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First the good news, we are pleased to welcome over 40 new members to U3A Clarence in 2024.  Great to see our membership improving after Covid and other setbacks. Many thanks to my fellow hard working committee members especially our course coordinator Vicki and our tireless secretary Sue.

Also to Beth our Social Secretary with the highlight of first term being a sumptuous lunch at Drysdale House.  I am indebted to Helen for filling in for me during a couple of recent hospital admissions and Anna for her ability to multitask.

Which brings me to the bad news, we are still 2 committee members short for this year. Anyone with basic bookkeeping skills to act as treasurer would be of great assistance, it’s not a particularly onerous role. We are also always on the lookout for interesting tutors or guest speakers if you have any contacts or suggestions let me know.

Looking forward to an interesting second term.

Best wishes,

John Bothman

President U3A Clarence

There are currently vacancies on the Committee for U3A.  We are also looking for people to present or help organise new courses or activities.  If you can assist please speak to a committee member.”

U3A Clarence

A Happy New Year to all of our members and tutors. I trust you had an enjoyable Christmas.

I spent mine on a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the Great Australian Bight well away from the distractions of mobile phone and internet coverage. Other highlights included a James Morrison concert and laser light show at the Adelaide Cricket Ground. New Year’s Eve saw the ship on Sydney Harbour with a great view of the fireworks. The only downside was a dose of COVID just before returning home a few days ago.

Once again, Vicki has put together an interesting and diverse range of classes for our first term of 2024 including the ever-popular tutors, Peter Jones and Wayne Smith. Please enrol early in the classes you want to attend.

My thanks to all tutors and our hard-working committee for all of their assistance in 2023. I wish to thank others who have assisted with morning tea and set-up also.

I am looking forward to our activities in 2024.

John Bothman


U3A Clarence

Hard to believe that 2023 is drawing to a close; time seems to go faster with age despite Einstein’s theory of relativity. Your committee has been working hard with forward planning for Term 1 next year and we are always on the lookout for interesting speakers and topics for inclusion (see also Vicki’s note in our newsletter here).

I would like to personally thank all committee members, especially Helen and Jocelyn who stood in for me during my absence for the first two terms and Beth for organising many social events through the year.  The recent lunch at Drysdale House was particularly memorable and we look forward to the upcoming Christmas lunch.

I have been meeting with the presidents of all of the Southern U3As (five in all) with a view to forming a U3A Tasmania chapter of U3A Australia. This could potentially give us several benefits including to be registrable as a charity or non-profit entity making it easier to apply for grants, receive bequests and lobby various tiers of government etc.  Watch this space.

Best wishes to all members for Christmas and the New Year.

John Bothman


U3A Clarence

Two thirds of the year 2023 have finished.  I hope you have been able to meet new people at U3A and learnt new information about the topics you chose to do.

Wonderful News: Our president John Bothman has stated that he hopes to return to U3A in Term three. Welcome back, John. We all wish you a pleasant and rewarding time at U3A.

The class sessions for Term three are in this newsletter. However, Vicki Paterson, our tireless course coordinator is looking for members and/or other capable people to run some programs during all of next year. If you feel you would like to present a class or more, please advise Vicki who is always at morning tea. I remind you that we have a series of The Great Courses which are designed by experts in the field. Each of these are presented as 24 half hour sessions with a guide book and a group of discs to accompany each course.  You do not need to follow the course as presented but they can provide you with information to use and help you to make the course your own. As well we have U3A Online courses available to adapt.

Thank you to all of the members who presented programs during Term two. To all of those who assisted to set up in the mornings and helped with washing up at morning tea time, thank you. A special thank you to the committee members who have helped make U3A the worthwhile activity it is.

I wish you a great and rewarding Term 3 at U3A.

Helen Lucas

Vice President

U3A Clarence

A third of the year 2023 has gone by. Have you achieved as much as you wanted to in that time? I wish I had not wasted some hours but I am contented with what I have achieved and the people I interacted with.

As you are aware by now, our president John Bothman has resigned and we are looking for some dedicated member to fill the position. Are you interested? Please let a committee member know.  The duties involve actively advertising U3A when required, the running of committee meetings as well as addressing members at the morning teas.  Please consider this seriously.

