Newsletter September 2020

From the Chair

As I mentioned last month, the SeniorNet Federation AGM has finally been held after being postponed due to the Lockdown. A very successful meeting was held using Zoom with well over 60 people attending from 37 Learning Centres and the formal minutes will be published shortly.

Some of the important points of note to come out of the meeting were;

  • Tributes were paid to;
    • Ian Turner (deceased), the inaugural President of the Federation
    • Grant Sidaway (retired end 2019), Executive Office of the Federation since its establishment
    • Rex Fowler (retiring at AGM), Wellington Regional Representative for the past 6 years
  • The new Executive Officer Heather Newell (started January 2020), outlined the challenges facing The Federation and Learning Centres in the coming years
    • COVID-19 disruptions and their effect on membership and finances
    • Sponsorship renewal
    • The need for continued fundraising
    • The need to collaborate with other programmes outside SeniorNet
  • Yours truly has been elected (unopposed) as Wellington Regional Representative. My first task is to go and introduce myself to the Learning Centres from Levin to  Wairararapa and points south. 
  • The 2020/21 Federation fee has been reduced (in recognition of the effects of COVID-19 on Learning Centres) from $5 to $3 per member. This will be a huge help for some of the smaller Learning Centres who are struggling, especially those with high room rental charges
  • The 2021 Symposium and AGM will be held in Dunedin in May 2021. This year’s cancelled Symposium/AGM was also planned for Dunedin so it’s only fair that they get another chance to host

On the COVID-19 front, we (your Committee) received feedback from our Tutors about implementation of our Level 2 Guidelines. Recognising that we could bounce in and out of Level 2 for quite some time yet, the Committee agreed to take onboard all the Tutors’ recommendations. Details are covered elsewhere in this Newsletter and in detail here

It’s pleasing that under our Level 2 Guidelines, we have been able to continue with some of our courses and a couple of workshops. There are two important points I do want to make though as we continue to navigate the COVID waters;

  • As a student, you are responsible for your own health and if you feel uncomfortable attending any event we organise when COVID-19 Restrictions are in place, please let us know and you will be re-booked (at no extra charge) when the course or workshop is next scheduled
  • If you are unwell or exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms, please don’t come to The Learning Centre. Just call and leave a message on our answerphone (04) 299 0754

On a non-COVID note, we are in the process of securing and installing some bike racks outside The Learning Centre. We recognise that a number of our members are using two wheels to come to Matai Rd and especially with summer coming, we are keen to offer somewhere you can securely leave your transport while you’re attending meetings, courses and workshops

While in discussion with the Council, our landlord, we’ve also managed to get them to agree to finish the painting of the soffits and to (finally!) patch the hole in the wall of the Mens’ Toilet.

We are also pursuing the possibility of having the front entrance and ramp modified to make it more mobility-friendly – less steep and (electric) wheelchair friendly. This is a bigger (and more costly) challenge as the council has spent it’s funding allocation for our building this year. We will however keep chasing them as we see this as an important modification/safety improvement.

In the meantime, fingers crossed for a return to the relative normality of Level 1.
Stay safe!

Peter Bunkall
Chair, SeniorNet Kapiti Inc.

Level 2 Guidelines Revisited

After feedback from our Tutors, the Committee has revised the Level 2 Guidelines which are published here on our website. Recognising that we may bounce in and out of Level 2 in the coming months, it was felt that we should get these Guidelines clarified and as workable as possible. That way, we don’t need to keep tinkering with them and we know exactly how we will operate should the need arise again in the future.

In summary;

  • The Learning Centre is treated like a “workplace” and the government’s workplace guidelines determine our actions and plans (with a dose of local common sense!).
  • We have set maximum numbers for courses using the workstations (max 12) and workshops using free seating (max 20) which will be strictly enforced. The maximum number is the total of students and tutors allowed in the building at any time
  • All courses and workshops will require pre-booking under Level 2 to allow us to keep within these number settings.
  • Those with smartphones must use the COVID-10 Contract Tracer QR Code which is prominently displayed on and near the entrance
  • If anyone (who is not booked) arrives and causes the maximum permitted number to be exceeded, they will be (politely) asked to leave
  • The Lead Tutor, in consultation with the Assistant Tutors, will make the final determination as to whether a course or workshop can proceed under Level 2. Anyone attending or planning to attend a cancelled event will be re-booked at no additional cost
  • Tutors will not handle student’s devices (incl keyboards) and students are asked not to pass them to Tutors when assistance is required
  • Tea and coffee will be served by a single Tutor from the kitchen but no food will be available. Students will be asked to come up to the servery one at a time to avoid crowding of the area and Tutors will clear up
  • Social distancing of 1m should be maintained at all times including during breaks

Full details can be found elsewhere on our website – here

Students and Tutors are reminded that regardless of the COVID-19 Level, if they are experiencing symptoms, they should not attend The Learning Centre for any reason.

If you can’t attend a course or workshop you have enrolled for, please call the office on (04) 299 0754 and leave a message on the answerphone

Christmas Function – Make a Diary Note!!

A date has been set for our Christmas function – 9 December 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Please put this in your diary. You will receive a formal invite nearer the time but please keep that afternoon free – we’re really looking forward to catching up with you.

Annual Membership Renewal

A final reminder has been sent to those who have not renewed their membership for 2020/21. If you received our email recently, please (re)consider the benefits of remaining a member. You have until September 30 to renew after which your name will be removed from our Membership List and you will no longer receive any communication from us. We would much prefer that you remain a member though!

To renew, you can use Internet Banking to pay directly to our bank account ($30 individuals and $50 couples) – ANZ Bank a/c 06-0501-0746900-00. Please remember to put your name and membership number in the Code & Reference fields so we know who’s paying us.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable using Internet Banking, you can mail us a cheque, and while you’re at it, why not contact Elaine on 021 169 6256 and book in for the next Introduction to Internet Banking Workshop

COVID-19 Helpdesk Remains Open

Our COVID-19 Helpdesk will remain open as long as we are on Level 2.

If you have a technical question, please call our main number on (04) 299 0754, leave your details (incl your phone number) and a description of the problem. One of our Tutors will call you back within 24hrs.

Term 4 Timetable is now out

Our Term 4 timetables are available from our web site here

In addition to our regular courses and workshops we will be running;

  • Several Internet Banking workshops to meet burgeoning demand
  • Several Scam workshops to help you stay safe
  • A new Word course that uses the free online version of Microsoft Word
  • A brand new Managing Photos course that uses the free (Microsoft) Photos App that is built into Windows 10. This is an alternative to Picasa and works almost as well.
  • A workshop to give you ideas on how to make an exciting and vibrant Christmas Newsletter.

We encourage you to contact Elaine (Email or Phone 021 169 6256) early to ensure that there is a place for you on the course or workshop of your choice.  Remember that our Covid-19 Guidelines can mean that there are restrictions on the number of people that we can safely accommodate at The Learning Centre under Level 2 so booking early is a wise idea

Our Sponsors

Google is now a sponsor of SeniorNet in New Zealand. There is an interesting article here regarding the nature of their sponsorship.

Please don’t forget our National sponsors – they’re important to SeniorNet and help us in many ways, including offering discounts to our members. They will all appreciate your support to help rebuild their businesses. Always show your membership card and ask if there’s a discount – you might be rather surprised! The best example is Noel Leeming where the SeniorNet discount extends well beyond computers to everything in their store!