Planning ahead

Chair of the Dons Trust Board Matthew Breach has an update on the Board’s plans for the year and on opportunities for members to give feedback on the emerging stadium plans and other issues.

The start of the year is always a busy time for the Dons Trust Board (DTB) as we integrate new members elected at the AGM – this year Roger Evans, Colin Dipple and Tom Adams have joined – and set our plans for the next 12 months. This year our highest priority is a fairly obvious one, with the need to ensure that everything that can be done to progress the new stadium project is put place.

Beyond that, there are many other tasks and activities that the DTB could, or should, be undertaking. However, a perennial issue is that every year we aim to tackle all such tasks, only to end up failing to make progress in many areas as our resources are spread too thinly.

This year we are trying a new approach to help us set realistic goals so that we can make good on commitments we make to members. In January we held a meeting specifically to identify all the actions, tasks and activities that the DTB could usefully be doing, grouping these into areas such as “Football Club Board oversight” and “External campaigning on football matters”.

Since that meeting we have been helped by two facilitators – Chris Heald and John Sargent, who have helped both the club and the Trust in the past – to finalise and prioritise the list.

We shall be holding a second meeting at the end of this month to review the prioritised list and agree how each task will be pursued (for example, is it a task for the whole board, or should we set up a working group to take it on?) and which DTB member “owns” it.

The final action will then be to make a realistic call on how many of these objectives we can commit to meeting this year and put them into a plan. That plan will be shared with members, and at an SGM of the Trust in April you will be consulted about it and have the chance to ask questions or volunteer to help in areas of interest to you.

That SGM will also be the next major opportunity for us to give members a detailed briefing on progress with the new stadium project. By then we will hopefully have a lot of news to report on various issues, and potentially be able to reveal further details of the design of the ground at its initial operating capacity.

At the SGM we also hope to be able to discuss the likely timetable and format for further consultation on the “dressing” of the stadium. We’ve already had some feedback on this from members and other club supporters, some of which we’ve already been able to incorporate, and others which might not be practicable. But as we get closer to the overall design being finalised, we can start to “drill down” and firm things up.

Other key issues to discuss will include starting the process of updating our understanding of your priorities for the club, for example the pros and cons of financing a terrace in the new stadium.

Finally, as I highlighted in the Luton Town programme, I’m joining Jeff Stelling for the 26- mile last leg of the Men United March on March 30. This event is in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and is allied to the official Football League charity partner Men United. Please consider sponsoring me in aid of this great cause.

This article originally appeared in the matchday programme for the game against Carlisle United, played on February 23, 2016.

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