View this email in your browser

Edition 13 - 15/07/2020

This bulletin is published by U3A Network Victoria for
the use of the U3A movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Message from Network's President

Dear Member U3As

We are back in lockdown in our metro U3As and some nearby areas, with concern and some fear in other U3As in our State.  I think lockdown is harder the second time.  In March, we were all affected together, and really, we were not sure what our future was on a national scale.  I think it is harder this time because a month ago in June we thought we had come through the worst and we saw a brighter future ahead – still many challenges, but we focussed on coming back.  Now, we all face the reality that our up-and-down world of selective borders and iso may last for a long, long time.
Many U3A office bearers and administrators have expressed to us at Network their confusion and even depression at the possibility of an unending topsy turvy social and medical world.  Many U3As are uncertain about their financial status too and how their members will feel at enrolment time later this year.   I continue to say to my own team and to all Member U3As that we can only do our best – we cannot control or predict our future, but we can remain flexible and keep a sense of perspective on what we can offer. 
Network is reviewing now our 2020 - 2021 operational plan to take account of this situation.  Some planned activities would be less effective in an environment where we remain in lockdown or semi-lockdown.  Some plans may have to be postponed.  I know that most U3As are taking this pragmatic step of planning to come back to face to face and also planning for a changed future.  There are some opportunities too. 
The COVID Innovations Group is one answer that Network has offered – a virtual reference library and meeting place where individuals and U3As can find resources and can share their own thoughts and experiences.  Other suggestions are the use of our regional structure – or even, geography-based sub-regional groups to meet online and share ideas, concerns, and more suggestions.  For the present, our Member Services Manager Anne Grigg will continue to lead Network’s assistance to U3As, so please do not hesitate to talk with her or email her.
At the same time, many of you know that Anne will be leaving us in a few weeks.  I want to say personally how much I have valued Anne’s contributions to our movement over several years as Network Secretary, then Development and Support Officer, and now as Member Services Manager.  In addition, Anne has contributed enormously at her own U3A at Kingston.  Hers are big shoes to fill, and Network is moving quickly to have a replacement in this role in time for some handover. 
What Network is Doing Now

  • Building the COVID Innovations Group site – see article in the last edition or contact Anne Grigg for more information
  • Reviewing our plans for 2020 - 2021 to take account of continued impacts and some opportunities from the COVID pandemic
  • Scheduling further Zoom work within the Go Online project – see article elsewhere in this issue
What U3As Can Do
  • Keep up regular contact with all your members as best you can, including those not on digital communication lists
  • Continue with planning for the rest of 2020 and for the 2021 education year, maintaining flexibility as our COVID situation alters
  • Talk to us at Network or talk with other U3As about your challenges and concerns

Susan Webster
President, U3A Network Victoria

Dates for the Diary

Friday, 24 July - U-MAS Session on Setting up a Training Environment

Wednesday, 29 July - Marketing Meeting - More information is available elsewhere in the bulletin

Friday, 7 August - U-MAS Session on Name Badge Templates

Wednesday, 16 September – Members Council, held in conjunction with Network’s Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, 29 September – U-MAS Users Group

Wednesday, 18 November – Members Council

Click here for the Regional Meeting Schedule as at July 2020.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Our Secretary's Section

Some updates from Network Secretary, Carol Neumann...
  • Network Annual General Meeting (AGM): Our AGM is fast approaching and this year will be held on Wednesday, 16 September.  We are planning for the AGM, and the Council Meeting which follows, to be both conducted online via Zoom.  As there will also be a requirement for voting at the AGM, the processes this year will be a little different to prior years. It will be important to have updated details of your Delegate in NMDB as they are able to vote at the meeting.  So if your Delegate has changed, or you have not yet confirmed a Delegate, it would be timely to give this some consideration to this role and update the details in NMDB.  More information about the process will be available early next month
  • Committee vacancies:  Network Committee is currently carrying three vacancies and there are also Committee members whose terms expire at the upcoming AGM or who are choosing to stand down.  The positions of President, Vice President and Secretary are all in this situation.  If you are interested in the possibility of joining the Committee and would like to know more about what is involved, you are welcome to contact any of the current Committee members or let the office know and someone from the Committee will be in contact