The class sessions for term two have been filled. However, Vicki Paterson, our tireless course coordinator is looking for members and/or other capable people to step up and run some programs during term three. If you feel you would like to present a class or more and are uncertain what to do, we do have a series of The Great Courses. Each of these are presented as 24 half hour sessions with a guide book and a group of discs to accompany each course. Each of the courses that I examined were designed by experts in the fields. You do not need to follow the course as presented but they can provide you with leads to use and help you to make the course your own.

Thank you to all of the members who presented programs during term I and to all of those who assisted to set up in the mornings and helped with washing up at morning tea time.

I wish you a great and rewarding term 2 at U3A.

Helen Lucas,

Vice President

U3A Clarence

Hello and a Happy New Year to everyone.

It’s the start of a new year and our program is packed full with a variety of activities. There will be something there for everyone. Vicki, our Program Manager, has performed her magic and allocated time slots and tutors for 26 separate activities consisting of 3 sessions per day, in 5 rooms on Monday and Wednesday at the Rosny Library. She has done a great job!

As with most voluntary groups and organisations like ours, membership has declined during the last 3 years with COVID clearly being the culprit. Your committee has taken measures to reverse this trend, and has reached out to past members with an email request for them to consider joining us again. The many benefits offered include companionship and friendship and warding off aging by keeping the mind and body active.

We have also received a grant from the Clarence City Council to assist with upgrading of our website. It is now cheerful and friendly, easy to navigate and this too will attract new members. Please take a look at and see for yourself.

Finally I’d like to thank all the members of the committee for their effort that they have contributed during the year to keep U3A Clarence the friendly and positive organisation it is today.

Len Spaans,

U3A Clarence

My message from Fremantle:

I thought Gay and I would get away from U3A and go on a relaxing 26 day cruise around Australia.  As it turned out all our fellow passengers look and act just like our U3A members!  Happy, friendly and very easy to get on with.

Anyway, as this term draws to a close, I’d like to remind all our members that we are all volunteers.  We want nominations from you to join our committee, in particular we need a new President and a new Treasurer.

Also, we need tutors to present classes.  These could be based on your experience from your past work, or a hobby or special interest that you could share with us.  Please give this request some serious consideration.

Looking forward to joining you all at our final event for the year, our Christmas Luncheon on the 30th November.

Len Spaans,

U3A Clarence


Whilst there are many factors behind declining membership, some of the biggest factors that associations should factor into their retention strategies include financial uncertainty of members, changing membership needs and interests, and struggles to connect with new and younger members.

We are not alone. More than half of associations report that they are losing members. With competition from new groups and aging members, our association may find itself with an attrition problem.

Let’s look at some solutions to declining membership.

Is our association still relevant?

If U3A Clarence is changing or even being phased out, how much interest can our group have for our members? Although there are things you can’t change, we can become proactive about making your association more meaningful. We could consider revising our mission statement, updating our activities or even merging with other U3As or Seniors groups.

Is there something driving members away?

This can be a particularly tough question to pose. In insular groups like ours, a fear of lingering COVID in the community, a lack of suitable presentations and activities may be responsible for membership losses. On a more positive note, it may be something that’s easy to fix, like an overly complex website with too many pop-up windows or dues that are disproportionate to what the association offers compared to other competing organisations.

What do members want?

Associations often become mired in what the committees want at the expense of the larger membership. Is it time to conduct a detailed survey of our members to see if we’ve drifted away from why they joined in the first place?

What do you think? Can you help? Any suggestions?

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

I am pleased to report that this year has started to appear like normal again.  So we need to encourage the members who have not joined us this year to come back.  Membership is down around 30% and if this continues the committee will have to reconsider the annual membership levy.

Earlier this year we applied for a grant from the Clarence City Council, and we have received a phone call informing me that U3A Clarence was successful and will receive $1,500 towards upgrading our aged laptop computers. Your committee would like to try more applications for grants where appropriate.

I coordinate the Singalong Group on Monday. This year a new format has been introduced where no printed song lyrics are required (no piles of sheets to cart about), and no extra cost. The paticipants attending are having a great time, but numbers are down compared to pre-covid times.  Pre-covid attendance in room 1 was so large that we have now moved to room 6, so if you are interested, join us in Term 2.  It’s a great space with a large TV displaying the words.

I would also like to request members consider joining a great and competent committee next year.  I have completed my 3 years so we are at least looking for a new President!

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence