Update 9 August 2021

Group News

Membership Renewals

Thank you to everyone who has renewed so far.

Dates for our August 2021 renewal sessions are the 11 and 25 August 2021 from 9:30 to 11:30am.

Renewal sessions will take place at Sandbach Rugby Club, Bradwall Road, CW11 1RA. Once again, we will have marshals to help direct members and the rugby club will have light refreshments on sale.

This is also a good opportunity for potential members to come along and join us or find out more about what u3a has to offer.

Covid-19: Careful, not fearful

Well, here we are about 18 months after the first Covid-19 cases were detected in the UK. After we have experienced huge problems with dates of lockdowns, conflicting and confused advice, supply of PPE, failing to protect care home residents, border control, quarantine arrangements, test & trace, the ‘pingdemic’ . . . . . . it does look like the NHS highly successful vaccination programme is having a real impact on the virus. The case rate in Sandbach has never been as high as it has been in some parts of the country, and as a consequence it’s probably been slightly easier for our u3a to deal with it than some other u3as. Groups have been meeting face to face when allowed to do so, most groups have kept in contact one way or another (e.g. using Zoom), and we are on track to open virtually all of our indoor groups in September. Our informal coffee mornings and membership renewal sessions at Sandbach Rugby Club have been a great success, and it is very encouraging to see some members rejoining after letting their membership lapse last year.

We expect that the great majority of our members will have been double vaccinated by now. For members who are not vaccinated or who are not yet confident about any social mixing, it is worth remembering that vaccination greatly reduces the risk of serious disease resulting from infection, and also reduces the risk of transmission if somebody is infected. Any risk from mixing with other members will therefore be very low.

Throughout this pandemic our firm principle has been that we should maximise opportunities for members. Maximising opportunities has meant not imposing restrictions greater than those imposed by the government. Whenever the government has allowed indoor groups (such as exercise classes) to operate, we have restarted groups so that members can make their own decisions about whether to attend. Group Leaders have adopted sensible precautions, and we feel this is much better than preventing groups from meeting. The new Risk Assessment for groups meeting from September will focus on reducing risk and reducing anxiety wherever possible.

Some groups will be able to make modifications to their usual activities so that members who would otherwise exclude themselves might be able to participate. For example, in the Contemporary Dance group (one of the groups I attend), normally there would be physical contact between dancers before Covid struck. Over the past several weeks the group has been meeting again, but maintaining social distancing and avoiding any physical contact. From September physical contact will again be possible, but a section of the room will be reserved for members who don’t feel comfortable with physical contact, and other dancers will be asked to avoid that area. By making modifications in this way we hope that some members who are vulnerable, risk-averse or very anxious will feel able to attend. Other Group Leaders may be able to do something similar to maximise opportunities for their members.

Cheshire East Council recommends that people should continue to be cautious even though government restrictions have now been lifted. It’s certainly evident in shops in Sandbach that the great majority of people are continuing to wear masks. Apart from vaccination the main things to remember are:

  • wearing face masks in crowded places
  • meeting outside wherever possible
  • ensuring there is good ventilation when meeting indoors
  • minimising the number, closeness and duration of social contacts.

As I mentioned in previous updates, mental health is just as important as physical health, and social contact is enormously beneficial to all of us. If you are able to come to coffee mornings, members’ meetings or rejoin groups that you attended previously, please do so. Detailed Risk Assessments will be in place for all of these. Careful, not fearful, is the best way to return to as normal a life as we can, whilst still recognising that Covid-19 can be a very serious disease.

You can get the latest information from Cheshire East Council at https://healthwatchcheshireeast.org.uk/coronavirus/

and you can sign up here to receive regular email updates from Cheshire East. https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCHESHEC/subscriber/new?qsp=CODE_RED

Stay safe, and enjoy the rest of this week’s update.

Stuart Naylor, Chair, Sandbach and District u3a

Members’ Mornings

Members are invited to a social meeting each month. A speaker or alternative form of entertainment is provided, and members enjoy refreshments whilst catching up with friends.

These meetings are held in Sandbach Town Hall from September to May on the first Monday of each month and run from 10.00 am to 12 noon. Speakers are scheduled to begin at 10:30. Details for the programme for the next six months is now on our website – https://sandbachu3a.org.uk/members-mornings/  but here is a taster of what is to come:

6 Sep 2021 – Barking Mad

The talk for our first members’ morning since the start of lockdown is: “All you need to know about becoming a dog sitting host family for Barking Mad”.

4 Oct 2021 – Community Police

More details to follow

1 Nov 2021 – Chester Uncovered

Stephen Shakeshaft, a registered Chester City Guide, will tell us stories behind various features of this delightful and interesting city.

6 Dec 2021 – Sandbach u3a Brass Band – Christmas Special

Sandbach U3A Brass Band

Our very own band providing the entertainment for this popular annual event.

Local News

Action Fraud has received over 700 reports from members of the public about fake emails purporting to be from the NHS. The emails claim to be able to provide people with a “digital passport” that “proves you have been vaccinated against COVID-19”. These emails are fake, and the links within them lead to genuine-looking websites that steal your personal and financial information.

How to protect yourself:

  • At no point will you be asked to pay
  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking passwords
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips
  • Your vaccination status can be obtained for free through the official NHS app, NHS website, or by calling the NHS on 119.

Richard Thorne, our Treasurer has produced a poster “EVERY call is a potential scam ” (Click on title to view) to help us to be aware of and manage scam phone calls

Cheshire Police and Crime Plan for 2021-2024 

Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, John Dwyer  has set out his proposed priorities for policing and community safety in Cheshire.

You can read the plan  here, and also access the consultation survey which closes on 15 August.

On a Lighter Note

I got a space rocket for my birthday. I was over the moon.

My wife is going to watch Back to the Future. I told her it’s about time

A Mexican had his vehicle stolen His name was Carlos

If the inventor of the drawing board messed up where did he go back to?

My son went to mime school and I never heard from him again.

When communicating with Vikings it helps if you know Norse code

I had a camel that had no hump. I named it Humphrey

I’ve given up asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?

I deleted all German names off my mobile. It’s now Hans free

I had trouble finding a singing partner, so I bought a duet-yourself kit

A friend and I were comparing bucket lists but mine pails in comparison

Cinderella left the netball team She kept running away from the ball