Colin Dipple Dons Trust Board MemberAll aboard

Dons Trust Board member Colin Dipple talks about his role on the Stadium Working Group, and also says that mental health issues need not prevent anyone from standing for election to the board in future.

For those who don’t know me, I am a member of the Dons Trust Board, and this is my third year on the board. My main role is as a member of the Stadium Working Group. There are three of us in this group, and the other two are Roger Evans and Sean McLaughlin. It is a particularly suitable position for me as I am in the construction industry – sort of a busman’s holiday, in a way. I have worked on numerous projects, including the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games and Twickenham Stadium when it was completely refurbished. I am now offering my services in a more operational capacity and have attended many meetings, with designers, structural engineers and project managers.

The role is quite demanding timewise, but I hope my contribution will help. We will only get one go at this, so it needs to be right. I would like to acknowledge the amount of time and effort that Erik has put into this project. Well done Erik. I know some fans are getting frustrated about what has (and hasn’t) been made public as regards progress, but as we have been trying our hardest to get the best design and deal we could for our club, some information, such as who was tendering or getting to the final stages, had to be kept under wraps. Everyone in the construction industry knows their competitors well, so we didn’t want them to know who they were up against. I am sure most of you can understand that. Anyway, we are on our way now, and there will be plenty to update you with and consult you on in the near future. I love driving past the site and seeing that it is now all cleared and ready for the groundworks to start. We will all take pride in seeing our team walk out for the first time at our own stadium.

This year’s Dons Trust Board election is now over, and if all goes to plan the results will be announced at half-time today. It was great to see so many people standing as candidates for election to the board. I think more of us fans should be looking to get onto the board, to get a wider range of views from the fanbase. It has been a bit time-consuming this year as we have had so many big changes. Sometimes I must remind myself that all of us on the board also have full-time jobs and/or other commitments. I have a couple of businesses that need my input, but I am able to juggle this with my board duties.

On another note, some of you may know that I suffer with mental health problems, one of them being post-traumatic stress disorder, and even though this can be debilitating sometimes, I can still be on the board. And it should be possible for most Dons fans to serve on the board, so even if you do have mental health problems, don’t let that put you off standing for election next year. If anyone with the same condition as I have would like to talk to me about it, I am always ready to listen. It is not a stigma or an embarrassment any more so don’t feel you’re on your own – one in four of us think we are, but that isn’t the case.

I would love to see some sort of awareness campaign about mental health within football. And it would be fantastic if we were the first club to do it. Perhaps we could get Frank Bruno to help us promote it. He is a great ambassador for mental health, so maybe he’s our man. I would appreciate any ideas about this, so please go on the Trust Webjam or send an email to colin.dipple@thedonstrust.org with your suggestions.

As Frank says, lets #knockoutstigma

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