During the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the SUES Committee have been determined to find ways to continue to ensure the Society thrives and that our members continue to be informed and involved. The first way was through the creation of the FORUM monthly bulletin, which seeks to do just that. This is sent to all members via email around the middle of each month. (Those members not online will receive a paper copy of the FORUM).

The next step was to take SUES online through establishing a Zoom account and using this forum to continue to provide for our members. We began by holding committee meetings online to test the system and then organised talks, lectures and courses for members.

This online provision was a direction we were going in anyway. Learning can be offered at times that are not suitable to all those who would otherwise like to join in. This can be through work or personal commitments, illness or simply because they are unable to travel to the meetings. The intention is to record all future meetings in the church hall and post these online through our website for members to access. Not only will this enable all existing members to catch them or watch them a second time but potential members will also be able to sample the learning opportunities we provide to see if they are for them.

To join in online learning, you will need an electronic device able to access the internet. You can then download the Zoom software from Zoom.us, which is free to access and easy to install. You then need to email Alan Potter, the committee member responsible for communication, to let him know you are online. This will ensure you are always sent a link to all learning opportunities in the future. If a member has difficulty with this software or the Zoom processes, then Alan is available to help.

Around 15 minutes before the start of each session, a link will be emailed to each member online and a simple click enables everyone to join the virtual meeting. We encourage all members who can to take up this opportunity as not only does it offer continual learning, socialising and fellowship during the pandemic, it will increase the range of learning opportunities to each person over the coming years.

As the months and years go by, the use of Zoom will provide opportunities to engage speakers who otherwise would not be able to come to Southport. SUES has contacts throughout the country and indeed the world who would be willing to share their expertise with members. In this way not only will the learning available through SUES be enriched, it can also become more frequent.