Ian Sinclair, Blossomfield (Solihull) U3A.
I am a founder member, a past Chairman, and now the Education and Development
Contact for the West Midlands (of England) with special responsibility
for the Solihull Cluster of U3A's.
1. Blossomfield is named after a district in the Metropolitan
Borough of Solihull - Solihull lies between Birmingham & Coventry
in the West Midlands of England, and has a population of nearly a quarter
of a million people.
There are now 10 U3A's in the Solihull Cluster, and, in the past months,
I have been very busy in the formation of a new U3A in Solihull, probably
to be called Solihull Central (so far, we have over 130 on the enquirers
list) . This means we will cater for nearly 1,400 U3A members within
the Cluster area of Solihull.
numbers Blossomfield was founded nearly 10 years ago & now has
a membership of 115, which is determined by the capacity of our meeting
The practice within the Solihull Cluster is to keep our U3A's on a manageable
human scale, which is primarily determined by the capacity of the meeting
places. Thus, most of the U3A's within the Cluster are limited to about
Blossomfield has a monthly core meeting, on the first Monday afternoon
of the month. This is usually attended by between 80- 90% of the membership.
It is made clear that members are expected to attend regularly, that
such membership is a privilege, and members should try to attend unless
they have a "good excuse".
In Solihull, we
have a wide range of societies which are open to the general public,
and so our U3A only seeks to provide activites where the needs are not
met in the wider community.
In Blossomfield, we have Activity Groups, which usually meet at least
once a month - examples are;- art appreciation, books, computers, current
affairs, family history, French, garden visits, history, literature,
Local Studies (2 groups), music appreciation, painting, rambling.
4. What I like. Blossomfield is a very varied, mixed, caring
and interesting group of friends, where almost everyone does something
constructive towards the running of the U3A, usually by leading meetings
or groups, or being responsible for different activities. We share jobs
around, with major offices changing usually every two years. We keep
the numbers to a limit where it is possible to know every member personally,
and we aim to include every member in a group and in an active capacity.
5. Personal message. I have been involved in U3A's ( Blossomfield
& Dorridge) for some 14 or so years, and also I have enjoyed attending
an Annual Conference & a Summer School, and also meetings with other
EDC's. There are so many opportunities there for participation, especially
as there is such a great cameraderie. My wife & I also lecture regularly
on cruise ships and we are always delighted to find other interesting
U3A members on those cruises. U3A certainly deserves to be one of the
fastest growing groups for retired people in GB - long may such united