President’s Report 2014 AGM

 Whittlesea U3A Inc. Annual General Meeting 2014

The 2014 AGM is available in the video below.  Also, on this page is the President’s Report to the AGM.

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President’s Report- 2014 AGM- Held 21/8/2014

It is good to be able to report to members that 2013/2014 has been another very successful year for Whittlesea U3A Inc. with our membership steady at 530 as of the 8th of August 2014. This is higher than last year’s corresponding figure of 517 members.

Our membership demographics show that we currently have 317 Australian born members with another 213 (nearly 40 %) born in one of 38 countries other than Australia, making Whittlesea U3A a truly multi-cultural organisation.

A breakdown of our membership by age group shows the following:-

Over 90 -1; 80/90 -17; 70/80 -171; 60/70 – 282; 50/60 – 57; under 50- 2

431 members live in the City Of Whittlesea with 99 living in 12 other municipalities, some of these 99 people are carers, relations of members or associate members, who choose to attend activities at Whittlesea U3A.

WU3A runs some 72 Classes & Activities, of which 55 are weekly, 6 are bi-weekly and 11 are monthly.

Activities are run on most days of the week, so there is always something for members to do and many members attend multiple activities.

We have 55 Volunteer Tutors and Leaders, plus several Class Representatives, all of whom do a fantastic job in keeping the various activities going.

With so many activities to hand we continue to run into problems finding suitable affordable venues to run our activities in. We hope that the City Of Whittlesea can keep providing us with additional space as our needs increase.

Unfortunately our many meetings, submissions and pleas to the COW Councillors and Officers to find WU3A a larger permanent facility to use as an Administration Headquarters, with the ability to run some classes & activities at the venue, have again not come to fruition this year. Despite many promises over the years that something is definitely being done for WU3A in this area, but again nothing has happened.

This has been going on for some years now and the Committee feels that we are just being paid lip service by Council, which is not only disappointing but also very demotivating.

At last year’s AGM I again reported that the City Of Whittlesea was evaluating available space we had identified at Peter Lalor Vocational College, which would be suitable for our purpose, with the City Of Whittlesea leasing the space from the Education Department and in turn sub-leasing it to WU3A. This was put in the form of a formal written submission from us to the Council, and followed up by a submission to a Council Finance Sub-Committee by myself.

However whilst we were constantly told that this was a work in progress, nothing tangible seems to have happened over the past 12 months, except that we recently received a progress report from City Of Whittlesea Community Services Director Mr Russell Hopkins, in relation to this matter, he told us that a tentative target date of late 2015 has now been established for the COW to take over parts of this facility, but as this is still in the feasibility study stage, nothing is definite and no agreements have been signed.

So our Administration Centre continues to be the very small office at May Road Lalor, an office which we share with other groups, lacks any storage capability, and is not totally secure.

We have in fact lost various pieces of equipment from this office over time and because we do not have exclusive use of this office and as it is not totally secure, we are unable to get insurance coverage for our equipment.

As it has done over the past 3 years your Committee has again decided to keep Annual Fees at $40 P/A for the next year, with an incremental pro rata fee charged for people who join later in the year.

This continues to represent incredible value for members and equates to less than $1 a class, thus ensuring that the maximum number of seniors can afford to participate in our activities

Naturally this organisation could not run without a strong harmonious Committee of Management, and whilst we had to make some changes in job responsibilities and portfolios, to comply with current administration needs, we always continued to operate at maximum efficiency in taking care of WU3A business. One change this year was the total redesign and revamp of the Whittlesea U3A website and the appointment of a Website Content Coordinator on the Committee with a backup person who is not on committee. The redesigned website is very comprehensive and is very user friendly.

In line with this I want to express my personal gratitude to the 2013/14 Committee of Management for their support, dedication, enthusiasm, input and managerial skills during the past 12 months. Each one of this group of unpaid volunteers has given countless hours of their own time and money during the year, to ensure the professional running of Whittlesea U3A Inc. and as a representatives of you the members.

