This website recently asked readers how they had been using Beacon to provide information and help members during the crisis.
Hugh Scott of Downe U3A told us that they'd used Beacon to inform the membership about suspended activities. They'd provided three contact numbers that members could use to ask for any help, or just to hear a friendly voice.
The Downe U3A secretary had also sent out a quiz to 'exercise the mind'.
Terry Cash and his U3A, Dunmow in Essex, has provided an object lesson in using Beacon to its full potential. His email is worth quoting in full.
"Since Covid-19 began to take a hold, the first days of panic buying and the start of restrictions to movement, Dunmow U3A’s Beacon system has been a lifeline for its 600 members. Beacon was first used to communicate quickly and effectively with all members to pass essential information about classes and meetings.
"When it became clear that we could no longer meet in groups, daily news and information bulletins have kept our members informed about where scarce commodities might be bought, how to contact pop up shops and local delivery companies that had supplies of food and goods that supermarkets had been stripped of and most importantly, where to get help.
"The Beacon system soon became a portal for the exchange of information and a mechanism for the more vulnerable members of our organisation to be able to call for assistance. This led to a large volunteer force being mobilised to cater for the needs of anyone in need.
"Regular blogs have kept members amused and entertained, along with ideas generated by the membership and shared with others through the Beacon system with things to do, ways of setting up video chats with friends and family and establishing a network of telephone callers to maintain one on one contact with those living alone and in need of company.
"This is just the beginning, we have far to go, but the members now have a proven mechanism for communicating quickly and efficiently that can only grow in importance over the months to come."
Terry added in a further email "Beacon has been a life saver for us, literally".
Dunmow are lucky to have such a dynamic committee but I'm sure they're not unique. How is your U3A using Beacon? Let is know at firstname.lastname@example.org.