Latest Annual Report

U3A Ipswich – 2016 Annual President’s Report:

U3A Ipswich and West Moreton wish to acknowledge the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul people, the traditional custodians of this land we are on today, and to pay respect to the elders past and present of these nations. I would also like to remember two former tutors, both of whom have passed away in the past twelve months, being Alexander Bates and Mario Prado. Requiescat in pace.

I would like to thank the outgoing committee and welcome the soon to be elected new committee. While everyone works hard – I hear wages for the committee are to be doubled this year. Do you have twice as much if you double nothing? I need to single out our retiring treasurer, Keith Adams, and thank him for all that he has done for U3A over the past two years and beyond. A shame you’re not staying on to receive the wage increase Keith!

Also, most of you would be unaware of outgoing vice president, Eric Boel’s tough year as he battled to keep the sight in one eye, enduring two separate corneal transplants. It’s beyond me how the man has managed to keep on top of things at Woodend, but managed he has, and he’s lined up for the committee again this year in order to keep Woodend in ship shape condition. Thanks, Eric.

I have also completed my five year stint and am retiring to the back blocks. Other former 2016 members are Estelle McCrohan, Sheenagh Kelley and Denis Manz. Thank you, one and all.

Also leaving us this year in their capacity as lecturers, are Dalas Greinke, Peter Horler and Dorothy Coulson. Shirley Ferrier, I believe is taking a sabbatical and is hoping to return when her health allows. Could I please have a round of applause by way of appreciation for these people?

Death and taxes aside, the one true constant in life is change, which, on the surface, sounds like an oxymoron; an ambiguity. But on reflection it’s patently obvious that change occurs with each passing moment. For most of us this happens unwittingly, but every so often a big change is foist upon us and we are left to deal with it as best we can; those caught up in the New Zealand earthquakes can attest to that.

Other times we seek change to better a situation, or sometimes it happens serendipitously and we seize the moment. My favourite line from the Steven Sondheim musical, Into The Woods, is “opportunity is not a lengthy visitor”. We recently, thanks to a chance conversation that Philip Bradbury was having, became aware of the opportunity to use, rent free, some nine rooms in the Ipswich mall. Woodend is bursting at the seams, and we thought we could direct the overflow here, as well as providing a place to socialise. It’s not a permanent solution to our overcrowding, but gives us up to three years of breathing space. There’s plenty of free parking with the option of exceeding the three hour limit without cost. You will be under cover from your car to the venue and there are plenty of eateries for after class refreshments. The rooms were formerly used by a training college and are quite suitable for our use.

We are on borrowed time at the Humanities Centre and our ongoing tenure there is uncertain as the council deliberates over the future of the building.

We will move the office to the mall – it’s equipped to take the computers – and photo copying can be done without intruding on other people’s space. it’s air conditioned and council is picking up this bill. We’ll only be responsible for lighting and general electricity costs.

At our strategic planning meeting for the upcoming three years, 2017 -2020, it was agreed that keeping all our eggs in the one basket was not the best option. The vision is for several multiple service campuses – we still have our eyes on the mostly vacant university – with venues scattered around the Ipswich area. This is, as I said, our vision and not a fait accompli.

Your new committee will steer you in the right direction, but you need to tell them what you want. They’re there to facilitate your decisions, so get involved and be proactive in designing the growth and change of U3A.

In closing, I’d like to thank Paulette for procuring two grants. One was the Blair Community Grant for $15,000 and the other was the Volunteers’ Grant for $4078. This is on top of last year’s Gaming and Liquor Licensing Grant that Roy was successful in procuring.

2017 looks to be full of activity as well as the continuity of our established, long running classes. I hope you all have a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all at our Start Up Day, to be held at our new premises in the mall.  More on this later. See you next year.

Di Dickinson