AGM Minutes

Sandbach & District U3A   Reg. Charity 1105144  
Minutes of the 13th Annual General Meeting held on Monday 24th October 2016 in the Town Hall, Sandbach

Present:  Alan Casey    Louise Adams    Alan Butler    Barrie Hacking   Ann Macaulay    Kevin Dean    Alice Holmes   Val Williams   Linda Richardson   Joan Chadwick

Apologies:  Apologies were received from Judi Hewitt, Norma Frost, Margaret Springle, Pat and Norma Satterthwaite, Mavis Buckley, Alex Black and David and Lynn Slack

  1. Introduction and Welcome

Alan Casey, Chairman, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Sandbach and District U3A, he thanked everyone very much for coming we do appreciate it.  He informed those present that we did not have quite a quorum and as such were they happy to continue with the meeting or did they wish the meeting to be reconvened.  All present were in agreement to continue the meeting.

  1. Minutes of the 12th Annual General Meeting

All attendees were provided with a copy of the minutes from the last AGM.  These have been displayed on the Sandbach library noticeboard and on the U3A website.  The minutes were received and accepted: Proposed: Linda Richardson and Seconded: Lesley Reed.

  1. Chairman’s Report

3.1 – Continued Growth

Our membership has continued to grow.  We currently have over 1200 members and this will probably reach 1300 or more by the end of this membership year. This is a 5% increase over last year and the highest number for Sandbach since it started in 2003.  It’s good to see this growth as more people begin to enjoy the benefits U3As provide, but the steady growth means we must develop and increase our capacities.  We’ve had success.  Overall we have four more groups than last year plus one more due to commence soon bringing the total to 90.  The subject range has also increased with five new activities.  You can now drift into the realms of science fiction, with geology on the rocks, learn Latin with a computerized diet of Ram & Chips whilst dancing around in circles.

About 50% of our groups have vacancies and these cover a wide range of subjects and activities from academic-type studies, crafts and skills to dancing, walking and fitness.  But never the less, there are still disappointments and frustrations when groups are full and people are unable to follow their preferred choices.  As the membership grows we must continually strive to increase capacity which ultimately means the continual formation of new groups.  At this point I would like to mention the GDP

3.2 – The GDP

By this I don’t mean the Gross Domestic Product.  ‘GDP’ here stands for Group Development Project.  A group of leaders have been meeting over the past year to try and stimulate ideas for improvements.  Ann Macaulay led the team and as a committee member she kept us informed and could obtain support.  The team did an excellent job. They chose to explore ideas for forming new groups, supporting existing groups, to make new members welcome and to generate more visible information at the monthly Members Mornings and I believe it has worked.  You may have seen the stand we now have at Members Mornings, and the video display. You may be attending one of the new groups introduced. You may have joined recently and been to a New Members Coffee Morning. All thanks to the GDP.  I understand they have agreed to continue their work in the forthcoming year which is a big plus for our organisation.

Incidentally, Geoff Pyke who is nominated to join the committee is an active member of the GDP and we have a new role for him as groups coordinator.  He will continue to link in with the GDP providing group leaders with help and support and in particular with our constant challenge for the formation of new groups.

3.3 – Charity Events

As a registered charity, Sandbach U3A is not permitted to raise funds for a different charity.  However, there is of course nothing to stop our members and our groups independently raising money for or helping other charities.  Some of our members this year worked extremely hard and raised relatively large sums of money.  Among these were the Social Golf Group who raised £1400 for St Luke’s hospice with their golf day and the Singing Group concert raised over £1000 for the Air Ambulance.  We also have the Environmental Action Group who work hard on local projects, improving footpaths and other aspects of our environment for the enjoyment of others.

3.4 – On-Line Management System

Surprise, surprise we are now in the computer age.  We shop on line, we renew our road tax on line, we communicate with each other on line but we couldn’t join Sandbach U3A on line.  So I’m pleased to report that this is about to change.  We are investigating on-line facilities that will help us improve services for members and help us manage our U3A.  We are now getting close to investing in a package that will allow people to join, to renew and to pay their membership on-line. It should also allow members to apply to join groups on-line.  Trips, outings and other social events are also catered for and all from the comfort of our own homes.

It will run in parallel to the off-line facilities, so if you prefer pen and paper instead of keyboard and mouse you will still be able to do it the old way, and if you prefer to see a committee member at our desk in the library they’ll still be there, but don’t be surprised to see them sitting with a computer ready to enter your details there and then.  We have a sub-committee working on this with Linda Richardson as the project leader. The simple and intuitive system will be introduced next year, and we hope as many members as possible, and especially group leaders will quickly adopt and support the system when it is launched.  I was delighted to hear that the GDP team have already offered their services to help with the introduction, which will be a real benefit.  As we move forward over the coming months we will keep you informed of the progress through the newsletters and our website.

5 – Social Committee

So what have the social committee been up to:

  • The Christmas party
  • The New Year party
  • A 5-day scenic holiday in South Wales
  • Several Quiz nights
  • A Barn dance
  • Trafford Centre
  • Manchester Ship Canal (Oh no the bridge collapsed)
  • Suffolk Constable Country for 5-days
  • Sister Act in Liverpool
  • RHS Flowers at Tatton
  • A day in Llandudno
  • Etc.

And so it continues with an action packed programme now in preparation for next year – and long may it continue.

Then there are the members’ mornings which Val organizes so well and with speakers ranging from interesting and entertaining to amusing and extraordinary. Something for everyone, although I must admit my favourites are those featuring the talents of our own members, especially the band Christmas concert in December.