Technology Corner


The Data Privacy and Security Project (DPS) workshop was held on 30 June with 86 attendees.  This was an online workshop including use of attendee polling to obtain feedback on some key aspects of data privacy and security at Member U3As.  For instance, 33 per cent of attendees polled that they use paper-based systems to run their membership management and enrolment functions. 
Speakers at the workshop noted that the greatest risk to data privacy and security is most likely to be our own internal procedures and practices, with public display of passwords and sharing of passwords among the easiest ways for an organisation to lose control of its data.  Speaker Susan Webster noted that the DPS project is as much about a group taking active control of its data and its practices as it is about technology solutions.  “This is a change management project,” she said.  “We all need to be more aware of our responsibilities and our ownership of risks to data privacy and to general security.  This is a risk mitigation exercise.”
Survey forms on the workshop are being filled in now by participants, and a drop-in reference centre and meeting forum are being built for those wanting to discuss next steps. 



Fees and Refunds

Fees and Refunds have been a topic across all U3As in the past few weeks.  This article attempts to describe what is happening across Victorian U3As.  We welcome any further thoughts and ideas.
In setting fees each year a U3A budgets carefully for best outcomes for its members and to remain solvent.  Consideration is given to income through membership fees, grants and so on, and expenditure through venue hire, utilities, class costs and cleaning. This task ranges from fairly straightforward to very complex depending on the range of offerings and venues.
COVID-19 has seen many local Councils reduce or waive their rent for between six to 12 months and, of course, utility costs will be down this year.
On the other hand, when U3As return to face to face classes, cleaning costs may increase. Again, some local Councils are covering cleaning costs in all U3A venues, whilst some U3As will need to cover the increased costs of all cleaning.
A consideration of these elements is necessary when considering how your U3A will approach refunds and fees structures.
There seems to have been very few requests for refunds from U3A members.  Where members have requested a refund, it has either been provided to them or they have been offered a reduced fee for 2021.  Discretion has been used due to the person's personal circumstances.
Many U3As feel they have offered less service to their members in 2020 because of the suspension of face to face activities.   Some U3As are offering a reduced fee for 2021 for renewing members and a full fee for new members.
Some U3As are offering renewing members free membership for 2021.
In one U3A Region where members often join more than one U3A, the U3As have agreed to a similar policy across the region. The U3As felt consistency in approach helped support their purposes.
Fees and your AGM
Please check your Rules or Constitution to see what is said about setting fees.  If you have the Model Rules (2012), it will say:

At each annual general meeting, the Association must determine—
                               (a) The amount of the annual subscription (if any) for the following financial year
If you have your own Rules you may have changed to a rule like this:

The Committee must determine -
  1. The amount of the annual membership fee and fee on joining (if any) for the following calendar year

If the timing of your AGM does not fit in well with your U3A’s attempts to accommodate less face to face activity or reduced face to face activity, it is possible for the committee to move a motion to refund in advance a portion of the fee for returning members.  This is really a question of wording your motion to take account of the rules of your organisation.
Please use the COVID Innovation Team site to share your own thoughts and any questions about the fees situation. To join the COVID Innovation Team, email Member Services Manager at

COVID-19 Updated Advice on Wearing Masks

You may have seen the Victorian Premier and Chief Health Officer talk about the need for adults to wear cloth face masks when visiting a public place in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire when it is difficult to keep 1.5 metres distance from others.  This change is due to the higher rates of community transmission in recent days.  It is an additional measure that will help stop the spread of coronavirus.

While the recommendation is for adults aged 18 years and over, families and carers can make their own decisions about whether children should wear a face mask. However, children younger than two should never wear a mask.

Also, please keep checking the Victorian Government's regulations here for up to date information.


