March’s Board Meeting Summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its regular board meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Wednesday 14 March 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), Colin Dipple, Roger Evans, Nigel Higgs, Cormac van der Hoeven, Jane Lonsdale, Charles Williams and DT Secretariat member Hannah Kitcher.

The DTB were joined by club chief executive Erik Samuelson, chief operating officer Joe Palmer and (for one particular topic) Frank Thompson (AFC Wimbledon’s lead designated safeguarding officer).

Apologies were received from Tim Hillyer, Sean McLaughlin and DT Secretary Tom Brown.

The meeting started with a presentation by Frank Thompson about AFC Wimbledon’s approach to safeguarding. This is clearly an important, and topical, area in football at the moment. Frank set out his extensive experience in the area, having served in the Metropolitan Police and worked as welfare officer for the FA and lectured on the subject of safeguarding.

Frank had refreshed the Club’s safeguarding policy, which was recently signed off by the Football Club Board. He explained that it was important to cover all areas that come under the AFC Wimbledon banner – not just the Football Club itself (including the Academy) but also the AFC Wimbledon Foundation (which has its own safeguarding policy), the Ladies & Girls section and indeed the Dons Trust itself.

The infrastructure is in place to support safeguarding activities, including a panel that meets quarterly, a senior safeguarding manager and designated safeguarding officers, in addition to Frank. Current priorities including improving the visibility of safeguarding across the club, providing safeguarding course for staff and tidying up the online Single Club Record (SCR) and FA Whole Game System (WGS).

As usual, Erik and Joe reported on matters from the Football Club Board. Discussion topics included corporate sponsorship, the current upgrading of the floodlights and the issues with iFollow. The Dons Trust Board had received a summary of the FCB’s report on the issues encountered with the ticketing for the FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur and were satisfied with the follow-up actions being taken to avoid such problems recurring in the future.

There was a discussion about the EFL charges in relation to Milton Keynes. In summary, the Club had not yet heard from the EFL about the next steps. However, it was important that members should be aware that: (i) we had been talking to the EFL about the charge; (ii) we had not heard from the EFL recently; but (iii) the Club were prepared for this and would enter into discussions in order to get the best possible outcome for the Club and Trust.

On stadium matters, Erik reported that an application had now been made to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) to transfer the grant from The Cherry Red Records Stadium to the new stadium in Merton, plus an application for an additional grant. Demolition of the greyhound stadium was due to start later that week, and communications arrangements were discussed. A meeting with Dons Trust members was also pencilled in for May, as an opportunity to discuss options for dressing the stadium and use of crowdfunding.

The DT Board reviewed the annual accounts for AFCW PLC, noting that the termination and compensation payments to Kingstonian were now reflected in the results for the year to June 2017. The Board resolved to exercise the Trust’s votes in favour of approving the annual report at the forthcoming AGM of AFCW PLC. Erik described the Football Club Board’s approach to budgeting for the 2018/19 season, recognising the importance of a playing budget that gives the best possible chances of avoiding relegation.

The recently formed Dons Trust Board committees reported on progress over the past month. Tim Hillyer (chair of the Operations Committee) was approved as the Trust’s Data Protection Officer. Jane Lonsdale (Engagement & Communications Committee) reported on steps to recruit a new head for the Junior Dons section. Charles Williams (Engagement & Communications Committee) updated the Board on steps to create a new logo for the Dons Trust, to be presented to members for approval at an SGM on 26 April.

The meeting concluded at 10.30pm.