6 – Finally, Some Thanks

  • Firstly, all the leaders and deputies. They are the foundation of this organisation and make it all possible.
  • Secondly, I’d like to thank all the people on the Social Committee, but I think there is one who deserves a special mention. The main social coordinator, ticketing agent and library desk attendant, Alice Holmes. Well done social committee!
  • Thanks to our tea and coffee ladies who work so hard at events and functions and serve us so well.
  • To the postal distribution network of people who stride out to deliver our mailings and save us large sums of money.
  • Don Joy for posters and leaflets.
  • John Page for gift-aid support, John is retiring from this post this year.
  • To all the committee members but, in particular, I would like to thank Joan Chadwick who is retiring from the committee this year. Joan has been our secretary for the past three years, keeping us well organized, well informed and with an amazingly fast minutes delivery service.
  • I would also like to thank Kay Bayliss for her support to the committee as Almoner and also Kath Neame and Norma Frost for their help with programmes and venue arrangements in our hour of need.

Thank you all very, very much.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

Louise began by thanking Bill Fowler for once again auditing our accounts, group leaders who diligently fill in their paying in books etc., Linda and the committee for their continued support.

Main Account – Membership numbers has increased therefore the income has gone up.  Out of the £8 membership we pay £3.50 capitation and £2.25 for the Third Age Trust magazine leaving us with £2.25.  Activity fees have gone down by £8,000 compared to last year but last year’s figure was inflated due to income from a planned walking holiday.  At the end of the financial year we had made a profit of £1,327.06.

Social Fund – There was more social activities this year ending with a small loss of £207.

In summary:

  • We had a very stable and consistent year
  • Increased costs for venues and admin had been absorbed by increased membership
  • The general account made a small profit of £1,300 as opposed to a small loss of £820 last year.
  • We were able to keep £20,000 untouched in a deposit account, within our reserve policy of 6 months’ expenditure.
  • Social fund maintains a balance of £6,000.  During the year the balance never fell below £7,000, so £3,000 will be transferred back to the general fund.

Our stable position means we do not have to increase membership or course fees and we have money available to invest in a new management system.

Question 1 – Please explain the ‘Management System’?

The accounts, membership records issuing of membership cards is currently done on computers using software like XL spreadsheets.  With the Management System new members will be able to join on line, members can renew membership and join groups on line.  When applying to join a group you will know immediately whether there are vacancies.  Information held in the system is continually updated.  There will be support for members without a computer for as long as is necessary.

Question 2 – What is the advantage of transferring funds for the social fund to the main fund?

Nothing really, it is all part of the same account.  It reduces the unnecessarily high balance in the nominal social fund and means we can use those funds for purposes other than social trips etc.   We just have to ensure there are sufficient funds in the social fund to cover any loss they might incur.

Question 3 – With the large number of members and the pressure on groups that are full, have the committee ever considered a ceiling on membership?

Yes, it has been discussed but never agreed to implement.  We are continually monitoring waiting lists to ensure members come off them as soon as possible.  The GDP group are continually looking to recruit new leaders and open new groups to overcome this problem.  Much discussion took place on whether members should be rolled over in the groups each year or whether enrolment should be done on a first come first served basis each year.

  1. Amendments to the Constitution

All members had received copies of the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Proposal 1 – This had been recommended by the Third Age Trust and agreed by the Charity Commission but we need the agreement of the membership to implement it.

All in Favour

Proposal 2 – Alan explained to those present that this amendment would allow committee vacancies to be filled on an interim basis pending election at the following AGM.

All in favour.

Proposal 3 – Alan explain to those present that sometimes a committee member is coming to the end of their third year of office, and they may have been working on a particular project which has not been completed.  Their expertise could therefore be important for a further year.

All in favour

  1. Election of Officers and Committee Members

The Chairman thanked Wendy Siepen who had had to resign from the committee after one year.  He also thanked Joan Chadwick who has completed her term of office as Secretary, and will be retiring from the committee.  Jinty Pyke has been nominated and accepted the role of Secretary.   Geoff Pyke has been nominated and accepted the new role of Groups’ Co-ordinator.  Alex Black has been nominated and accepted the role of Venues Co-ordinator and Peter Doughty has been nominated and accepted the role of Deputy Treasurer.

The Chairman asked whether those members present were prepared to accept the nominations outlined above, en bloc.  All in favour.

Therefore, the new Committee was elected as follows:

Chairman:                                 Alan Casey

Vice Chairman:                          Alan Butler

Treasurer:                                 Louise Adams

Secretary:                                 Jinty Pyke


  • Programme Organiser Judi Hewitt
  • Venues Co-ordinator Alex Black

Groups’ Co-ordinator                 Geoff Pyke

Membership Secretary                Barrie Hacking

Social Committee Rep                Alice Holmes

Members’ Morning Organiser       Val Williams

Other Elected Committee: Peter Doughty (Deputy Treasurer)

Co-options:                              Kevin Dean

  1. Appointment of Gift Aid Nominated Person

The Chairman thanked John Page for carrying out this role for many years. John is now coaching Barrie Hacking to take over this role.

All in Favour.

  1. Appointment of Auditor

Bill Fowler, who has carried out the role of Auditor for many years has decided to stand down from this role.  John Page has agreed to take on the role of Auditor for the coming year.

All in favour.

  1. Any Other Business

A member asked whether a radio microphone could be purchased for another year as it was difficult to hear all that was being said.  This is being looked into.

Geoff Pyke thanked Alan Casey and the rest of the committee for all the hard work they had done this year.  Alice Holmes was thanked for all her hard work co-ordinating the social events and Doreen Hebden who has decided to stand down from her role on the social committee.  Val Williams also wished to record her thanks to Joan Chadwick.

The business meeting closed at 11.30 am

Chairman:                       Alan Casey                               Date:

Secretary:                       Joan Chadwick                          Date:  25 October 2016