More Queen's Birthday Honours

Congratulations to U3A Hawthorn member, Dr Ian Sare, on being awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June.  He was awarded this honour for significant service to science and technology, to research, and to national security.

 A copy of his citation can be found here:
We are always excited to hear about U3A member successes so please get in touch with Network Office if any of your members were also given an award in this year's Honours.


Grants Awarded to Member U3As

Network announced three grant opportunities earlier this year.  They were:
  • Tutor Recruitment Grants
  • Innovative Course Design 
  • Supporting Social Connections

In addition, Network announced that Zoom Pro Licence reimbursements were also available to each U3A through the Go Online Project.

Tutor Recruitment Grants were awarded to:
  • Hobsons Bay Williamstown
  • Yarram
  • Stawell and District
  • Kerang and District
  • Mount Dandenong and District
  • Mallacoota and District

Innovative Course Design grants were awarded to:
  • Glen Eira
  • Moreland
  • Indigo
  • Mornington
  • Stawell and District

Supporting Social Connections grants were awarded to:
  • Casey
  • Corio Bay
  • Deepdene
  • Hobsons Bay - Williamstown
  • Mallacoota and District
  • Murrindindi East

Zoom Pro Licence reimbursements have been made to 25 Member U3As.  These reimbursements are available until 31 August.  Full information about the Go Online project and the Licence reimbursements can be found here.  

Network regularly makes grants funds available for Member U3As for specific projects or activities.  Bookmark the Grants section on our website, look out for email announcements and articles in future editions of our bulletins.

Review of Victoria's Regional Structure

Feedback from U3As and through the Combined Regions Group representing each of the 11 regions has suggested we might take the opportunity to review our regional structure, both in terms of the make up of regions, and other possibilities in terms of focus and purpose. 
The information below gives a background to the development of the current regional structure and why we are undertaking a review. 
Early Days
 A regional structure was established by ACFE prior to the establishment of U3A Network Victoria in the 1980s. Individual U3As applied to ACFE for funding to provide computer classes for their members and were grouped by ACFE regions which are aligned with Education Department regions.  Regional meetings were called by the ACFE Office at this point. 
As more and more autonomous U3As were set up, U3A Network Victoria was established as a liaison channel with ACFE and other funders on behalf of Member U3As.
A Development and Support Officer was first employed by U3A Network Victoria in 2008 to support Member U3As individually and through the regional structure. The structure then moved to support U3As in the breadth of the work they do in their own communities, not just focusing on the delivery of one class type.
Current structure
Regions: There are currently five rural regions and six metro regions. Until 2019 these meetings ran between one to four times per year. In 2020 this moved to two or three meetings for the year. The third meeting, in those regions that run a third, was used for a development day for committee or tutors.
Delegates from each U3A in the region select a regional representative to represent the whole region.
Combined Regions Group: This group is made up of the 11 regional representatives.  The details of the roles and practices of this group are found in the Combined Regions Handbook.  It meets four times per calendar year, twice by Zoom and twice in person, on or around the Members Council meetings.  The Network President and other members of  Network Committee often attend these meetings.  
Once a year all U3A are asked to contribute their information to a combined report. This report is available to all U3As and to Network.
Review of Regional Structure 2020
In looking at renewing and revival in the wake of COVID–19, it is timely to look at our regional structure to ensure best fit and best practice for all 106 Member U3As.  This review will be conducted by survey and consultation, with broad based with input from U3As, the Combined Regions Group, from the U3A Network Victoria Committee and from staff involved in regional work.
The survey is being developed by the Member Services Manager in consultation with the Network Committee, the Chair of the Combined Regions Group and staff representatives.
A report will be compiled for discussion and decision-making.  We look forward to your support and input
Anne Grigg
Member Services Manager

Marketers Meeting

We have scheduled an initial get together of those who have responsibility for marketing within their U3As.
  1. Challenges we face in 2020 - 2021 - Retaining current members and attracting new ones
  2. New tools - Editable banner and trifold brochure
  3. Update on the use of Facebook
  4. Our cinema ad and video
  5. Ads with Seniors Card – Welcome Pack and eNews
  6. Website template
  7. Case study of successful marketing  - Port Fairy
  8. Next steps - Discussion
All those identified during our recent marketing survey as responsible for marketing have been invited.  Others are free to join.  Contact Network's Marketing Convenor, Russell Huntington, via this email address


Dealing with Challenging Situations - Now Available

During the online workshop series, we mentioned that the publication of the supporting materials from this project on our website was imminent.  During lockdown you may have time to review your policies and procedures so the information has been made available here.

