Weekly Update 17 May 2021

Lockdown Quiz

The latest quiz from Julie Clarke (number 59) has been loaded to the website as well as the answers to number 58. Go to the quiz page where you’ll also find this week’s music quiz (number 58) and the answers to music quiz number 57. Our quiz page lists all the quizzes that have been set previously.

Covid-19: an update and reminder

Let’s start with what’s important – coffee shops in Sandbach are open again! And, even better, the end of lockdown is in sight. Let’s hope this is the last one. We know from our experience over the past year that on its own lockdown only has a short-term impact, and that vaccination is also necessary to provide the longer-term security that we need. Infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths are all massively reduced from their peak numbers a few months ago. Most of the adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and many of our members – probably the great majority – have now received two doses.

Recent research has shown what we hoped, that vaccination significantly reduces transmission of the virus. In other words, when someone has been vaccinated it not only prevents them from getting seriously ill, it also helps to prevent them from infecting others if they do get a mild form of Covid. However it is still too early to completely relax. Until a very high proportion of the population has been vaccinated, we need to continue with precautions such as mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

We can expect things to get back to something like normal over the next few months. We can also expect that Covid will not die out. It is becoming endemic, meaning that it will be in the UK for many years, maybe forever. New variants will arise, especially in countries where case rates remain high. This means that restrictions on travel to at least some countries will probably be in place for a long time. It also means that we are likely to need booster jabs, both to top up our existing immunity and also to protect us against new variants. We can probably expect that to happen this coming winter.

The impact of Covid on our u3a is steadily reducing. Some of our outdoor groups have been running since the end of March. I believe that some of the keen golfers were queueing from dawn outside the Golf Club on March 29th! If you are a member of Walking Cricket, Walking Football, Fitness, Exercise with Football Drills and Skills, Walking with Dogs, Long Walks, Short Walks, one of the 8 Bowls groups or Petanque then you will have been enjoying meeting members outside for several weeks now. Today, 17th May, is the day when restrictions on indoor exercise classes are lifted, so during the next few weeks our groups for Contemporary Dance, Yoga, Chair Yoga, Zumba, Keep Fit and Table Tennis will be restarting, with Circus Skills restarting in July. Some groups will continue to meet over the summer, and we hope that by September virtually all our indoor groups will restart.

I’ll remind you that as well as Risk Assessments for the venue and by the Group Leader, each of you will need to do your own personal Risk Assessment before rejoining a group. You are asked to take into account your vaccination status and your mental as well as physical health in making any decision.

And that takes me on to the issue of mental health. Recently the Office for National Statistics noted that about one in five adults in the UK have been showing symptoms of depression during this latest lockdown. We know that social isolation can be a problem for lots of people in our age group anyway, and the pandemic has made this worse. We do need to be aware of our mental health and make sure we are doing our best to stay connected with society. I read recently that the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust has recommended fishing as a way to improve mental health, and has partnered with a local fishing organisation to help patients overcome depression and anxiety, but I’m not sure that’s the best arrangement for everyone!

Making time for coffee is probably a more realistic way forward, so that’s exactly what we are doing. Today, 17th May, we held our first informal drop-in coffee morning for members at Sandbach Rugby Club. Even though we had a hailstorm during the morning, about 80 members turned up over the morning. There was a lovely atmosphere, and it was obvious to see the sheer delight people felt in meeting friends face to face again.

The purpose of these coffee mornings is to help members begin the process of socialising again, in a manageable and safe way. For those of you who don’t know the Rugby Club, there is onsite catering, lots of outdoor seating, and a huge marquee in case the weather is bad, as it was today. It’s only a short walk out of the town centre, with plenty of parking, and offers facilities that aren’t available in the town centre. It is possible to sit outside with a small group of members and socialise in Covid-secure conditions. Plenty of Committee members are on hand to organise the event and make sure any risks are minimised. If you haven’t really been out at all so far, please consider coming along. The next drop-in coffee morning will be on Monday 21st June at 10.30 am if you want to put that in your diary now. There will be more during July and August, on dates that coincide with the membership renewal events that will also be held at the Rugby Club. We hope to see you and share a cup of tea or coffee at some point over the summer, and we hope to see nearly all of you back in your regular groups in September.

You can get updates about the vaccination programme from Cheshire East at https://healthwatchcheshireeast.org.uk/coronavirus/

and https://healthwatchcheshireeast.org.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations/

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

Stuart Naylor, Chair Sandbach and District u3a

Group News

  • Those of you who attended our coffee morning earlier today will have signed the register that Pam managed. Registers will continue to feature whenever we meet whether at larger events or in our groups as part of the Track and Trace scheme.
    Please make sure that we have up to date contact details for you, either by checking your details on our website or contacting Barrie, our Membership Secretary – membership@sandbachu3a.org.uk


  • If you or your group want to tell other members about your activities do email mailing@sandbachu3a,org.uk. At the end of this update you’ll find a poem sent in by Maureen Sawtell which marks the entering of the next phase of the Government Roadmap.

Local News

The Middlewich Vaccination Clinic is looking for additional volunteers to support the local Covid 19 vaccine roll-out. If you are interested and would like to find out more information, please contact Elisabeth Nicholson via the email address – volunteer@middlewich.org.uk

On a Lighter Note

  • My wife likes mayonnaise but I prefer salad cream.  Our relationship needs addressing!
  • My husband said, “Did you eat my chocolate eclair in the fridge?” I said, “No. I ate it in the living room.”
  • I carn’t spell Apockolips but it’s not the end of the wurld!
  • I used to work for a company that made submarines but it went under.
  • I started a club for insomniacs at 3.00a.m. the other night and wondered if anybody else was up for it?
  • My son was injured chewing electrical wires.  He’s doing better currently & conducting himself properly
  • A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering
  • She was fired from the fruit factory as she couldn’t concentrate.
  • What’s the difference between a barrister and a barista? About £900 an hour son.
  • Before injections I calm myself by saying  “You can do this”. Sometimes it makes my patients more nervous.

Reaching For Freedom  by Maureen Sawtell

Taking first tentative steps to freedom
Following the recommended roadmap
Whilst supporting each other through zoom and WhatsApp
Savouring each momentous milestone
Hoping that soon we can meet and greet
After being so long alone.

Our hair may be cut, flabby muscles retoned
As they reopen beauty salons and gyms.
For local pubs and bars, is the end now in sight
Have they got the green light?
For our pints, g & t’s, even Pyms.

Soon there will be theatres, concerts and cinemas to view
Libraries, zoos and museums to mention just a few.
There’s Old Trafford, the Ethiad and Anfield and more
Fans anxious to cheer their heroes
To sing and applaud every score.

When we emerge from our various lockdowns
After the trauma and deprivation
Desperate to see, to be with our loved ones
Maybe able to plan a new “staycation”.
Stop, midst all of the celebration
To spare a thought for all who were lost.
For families still grieving, still counting the cost.

After all of our jabs will we really be free
Will the dreaded Covid ever let us be?
Or is it lurking, waiting, ready with another wave.
We must stay safe; keep faith
Maybe sing like our sailors at sea.
To “Our Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave?”