a song or two for the sheer pleasure of singing in a group contact Jayne via the Web page.

Ability to hold a note, read music or generally know anything about music  not necessary.

Calming Tai Chi

I’m sure all those who attended the Tai Chi  taster sessions – and went back for more the following week – thoroughly enjoyed this ancient traditional Chinese art form.

Teacher Steve, put us through the gentle paces of this daily exercise routine that has been practised for centuries to promote good health, well-being, enhanced mobility and balance. It really is a great way to spend an hour. The sessions are held every alternate Thursday at Withnell Community Centre from 1.30 to 2.30pm. More details here

Comedy and classics

There’s hardly a week goes by without a theatre trip or a social outing thanks to Ann and Gavin.

The Octagon’s Spring and Port Wine and Ladies Day were enjoyed by the Theatre group. The former about the trials and tribulations of teenagers growing up and no longer respecting their tyrannical father. A typical Northern family in the swinging 60s

Ascot comes to Bolton Octagon

Ladies Day was set at York Races and was about four women’s grand day out – and was a laugh a minute. There’s still a trip to Darwen for Mr Hyde and  Ann is organising another Octagon trip to see Quality Street – yes there is a link to the famous sweets.

Meanwhile the Social Group enjoyed an evening of classical music from Blackburn Symphony Orchestra in the glorious Blackburn Cathedral.

The spectacular setting for a night of classical music at Blackburn Cathedral

The next outing is to Cuckoo Gin!!

Don’t forget – if anyone needs help with a lift or can offer car sharing to outings/theatre trips, contact Gavin via the social group page.

Spring walks

As usual we are indebted to Dean for his wonderful walks pictures.

And amazingly there didn’t appear to be any rain!

It’s that way… no that way! Confusion at Pleasington?
Mud glorious mud in Pleasington
A field with a view in Parbold
A pit stop in Parbold

Coming up….

Medieval Magic

The Craft and Chat group are having a talk by two members of the John Saville Household Re-enactment society on May 8, at the Club and starts at 2pm.

They will be bringing in examples of Medieval weaving and embroidery and will show with pictures the amazing skills achieved at that time. There will be a charge to cover the cost, probably no more than £6 but could be less. It is open to any members of U3A who may be interested. Just get in touch at Craft and Chat here

Allotment call out

Spring is definitely on its way – even though the weather doesn’t always seem to agree.

So think of all those potatoes, onions and delicious soft fruits that need planting and tending. Need to swap ideas? Want some advice about that Swiss Chard? Our new allotment group is the ideal place to get the answers.

But don’t worry if you don’t have one – you can go and look at Ian’s!

Ian said he knows there are several members with allotments and the group would also be open to past, prospective, current and potential allotment holders to meet, probably on a monthly basis ( bring  a drink ) to see progress of different allotments during the growing year and to share ideas.

Interested? Send Ian a message through the Allotment page here

Dance with Mr Bublé and reveal your hidden Jane Eyre!

Fancy a bit of exercise to music? Why not try Dancercise?

We do everything from Reach for the Stars, Vogueing, some Michael Bublé, a touch of Heathcliff with Kate Bush, and the latest, a bit of Ukrainian dancing. Catherine, who also teaches Pilates, keeps it simple and while we won’t be appearing on Strictly any time soon, it’s a fantastic way to lose yourself in some dancing while exercising at the same time. It’s slower than Zumba but good fun. Come along and give it a go on Mondays from 4.15 to 5pm. Check it out on the website here

Get your dusters out...

As u3a members we all use the excellent facilities at the Withnell Sports and Social Club, be it brewing up in the kitchen, to enjoying table tennis and Pilates.

And we think we can help out a bit more – by joining a cleaning rota.

The club is run totally by volunteers and if you have a spare hour and you don’t mind a bit of housekeeping, the club would appreciate your help.

The housekeeping/cleaning rota works in pairs and takes about an hour and a half for two people. If you contact me below, I can pass on your details.

National u3a news

Don’t forget your can get all the national u3a news as well as lots of info about different courses etc at the national u3a website.

Don’t struggle

We can reserve a parking spot right next to the clubhouse for those finding it difficult to walk up. Just let us know.

Help is available

Anyone who struggles with the website can find help on easy access by clicking on the Documents section on the Welcome Page then scrolling down to the Website Accessibility Statement where there is a button for AbilityNet which gives advice on how to make your device easier to use.

We hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. If you have any contributions please contact Lynn using the form below.


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