Hello everyone! I hope you are all coping with lockdown and keeping well.
I am only really confirming what you already know, but it is an opportunity to keep in touch.
It is difficult to know when we will be able to resume our days out; that will depend on the social distancing restrictions. At present there are very few places open for us to visit and of course social distancing is impossible on a coach. At the very least we would probably have to hire three coaches where we would normally only hire one, making it a very expensive day out, totally impracticable.
As you all know, the whole of this year's summer programme was cancelled – fortunately before anyone had paid any deposits – so with a few adjustments this does at least mean that we shall have a programme for days out next summer, if nothing else!
The two remaining holidays planned for this year have been postponed until next year. The North Devon holiday, which included a visit to Lundy Island, is now planned for July 1st 2021, exactly one year later. The holiday to Northern Cyprus has also been postponed until April next year; hopefully that will be on April 14th – I am just waiting for confirmation of that. All deposits will be carried forward for both holidays
Everyone has been refunded the money they paid for Phantom of the Opera, and everyone who paid in full for the day out to Halifax has also been refunded. If you had only paid a deposit for Halifax, that will be refunded when we can resume our meetings.
Our U3A kindly made the refunds for Phantom of the Opera without waiting until we received the refund from ATG theatres. I am pleased to say that we have now received our money. We had also paid for tickets for the RSC theatre in Stratford for September and they were among the outings we would have booked in March. I have been notified that this will be refunded shortly. We have been fortunate indeed not to have lost any money.
Finally, on a personal note, I have decided that at the end of next summer it will be time for me to retire from being the Holidays and Outings organiser, something I have done for over 20 years. It is now far too much work for one person to do, unless they have a great deal of time to spare and don't do anything else; I feel that it needs several people to share the position. I have loved every minute (well nearly every minute) of being the Group Leader, but now it is time for others to take over.
Reading Glennis's message above, I feel this is a great time to express our gratitude to her for the amazing work that she does for us. In Alsager U3A, "Holidays and Outings" are synonymous with "Glennis" – she started arranging outings soon after our U3A was founded over twenty years ago, and from little acorns a whole forest has grown! For each trip, Glennis chooses where to go, makes the arrangements, organises the bookings, and then personally runs the excursion.
Trips and Holidays have been one of the worst affected of our activities during the lockdown, as months of preparation had simply to be set aside. However, when government advice allows, they will resume, and the good news is that Glennis is offering to continue as leader – but just for another year.
This is great, as it gives our U3A time to find other people with the ability and energy to help run our outings in the future. So our appreciation of Glennis will show if we embrace Trips and Holidays, and continue this brilliant group; for this we will need volunteers – not just one; we will need people for several different roles, to ensure the continuation of the wonderful group Glennis has created.