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West Lothian Becomes 400th Beacon User

ASA 400 35mm film canister

This website recently broke the news that almost 400 U3As had moved to Beacon. That milestone has now been passed and our 400th U3A was West Lothian. We spoke to the West Lothian U3A membership secretary, Helen Duffin, about the U3A and their road to Beacon.

Helen explained that the U3A was founded in 2006 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. They’re a small U3A, with just 116 members, and spread quite widely over a large geographical area.

Their demands on a management system are modest. They have 21 groups and the majority of these meet at a single venue which is paid for by their U3a, so the groups do not need to charge fees.

With such a straightforward U3A why move to Beacon? Helen explained that their previous membership system was based around a spreadsheet which four people needed access to. They were aware of their data protection obligations and took precautions against data loss or exposure, such as using encrypted USB memory sticks to share the spreadsheet, but they were aware that having multiple copies of the same data can lead to errors and having to send updated spreadsheets by email was not secure. Beacon has allowed them to improve data security and better protect their members' data.

When asked how easy it had been to move their existing data onto Beacon Helen replied that the migration had been pretty straightforward and was quicker than expected.

We welcome Helen and West Lothian U3A into the Beacon family and hope that Beacon continues to help their U3A for many years to come.

To find out about joining Beacon contact info@beacon.u3a.org.uk.