Executive currently has a portfolio for ‘welfare’. The role includes meeting our ‘hunger’ needs during coffee breaks by stocking copious supplies of biscuits and other supplies in the cupboard in W4 and the sending out of get well, condolence, congratulations cards to members who are experiencing ill health, grief and loss or positive acclaim.
Executive considered Terry’s question from many angles – the need to be conscious of member privacy and independence was paramount. At the same time there was awareness of a duty of care and concern to prevent members ‘falling through the cracks’.
There seems to be general agreement that U3A is at the ‘preventative’ rather than ‘acute’ end of the welfare or ‘social health’ spectrum – that our mission is to foster wellbeing through encouraging social connectedness through learning and shared activities rather than setting and meeting expectations of higher levels of care. At the same time there was clear concern that we need to look out for one another & awareness that convenors play an important role in watching out for & following up newer members who may not have established friendship networks in Benalla.
At this stage the committee would like to remind members that Pat Gardiner is the first point of call if any of us feel that a member would appreciate a card if they are unwell or have either sad or happy news to report. Pat will arrange for a card to be sent to them from U3A. Pat’s phone number is 0407 848 534.
The committee would also like to reinforce the important role individual convenors and tutors play as ‘front line’ workers in promoting and monitoring social health, as some members come to U3A to follow up particular interest areas in activities such as Lifeball and Singing for Fun which do not meet in W4.
Executive is still discussing the issue and would be interested in hearing feedback from members.