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Interest Groups Online Noticeboard

IGO May 24 News Extra


Hello everyone and welcome to the May Edition of News Extra.

This month we hear from four members who are group leaders - they tell us about what they enjoy about the role and their hopes for how their group will progress.

In forthcoming issues we want to hear from new members to IGO, the groups they have joined and their ideas for new groups.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Helen Titherington, Trust Volunteer – IGO News Extra Editor

stinging nettles
What does May have to do with stinging nettles? Read on to find out. 

New Groups and Start Up Groups

Start Up groups

As you may know, ideas we receive for new groups, are added to the list as START UP GROUPS. Once around 10 members have joined the start up, we have an initial meeting to decide what will be the group's focus, how often it will meet, etc. You can join these start ups on Beacon to show your interest

On the list (once we have enough members) are:

  • Wine Appreciation🍷 
  • Pilates - Are there any Pilates instructors out there? We would love to get this start up going if anyone is able to help. 🤸
  • Russian - Are there any Russian Speakers out there to help us get this start up going? We’re willing but we do need help in the form of a person who is a little more fluent than us Spasibo Druz’Ya – thank you friends. 🪆

New groups

  • Beginners Spanish Conversation 💃
  • Small Steps for the Planet 🌍
  • Cinema! 2 📽️
  • Jazz Hour 2 🎷

Join these new groups on Beacon.


This month, we hear from some IGO Group Leaders...

Welsh Conversation for Learners Group Leader - Ann

In my Welsh group I meet lovely people from all over England and Wales. I find them all interesting and am impressed at their eagerness to learn. There are many resources online which they also use and Dysgu Cymraeg. Cymru is my recently discovered one.
I struggle a bit with Technology but receive help from Catherine and the team. Also, other members help me!
I personally benefit because I am using the language of my country which is very important to me. Any opportunity suits me. I’m keeping my brain active (I think!) and hopefully the others are too. I am trying to keep things lighthearted because intensity makes people nervous, and nervousness stops people talking.
So far so good! Please join us. 
Pob Hwyl.

Ann Fisher, group leader


Art Projects Leader - Roger

Being a relative newcomer to u3a and an even newer comer to the role of group leader, I found my main challenge from the start to be finding my way around Beacon and the various administrative bits and pieces to manage.

Once past this initial stage I have found my main challenge has been to encourage a sense of identity within my group and to help all get to know each other. At our first meeting we did the usual brief verbal introductions but then I suggested that we each write a paragraph about our experience and interests and send it to me. I would then compile them into one document and circulate it to all. Everyone seemed to find this a good idea and readily agreed to do it. 

Also, with a one-hour meeting only once a month, I feel a need to maintain some momentum in the weeks in between. I am trying to foster the Padlet Habit and to make it a place for dialogue as well as posting work.

Roger Pugh, group leader

As convenor of the Canva Graphic Design Group, I find it fun and stimulating to join with others who are equally fascinated by the remarkable capabilities of the Canva computer program. I've never had much success with the visual arts, but Canva makes it really easy to produce some amazing designs. And members of the group find what we explore together to have all manner of uses. For some it enables them to create personal greetings cards. Others find it a boon for practical applications such as posters and newsletters. We're on a journey of exploration together!

Roger Carter, Group leader of the two Canva Graphic Design groups


Cinema Groups Leader - Rob

The Cinema! group running on the first Friday of the month 14.00-15.45 has now been active for just over eight months. During this time, it has built up a loyal, enthusiastic membership ready to discuss all manner of cinema-related topics. There is a range of movie interests and levels of expertise amongst the members, everyone being encouraged to contribute to the lively discussions as, how and when they wish. 

Personally, I get a lot out of my involvement in the Cinema! group:  the attendance and engagement of the members are very gratifying; the advantage of IGO is that we watch films and do some reading beforehand such that there is a splendid amount of time for exchanging views, an activity to which I attach a lot of importance; finally, I’ve been an avid cinema-goer for nearly 70 years, but still learn a great deal through preparing to facilitate the sessions.

The Friday afternoon Cinema! group is full.  However, there are plans to run a parallel morning group, staring June 7th.  Any interested IGO member is invited to enrol on Cinema 2 in Beacon, and I’ll be in touch. 

Rob Townsend, Group Leader


All things May!

Be Nice to Nettles Week

This is observed each year from May 14 to 25 in the United Kingdom. This week recognises the humble weed’s critical role in preserving wildlife. Not only the wildlife, but they are also beneficial to humans. The nettle has been used as food for many centuries and was relished as a springtime treat and is also added to porridge. Nettles are often substituted for spinach and can ‌be used to make pesto, soups, stews, tea, and even beer! A dairy company has even come up with nettle cheese. Nettle contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins. Nettle is truly a superfood!

stinging nettles
Stinging nettles image from Pexels

May Quiz Questions

1. Which of Henry 8th’s wives was beheaded on 19th May 1536 and which of her former ladies in waiting did he marry 11 days later? 

2. What does Oak Apple Day commemorate on 29th of May? 

Answers at the bottom of this news extra!

The IGO Fashion Group

The IGO Fashion group recently had a Zoom talk from Dr Karen Watts, who was the curator of an exhibition called ‘Treasures of Gold and Silver wire’.

The exhibition showcased a wide range of royal regalia, theatrical costumes, military attire, ecclesiastical artefacts, beautiful modern jewellery silversmithing and embroidery, forming the finest collection of gold and silver wire objects to be brought together in an exhibition.

Following her visit, Karen said "

Thank you for your kind words, but I have to say that, if the lecture was a success, it was entirely due to the brilliant audience. I have rarely encountered such engagement and I was thoroughly impressed by the searching questions!  You all raised wonderful issues for discussion. I also appreciated seeing the photograph of the uniform.  

Thank you so much-I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon! Thank you so much for inviting me to speak.. "

What feedback!

a dress made for Darcey Bussell with gold and silver embroidery.
A dress made for Darcey Bussell with gold and silver embroidery.

Want to join the Climate Summer School?

Last year, the ‘Climate Matters’ Interest Group Online group ran a residential summer school which was so successful they are now planning the next summer school. It will be held 9-12 May 2025 in Warwick University. Attendance is open to all u3a members with an interest in the climate emergency.

If you would like details, please contact the group’s co-leader, Eleanor Brooks via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Are you a new or relatively new member?

We have introduced our first welcome meeting for new members which was held @3pm on the 15th May – the items on the agenda were:

  • Welcome
  • An Introduction to IGO
  • The Beacon members portal – how to use as a member
  • Waiting lists – how do they work
  • An introduction to the IGO pages on our u3a website
  • Time for questions
  • How to contact us for more help and assistance

Around 40 members attended and when polled they told us they both enjoyed the meeting and found it very useful.

If you are a new member, don’t worry if you couldn’t make this meeting – watch out for the next one on the schedule or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Quiz Answers from the May Quiz

1a) Anne Boleyn

1b) Jane Seymour

2) The restoration of the Stuart monarchy in May 1660

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