u3a - Considerations

Please note that the Equalities Agency Support Service states that, despite U3A being a member-led organisation, we still are viewed as a service provider in terms of being required to make reasonable adjustments so all members can be included

  • Appoint a committee member to be responsible for giving advice and help to those with accessibility issues. Choose an identifiable title – Outreach Member, Helping Hand, Accessibility Member... – and make the person’s name known to your membership.
  • Appoint a committee member with responsibility for guiding Interest Group Leaders in finding and using on-line materials
  • Create an Interest Group to support and help members to use virtual gatherings
  • Look for venues with easy access for those with mobility problems (libraries, cafes, pubs, local care homes, even some supermarkets). Ask around – one U3A uses a fire station!.
  • Try to find venues with good transport links for non-drivers.
  • Refer to the Venue Risk Assessment Checklist.
  • Carers are welcome to accompany members to meetings and are covered by our U3A Public Liability Insurance (unless they are paid carers). They do not have to join U3A.

Hearing

  • Offer our Notes for Speakers to visiting speakers.
  • Check the Loop System. Ask the owner to sort any problems
  • Consider purchasing a portable Loop System for venues without an installed system. (this can be a way of reducing your surplus funds when advisable!).
  • Ask speakers at open meetings to repeat questions from the floor.
  • Keep spaces in the front rows at open meetings for those with hearing and sight issues.
  • If possible, have a BSL interpreter at the front of the room, visible to all

Sight

  • Offer our Notes for Speakers to visiting speakers.
  • Offer large print Newsletters or send Newsletters to members with screen readers by e-mail, if that is the method they are using. Some U3As provide a spoken Newsletter.
  • For on-screen activities, advise on use of text-to-speech software
  • Advise on use of Windows and IOS accessibility features
  • Provide information about the availability of Third Age Matters on the national website.
  • Provide information for Group Leaders regarding large print Cards (Bridge, Whist) and Scrabble boards and tiles.

Mobility

  • Make sure that there is space for wheelchairs at open meetings.
  • Audit the premises you use (see Venue Risk Assessment Checklist) for ramps, handrails, accessible parking and toilets.
  • Refer to County Council lists of accessible venues if available.
  • Video speakers’ talks at open meetings and put on YouTube, password protected , via U3A’s website
  • Ensure that there is accessible parking near venues.

Diversity

  • Ensure that everyone is welcome.
  • Appoint a committee member with responsibility for Inclusion
  • Consider the cultural and language diversity in your own area and work on outreach
  • Consider additions to your publicity material in languages appropriate to your community