The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its regular board meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Thursday 10 May 2018. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points discussed.
The meeting was attended by DTB members Matthew Breach, Mark Davis (Chair), Tim Hillyer, Sean McLaughlin, Nigel Higgs, Cormac van der Hoeven, Jane Lonsdale, and DT Secretary Tom Brown, Secretariat members Hannah Kitcher, Terry Langford and Andrew Howell.
The DTB were joined by club chief executive Erik Samuelson, chief operating officer Joe Palmer.
Apologies were received from Colin Dipple, Roger Evans and Charles Williams.
The meeting started with an update from Joe Palmer on season tickets and the decision that more consultation was needed and to put a hold on the 80% requirement element of the new season ticket changes for the time being. They discussed that whilst it is essential to still press ahead with some of the changes, decisions need to be made on the way forward with other elements, including agreement of a priority system for selling season tickets in the new stadium. The DTB asked Joe to present at the subsequent meeting on the choices that need to be made, by when, and providing detail around each of those choices.
The DTB discussed the FCB report. This included an update that DT membership is expected to be integrated into the club’s CRM system by the end of June and a discussion about club’s progress in ensuring compliance with impending legislation on personal data protection known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). The DTB also noted the impressive recent performances of the U15/16s, U12/13s, U12s, U11s and U10s.
The DTB had received in advance from the FCB, the League One 2018/19 budget and unanimously voted to approve. Erik provided a cash flow update up to June 2019.
Erik provided a stadium update and Sean presented a paper prepared by Roger, Colin and himself with a proposal for approaching members to consult on the elements of the stadium design that may be possible with additional funds raised through crowdfunding. The DTB agreed that fans and members will be presented with the various possible stadium options and costs at an open meeting in June and sent a survey subsequently in order to gauge opinion. This will be followed by an SGM to approve crowd funding proposals.
Erik and Joe left the meeting and the DTB continued the meeting discussing DTB representation on AFCW PLC and subsidiaries. The constitution requires that the DTB has majority representation on these companies, although recent practice has been to apply this only to AFCW PLC. As David Growns has stood down from the Dons Trust and AFCW PLC boards, the remaining DTB directors include Matt Breach, Nigel Higgs and Roger Evans. In order to ensure continued DTB majority representation another member is required to stand. Mark Davis had, prior to the meeting, asked members if they were willing to stand. Mark was willing to stand and will consult elected members absent from the meeting so as to finalise who would provide board representation.
The board received an update from the Oversight Committee in relation to the Ladies and Girls (L&G) section. The board agreed to invite David Growns, the Trust’s nominee on the L&G committee, to attend the next DTB meeting.
Mark ran through the process for the adoption of DTB meeting minutes. Mark noted that an addition to the formal minutes now includes a summary of committee reports provided to the board for meetings. The DTB approved the April minutes.
The DTB committees provided updates. . The Operations committee had not provided an update prior to the meeting but Tim will be sharing the draft of the Dons Trust privacy statement to be sent out to members ahead of the implementation of GDPR on 25 May.
Matt had shared the terms of reference for the Strategy and Organisation working group and has written a blog on this which will be posted on Webjam soon.
Jane provided an update on the Junior Dons. She showed the DTB the Junior Dons gifts (hat and mini football) featuring the new logo for all new Junior Dons, who have not yet received their welcome gifts. They will also be getting water bottles. The board noted the hard work of Mat Haylock to get the gifts ordered. They have interviewed for a replacement for Roger Dennis to oversee the administration of the Junior Dons. Roger has kindly agreed to continue to be involved with the mentoring of his replacement. Three people will also be sharing responsibility for stadium tours and there is a person who has agreed to arrange gifts. Jane noted congratulations to the Club for winning the Family Excellence Award this year.
Under AOB, the board discussed the potential dates, location and agenda for an additional May DTB meeting. Jane noted the upturn in the amount of posts on Webjam, which is likely due to the introduction of email notifications when a message is posted on the wall. She reminded board members that they will not receive notifications for comments on posts so asked that they remember to check. The board agreed that responses to queries from members on Webjam from board members should be noted as coming from them in a personal capacity or else flagging the post for the attention of the relevant member of the board who is responsible for their query. The secretariat is in the process of making updates and improvements to the functionality and navigability of Webjam. This will include highlighting which members of the board are responsible for what so that members are clearer as to who they can address their questions to. Charles Williams has been in touch with the Dons Trust website developer and notes that there is progress towards updating the site.
The Dons Trust noted the forthcoming funeral of Jacqui Forster of the Trust. The Dons Trust will be sending flowers and acknowledged the extensive work and involvement from Jacqui in the Dons Trust.