I also want to acknowledge the many members who although not on Committee were always willing to assist us by manning the office, helping with the setting up and bumping out at classes & functions, bringing snacks to activities and by doing some of the catering at our functions.

The Committee is also especially indebted to our many Volunteer Tutors and Leaders, without whom we would be unable to operate. Their knowledge, patience and expertise is amazing, especially as most are not trained teachers but peer educators with a skill or an interesting hobby to impart . They volunteer many thousands of unpaid hours of their time in the interest of helping others.

Some of the courses & activities they run include:-

“In the Exercise/Wellbeing area”,- Chair Aerobics, Water Aerobics, Line Dancing, Latin Line Dancing , Ballroom Dancing, Yoga, Walking, Trips & Excursions, Bike Riding, Carpet Bowls, Bocce, Tai Chi, Meditation, Table Tennis, Golf, Ten Pin Bowling.

“In the IT area”-Digital Technology, Basic Computer, Intermediate Computer, Advanced Computer, Windows 8, Digital Photography, Basic & Advanced Excel, Windows Problem Solving, New IT Technologies & NBN, Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Beginner’s Family History, Advanced Family History & Genealogy.

“In the Arts/Crafts Area”- Embroidery/ Patchwork, Art Classes, Craft Classes, Singing For Joy (with the WU3A Choir), Flower Arranging, Orchid Potting & Growing.

“On the Social Side” such things as- Morning Teas, Trivia, Sunday Breakfasts, Lunches, Share a Meal, Train Trips, Language Classes Italian & Mandarin, Chess, Card Games such as Canasta & 500, Mah-jong, Scrabble, Holiday Getaway Trips &Tours, English as a second language, Book Club, Book Writing.

Furthermore we are always on the lookout for additional Tutors and Leaders with new skills to start up new classes in order to widen our curriculum and to broaden our appeal.

And as the City of Whittlesea rapidly expands northwards our Program Coordinators continue to evaluate the needs of areas such as Mernda, Laurimar, Doreen and Whittlesea Township with a view to increasing our presence in these new areas. This year we did run some additional programs in these areas including some in partnership with Whittlesea Township Community House; these were reasonably successful and we expect participation to increase as Whittlesea U3A becomes better known.

Of course Whittlesea U3A cannot run without funds; as well as membership fees we received several grants during the past year which have allowed us to purchase necessary equipment and teaching aids, as well as assisted us in paying venue rents, covering the costs involved in running the office and paying the general expenses incurred in administering our organisation.

In line with this The Committee would like to acknowledge grants received from The City of Whittlesea, The Commonwealth Government, and The Victorian Government as well as from U3A Network Victoria and Telstra Plenty Valley. We thank all of these bodies for their most valuable contributions and for their support.

This year will again see us continue to expand our IT capabilities as we graduate to newer technologies, greater capacity hardware and better software in order to cater for the larger size of our U3A and the more complex needs in administering an organisation of our size; this will necessitate us undertaking some additional expense in these areas in order to keep abreast of time, last year we decided to appoint a specialist IT Coordinator onto the Committee, this year it is our intention to form an IT Advisory Sub Committee, reporting through the IT Coordinator, which will have responsibility for advising the Committee on the most suitable equipment, systems and directions available, which would benefit Whittlesea U3A in the future.

In conclusion Whittlesea U3A’s objectives through the Committee Of Management is to administer a professionally run organisation which provides opportunities for “Seniors in the Third Age” to learn, teach, share, socialise, communicate and to give mutual support to each other in a friendly fun environment regardless of ethnicity, religion, political persuasion, ability or disability.

The Committee believes that these objectives were again met in 2013/14 !!

.Joseph P Felice

President- Whittlesea U3A Inc.


(Printing Courtesy- Andrew Giles MP – Member for Scullin.)