As one of the founder
members of Spire U3A I feel particularly honoured to be elected your new chairman.
Looking back on the formative days of our U3A in 1998 when some eight of
us regularly met in my home to set it up, it is encouraging to see the progress
made since then. Sylvia Parrett, our first chairman, led us through the first
three years when all the groundwork was done in establishing Spire as a viable
organisation alongside the other Salisbury U3As, Salisbury and Sarum. Mervyn
Scamell has carried on the good work during the last two years. Both deserve
our thanks for the time and devotion they have given to our development.
It now falls to me to meet the challenges ahead - and there are challenges
that we have to face. On the financial front we have to bear increased costs
- higher capitation fees, increased hall rental, and greater postal charges.
Yet our subscription has not been raised since we were formed and is by far
the lowest of the three Salisbury U3A's. Clearly, we shall have to increase
our subscription to meet the increasing costs and maybe your committee should
examine the option successfully introduced by Sarum U3A of an annual fee that
includes the monthly meeting charges so as to reduce the amount of money handling
necessary at each meeting.
Ideas also need to be introduced to encourage the greater involvement of
members in the running of Spire.
In the past there has been too great a
dependence upon the few stalwarts
who keep the organisation in being - we
all need to play a part. Perhaps
we should remind ourselves that we are not a university in the sense of providing
qualified staff to run courses and activities but a self-help organisation
sharing each other's knowledge and experience. Thus the scope and breadth
of activities are essentially dictated by the input of our members. Above
all we need your ideas about our future development. What would you like us
to do and, perhaps of equal importance, what are you prepared to do to help.
Do please contact myself or any other member of your Committee about ideas
we can consider and to discuss any help that you can provide
With your help and support I will
do all I can to ensure that Spire's future progress is one of increasing scope