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Here’s some new and some not so recent news about or associated with our group

We were very pleased to be acknowledged by local media for the presentations showcasing a number of our wonderful tutors in celebration of our 30 years in Newcastle U3A. These included:  Newcastle’s Forgotten Diva, Newcastle Herald 

By partnering with the Newcastle City Council state of the art Digital Library, our taster classes were able to be enjoyed digitally as well as by the limited number of people able to attend in person (due to COVID).  See more at Showcase Launch, Newcastle City Council Newsletter.

In July 2020 our committee surveyed the 96% of members who have an email address about their intention to return to face-to-face classes in Term 3 if these could be offered safely under Government regulations. The survey was well received with 60% responding.

Members appreciated the opportunity to continue learning during the lockdown, where they had been able to attend our courses on Zoom or via email. They also missed the social interaction that is integral to U3A activities. Those who had not been able to participate in the online courses were more likely to be keen to return to face-to-face classes or to defer enrolment altogether due to health concerns, compared with the ‘Zoomers’. 

The Committee and Program Coordination Team are conscious that online courses do not cater for all members. We are also aware that most members are defined by health authorities as being more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 if they come in contact with it.

Typical comments were:

As we’re all sensible adults I see no reason not to return.” (Non-Zoomer)

Part of the attraction of U3A is being in a class with likeminded people.” (Non-Zoomer)

I’ve really missed NU3A during the COVID… looking forward to returning when safe to do so and no one’s health is endangered.” (Non-Zoomer)

 “… appreciated the classes via Zoom but really look forward to returning in person, but realise the safest option is best.” (Zoomer)

Class all say they prefer face to face, but not wanting to go back unless very safe. Zoom is working.” (Zoomer)

Thanks for being proactive and enabling the continuation of courses through Zoom and online. Learning new things and pushing past the comfort zone is what U3A is all about.” (Zoomer)

View a short summary of the survey results.

It is with a great sense of pride that among the four Newcastle recipients of awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List we congratulate NU3A member Dr John Tierney on being awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in recognition of his work on behalf of the 400,000 Australian survivors of polio.

As President and National Patron of Polio Australia from 2012-2017 he placed Polio Australia on a sound financial footing and expanded its programs. Survivors of polio suffer what is called the Late Effects of Polio (LEoP) which has long term physical consequences, and which was not acknowledged for quite some time by the medical profession, assuming this disease had been eradicated. Dr Tierney, himself a survivor of polio, retired after seeing that the organisation was properly funded with government grants and paid staff.

A tireless worker, Dr Tierney also received an OAM, Order of Australia Medal in 2012 for services to the Parliament, education and the community. We now hope that in his retirement we may look forward to him being an award-winning author.