The official launch of this work will take place at the U3A Network Victoria Annual General Meeting in September.

Russell Huntington
Network Committee Member

Ballarat's Bushwalking Balladeers!


This year, the 38th Victorian Seniors festival was moved online, through performances, zoom recorded interviews and story-telling.   From May through to October 2020 they are posting video performances and interviews on a weekly basis. From July through October they are posting radio entertainment on a monthly basis.  With physical distancing rules in place, the video clips use technology to feature performers combining their efforts from the comfort of their own homes.  Radio content is recorded separately and put together by radio producers to adhere to physical distancing restrictions. 

This is the link to the video performances:

This is the link to the radio performances: 

A number of Victorian U3As are being considered for the Reimagined Festival.  U3A Ballarat's Bushwalkers are now being featured on the Reimagined performance pages, along with performers from across the State.  In the video posted on YouTube, the group's leader, Andrew Parker, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic putting a hold on hiking in a group inspired a lightbulb moment - resulting in socially distanced bushwalking - with some music and singing added!

The link to their Festival video can be found here.

More information about the Bushwalkers other activities can be found here:

Image: U3A Ballarat Bushwalkers

Advice on Good Practice Using Zoom


Network remains thrilled to see so many Member U3As adapting to Zoom.  At the same time, we would like to remind U3As that the sharing of Zoom Pro and Business licence details, especially usernames and passwords, is inconsistent with Zoom's Terms of Service.  The exception is if your U3A has a licence in the U3A name attached to a named U3A account - for example, user name: u3anetwork password:

We ask all U3As to comply with this condition of the licences.

If you would like further clarification about this, join Network's drop in session at 2:00 pm on Thursday, 23 July by clicking the following link

Russell Huntington
Go Online Project Leader


Super Fundraiser Wanted!

Network is forming a Fundraising subcommittee, to help increase the future financial durability of the U3A Movement. Members of the Network Committee will participate on this sub-committee.  We are seeking a Convener for the subcommittee. This will be a potentially high-profile position.  It will also be a voluntary position.
Expressions of interest are keenly sought by Network, from persons experienced in successful fundraising.  It is anticipated that the activities of the Convenor, and the subcommittee, will focus on beneficial outcomes for all U3As.
If you are interested, in the first instance, please contact U3A Network Victoria Fundraising Subcommittee Acting Secretary, Neil Head for an introductory chat via or via  Network Office. 


Annual Information Statement Extension Reminder

A reminder for Member U3As that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC) that were due to submit their 2019 Annual Information Statement (AIS) have an extension until 31 August 2020.

Almost 75 per cent of charities have already submitted their AIS. We encourage the remaining charities to submit theirs as soon as possible.

Submitting early means a faster user experience and shorter wait times if you need assistance. 

Please log in to the Charity Portal and submit the AIS as soon as possible. 

The Hon Dr Gary Johns
Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission
Share Share
Forward Forward

Contact Us

Bulletins Editor and Network Office - Tracey Swadling | (03) 9670 3659

President - Susan Webster | (03) 9670 3659

Secretary - Carol Neumann | (03) 9670 3659

Member Services Manager - Anne Grigg | (03) 9670 3659

Education Project Manager - Nellie Collier  | (03) 9670 3659

Technology Project Manager - Chris Charalambous  | (03) 9670 3659

Copyright © 2020 U3A Network Victoria, All rights reserved.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp