Islington U3A

Late March 2020 Issue

For a version of this with larger type (from the website) click here.

Because of COVID-19 all the usual iU3A activities are suspended and this Bulletin has a different structure. We are looking at ways to start up some other forms of iU3A activities. Some Group Coordinators are already trying out alternative methods so their groups can continue. We are developing support for the Coordinators to promote more online teleconferencing. We are also looking at other possibilities for support to members.

Two people have suggested ways for members to meet outside (with social distancing) to keep active. Both of these will depend on just how draconian the requirement for self-isolation becomes but they would seem to be possible at the moment.

Gwen Morris:
I'm proposing a walking partners list. I would like to know if there are people in my area (so I can meet them somewhere without having to take public transport) who are willing to walk (and talk) with me. Length, when, where can all be decided. U3A would be a really great vehicle to set that up. I am NOT proposing a walking GROUP, just partnering (at a distance) with a fellow-member.

and Lynda Finn:
Due to revised Government advice this is now cancelled.

Some other suggestions for home-based exercise for older people:

  • Seated exercise for less mobile people here
  • 20 min seated chair exercises here
  • 15 min workout from Go4Life USA here
  • Longer version of Go4 Life USA here
  • NHS guidelines for a safe & practical home workout here
  • Oxfordshire AgeUK have some good advice here

Most likely too simple for some, too demanding for others, but hope it helps.

There are endless possibilities for online resources. We list some that you might be interested in here:

  • Online magazine service exclusive to Islington residents here.
  • Over 1200 eBook and eAudio titles from Islington Libraries here.
  • Project Gutenberg offers over 50,000 free ebooks here.
  • Open Library has millions of records for books that are not yet available in digital form; it also has nearly three million books that are available in digital form here.
  • 1,500 Free Online Courses from top universities here.
  • 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc here.
  • 1,000 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free here.
  • 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices here.
  • 200 Free Textbooks: A Meta Collection here.
  • Bread Ahead, the bakery school and shop in Borough Market, has just announced free online tutorials available for next 24 hours here. (You have probably missed this, but as the page says there are more courses on their way.)
  • A TED talk aimed at the general public by a great communicator here, which could be followed by an online discussion for as many Groups of people who are physically close to each other as would like to take part by Districts or Wards of Islington as well as other clusters of members.
  • A new online course about COVID-19 from Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) at Imperial College London here, which could be followed by an online discussion for as many Groups of people who would like to work at different paces (daily, weekly, ...) through the 19 modules which are about an hour long by themselves and then discuss them together online.

Third Age Trust is providing up-to-date guidance. You can view this here.
An online resource on COVID-19 which complements those being publicised by NHS and the UK government here.

Valerie Iles has sent in two poems which you may enjoy:


What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.


And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.


Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.


Lynn Ungar 3/11/20




Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,



Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

Stay Healthy!

Bulletin compiled by Wil Ransome. For any Bulletin contributions please email here.