Central Methodists Todmorden was the venue for the third Tod U3A Convenors’ Lunch. The purpose of these is two fold: as an expression of thanks from the Committee for all the hard work the convenors do to keep Tod U3A going. Secondly, it is an opportunity to keep convenors up-to-date with anything they need to know.

So before the convenors helped themselves to the buffet lunch provided by Catrina and Andrew at Drop Farm, Oxenhope, Gill Radford welcomed everybody and thanked them for all they are doing. She then recited three questions we would be asked to answer in small groups. More of which later.

Nigel Plant kicked off business matters with a few details regarding Beacon, the new IT system designed to make internet use simpler when using for anything to do with Tod U3A. Convenors had had training from Nigel but little bits and bobs came up as the training went on and he wanted to ensure that those in the earlier sessions had the opportunity to be apprised of anything they may have missed.

Membership Secretary Brenda Botten then introduced herself and asked convenors to remind their group members that membership renewal time is approaching, She then introduced yours truly so that I might explain my role and the existence of this page. I invited them to send me any news item they may wish to have posted here. It need only be bullet points – I will be happy to expand. Send to

Our treasurer, Emily Watnik was next up, now able to keep track of our finances in a more sophisticated way using Beacon, and asked convenors to get an invoice when paying venues directly.

Fiona Ryland broached the subject of accessibility to our classes and invited convenors to contact her if they had any queries or problems. I’m assuming her email address is I will update if necessary.

Ernie Rogan advised that he has reorganised the rota for refreshments served at general meetings. Each group will take it in turns, starting alphabetically, to have two of its members staff the refreshment point. As there are so many groups, Ernie said, each with a number of members, it would mean that each individual member is likely to do it only once in ten years. That’ll be a lifetime for most of us, so grab your chance when it comes.

After everyone had eaten the lovely buffet lunch and had filled their doggy bags – Catrina and Andrew give good value – those of us remaining set about answering the following:

What in your experience makes a group successful?

What niggles do you have about convening a group?

What help would you appreciate, if anything?

Which ideas will you try to put into practise with your group?

Our table had an interesting discussion and each table fed back at the end leaving the committee with some useful points to mull over.