What are Interest Groups?
Interest Groups are the heart of the U3A movement and are a core activity for most branches including our own. Basically, a group of members identifies a subject or activity in which they have a common interest and arrange to meet regularly to enjoy this interest in the company of others. No qualifications are required or offered; however some members may have specific knowledge or expertise in a particular subject.
How are Interest Groups organised?
One member of our committee serves as the Interest Group Co-ordinator (IGC) who keeps track of the groups and their membership, handles requests from members to join existing groups and helps members who have ideas for setting up new groups. Each group has one member designated as a Group Convener who is responsible for convening meetings and communicating with group members.
How do I join an Interest Group?
All requests to join a group must go through the IGC. New members select up to three options on the application form which is passed to the ICG who will contact the member to discuss availability etc. The Group Convener is then asked to invite the new member to join. Existing members can contact the ICG direct if they want to join a group.
Where do I find information on Interest Groups?
Our monthly newsletter gives a full listing of the groups with a calendar of meeting dates for that month. A summary of all groups is located on our website at www.thamesidewallingfordu3a.org/groups-page
Where are they held?
Most group meetings are held in members’ homes; this could be the home of the Group Convener or may be rotated among members. This can be a limiting factor on the size of each group. Those groups with special requirements for space and facilities (e.g. Singing for Fun, and Craft) hire community rooms for which each member pays a small fee.
How is a new Interest Group set up?
The ICG co-ordinates any initiative to set up a new Interest Group. The members may be on a waiting list for a group that is already full, or a member may have an idea for an entirely new group. There are 3 main criteria:
Someone must volunteer to be the Group Convener
There are sufficient members to make the Group viable
A suitable day of the month to meet can be found to suit all or most of the members.