SUES Committee Meeting: 27/08/2020

Present – Hazel Fort (Chairman), Peter Firth, Roger Mitchell, Alan Potter, John Sharp
Apologies – Bob Neate

Minutes from previous Committee Meeting and AGM – both ‘virtual’ – were approved and signed.

The Treasurer had provided a Financial Update.

Herewith is a summary of the Society’s finances, for the meeting on Thursday.

The latest Bank Statements (12 August) show balances of:

Current account 9963.63
Deposit account 44557.32

As at the date of the statements there were 2 unpresented items (cheques refunding course fees) totalling £105, so the available funds are actually £54415.95.

At this time there are only two items of expenditure in the offing:

  • Renewal of website domain registration fee plus any maintenance of the website over the last year, usually invoiced in September and typically circa £100
  • Proposed spending on software (JES), perhaps £120

The Committee saw this as very satisfactory. The website maintenance fees and software updates were approved. Our future plans are not constrained by finance. We currently have just over 60 members and their membership will continue until September 2021 before a new subscription is levied.

Future Plans

FORUM – This was seen as a successful venture that should be continued. There was a case for moving to a regular, monthly issue but practicalities made a gap of around 3 weeks rather easier. It was agreed that this should be reviewed at the end of the year. For the moment Forum continues and incorporates the information about the society and its activities that would previously be sent out in the newsletter.

Among ideas for future issues were the following:

  • A summary of Peter’s thesis on the mediaeval church.
  • Hazel’s reflections on Education in a time of crisis.

An ‘Opinion Piece’ from a variety of contributors. This requires something of a balancing act. It should be stimulating and thought provoking rather than partisan and divisive. We will see if we can bring this off.

A number of members have a particular interest in and knowledge of Scarisbrick Hall and, deprived of our visit earlier in the year, it would be good if a series of articles on different aspects could be produced. Roger to follow this up.

Depending on how much of a return to ‘real’ meetings might be possible, Roger might present material relating to his intended course on ‘English Travellers’.

Efforts should be made to give Forum a wider circulation, perhaps including local U3A groups. It is now freely available on the SUES website.

Co-operation with Liverpool University CE

Although we no longer have a contract with CE, we are still in an ’informal partnership’ and therefore glad to see that they have an ambitious programme for 2020-2021. This will be entirely online. We will include information in Forum and encourage members to enrol. Roger will send an email to Glenn to show our support.

Lectures and Courses – For Real and via Zoom

There is some evidence that venues are opening up for public gatherings after a great deal of work on ensuring health and safety and meeting all current requirements. Alan agreed to check what the situation is at All Saints and whether it might be possible to arrange 2 Friday afternoon lectures this autumn. Places would need to be booked, lecturers would probably be from within the society (John and Roger?) but the main reason for having such meetings would be to provide a safe opportunity for members to meet. It was agreed that we will not be able to run a full-scale course this autumn, but if it becomes possible in the new year, we would restart with Alan on The Human Brain, followed by Peter.

Whether or not real meetings are possible, there was general support for the Society making use of the new technology, specifically Zoom. Committee members have some experience and Alan agreed to take the lead on this. Perhaps our next committee meeting could be via Zoom? One of the roles of organisations like SUES is to help novices gain confidence in new technology using a variety of methods and materials. Older people can get long-term benefit from Zoom not just when real meetings are not happening, but when they as members would find it difficult to attend because of health, weather or transport problems.

There was no other business but approaching rain, despite the comfort of Peter’s covered loggia, meant that the meeting concluded at 12:45pm.

Roger Mitchell

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