On 18 November, we held a successful and well-attended Beacon Team Training
Day in Birmingham and a further such session is being planned for March. These
sessions allow the volunteer Beacon Team, who are based across the UK, to
introduce new team members, share best practice and keep up-to-date with
Following the announcement of APT as the proposed partner to work with us on the
Beacon Upgrade Project, meetings were held with U3A members at their offices. For
the first meeting, members having registered their interest at being involved were
invited to attend or watch online. The second meeting saw a representative sample
of local U3As attend. Both meetings comprised a short presentation from APT
followed by a round-table discussion, the results of which have been fed into the
discovery phase of the project.
Throughout November and December APT have been working closely with the
Beacon Upgrade Project Working Group. APT have produced a Project Foundation
Document which is being reviewed in detail by the Working Group, including over the
Christmas break, in preparation for further discussion in January.
A Beacon Upgrade Project Working Group meeting was held last week, and another
is set for 13 January, with detailed discussion taking place with APT meanwhile.
The Beacon Upgrade Project is therefore still running according to plan and we
expect to move to development, testing, training, documentation and pilot in the
Please continue to refer to the dedicated Beacon website for project updates.
Website address – https://beacon.u3a.org.uk
Frank Bailey – Beacon Team National Support Lead
Sam Mauger – Chief Executive and Chair of the Beacon Upgrade Project Working
Adam Walton – Project Executive Officer
This month, it was announced that the Third Age Trust Board of Directors have decided to partner with APT Solutions Ltd to deliver the Beacon Upgrade Project.
Following a recommendation by the Beacon Upgrade Working Group the Trust Board of Directors approved the appointment of APT and the beginning of work in the coming weeks.
APT is a specialist provider of software and services to the membership sector and have worked with a range of organisations of a similar size and structure to the U3A movement both in the UK and abroad.
The decision to partner with APT was taken following a competitive procurement process led by the Beacon Upgrade Working Group which saw a number of potential partners show off their expertise and products to the group. The working group, which comprised U3A members and representatives of the Third Age Trust, assessed the participants and made a recommendation to the Board.
Chief Executive Sam Mauger said, ‘I am thrilled that APT will be working with in partnership with us to deliver a system designed for the U3A movement, by the U3A movement. APT have shown how their approach will involve U3A members throughout and this interaction is key.’
The next stage of the project will be a discovery phase in which the knowledge we have already gathered from U3As and members is consolidated and built upon to ensure the upgrade meets the needs of U3As and users.
We will do this by using the information we have already gathered plus a number of additional exercises such as focus groups with U3A members.