President’s Message

I had just picked up our new U3AM brochure and was admiring the range of our offerings for 2024 when it struck me that there is not one paid person behind what is a medium sized organisation. We have over 900 formal volunteers but every one of our 1600 members assists in some fashion. I continue to be amazed at how efficiently the organisation operates – long may this continue.

There are two volunteers I wish to specifically mention by name: they are Liew Staras and Frances Langdon. Liew and Frances have each served on the Newsletter Editorial Committee for more than 14 years and are stepping down to have some of their own time. I pass on sincere thanks and best wishes to both for a superb job.

Thinking of the brochure, we need to remember that classes are still three months away and we can expect changes and modifications. These changes will appear on our website and take precedence over the brochure, so please log on regularly for updates.

Manningham Council is undergoing some structural changes which may affect some of our members. Council is withdrawing from their hands-on role in aged care and passing on that function to external providers. However, as Manningham has the oldest average age of residents in Victoria, it has committed to spending the same amount on this cohort.

To enable community input, they have restructured their Advisory Committees, one of which is Healthy Aging, and I have submitted a personal expression of interest to serve on this body to keep U3AM at the forefront. I will keep you informed.

Another Council statistic which should have a positive impact on us in the future, is that Manningham now has the largest number of Farsi language speakers in Victoria. Farsi is spoken in many ethnic communities through the sub-continent, Persia, and East Asia. We hope to continue to have opportunities to include this group in our organisation.

We are just about to enter our enrolment period which can be a stressful time for members and volunteers alike. Please be mindful of others during this period. Remember that we each choose only three courses initially. There are no restrictions on numbers of courses from mid-January. This proved very successful for 2023 as it enabled a much broader range of members to join at least one of their favourite subjects.

I hope to have the opportunity to talk with many of you at our upcoming Unifest and Artistic Showcase events. See you there.

David McNamara