To follow on from Chair, Mark Davis’ update on behalf of the Dons Trust Board on 23 March, we would like to reassure fans that the Dons Trust Board is still meeting monthly to ensure oversight of the Club. We have now transitioned to holding these virtually. We continue to meet with CEO, Joe Palmer, regularly (now remotely) who has provided an update on the key issues and decisions affecting our club during these unprecedented and worrying times. A summary of the key points discussed at this month’s meeting is included at the end of this update.
Unfortunately, we are currently a couple of meetings behind with minutes (for the 19th Feb and 18th March meetings) because of conflicting demands on the Secretariat’s time. Dons Trust Secretary, David Growns, is currently working to onboard new volunteer minute-takers to help share the workload. We appreciate your patience on this and are working hard to get up to date on publishing meeting minutes. We know these are important in ensuring transparency and accountability of the board.
We are always extremely grateful to those who volunteer their time to help support the day-to-day running of the Dons Trust’s activities, which include our minute-takers. We know it is not an easy job.
The Dons Trust would usually host an SGM for members around April. Given current government advice on social distancing, at the current time we are not planning to have an SGM. The Board intends to put in place alternative arrangements and is discussing the possibility of an online SGM. In the meantime, members are always welcome to ask questions of the Board, either via the Dons Trust messaging forum (https://donstrust.boards.net/ ) or directly via email using the format firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, below is a list of your elected Dons Trust Board alongside their agreed priorities for 2020.
Mark Davis: Chairing board meetings & Dons Trust general meetings. FCB oversight and attending FCB meetings as an alternate to Jane. Line management of CEO (Joe Palmer). Chair of the Stadium Committee which is overseeing the construction and financing of the new stadium. Member of the AFCW PLC board. Liaison with Treasurer.
Jane Lonsdale: Chairing board meetings in the absence of the Chair. Attending FCB meetings. Chair of the Dons Trust’s Diversity & Inclusion and Junior Dons working groups. Member of the AFCW PLC board. Also responsible for: overseeing the Dons Trust’s governance procedures, liaising with the Club’s volunteer officer and DT contact for the club’s Senior Safeguarding Panel.
Luke Mackenzie: Oversight of the Club’s performance management, establishing an Honours Committee and engagement with Dons Trust members. Also a member of the Stadium Committee focusing on engagement and member of the TWIOF (the stadium company) board.
Tim Hillyer: Administration of the Plough Lane Bond, the constitution, the Club’s history and heritage and the Dons Trust’s liaison with the Football Supporters Association.
Anne Williams: Updating kiosk guidance and the relocation of the Trust to the new stadium.
Anna Kingsley: Member of the new stadium’s Operations Committee. Member of the AFCW PLC board. Also responsible for consultation on the long-term strategy and safeguarding.
Graham Stacey: Engagement and communications with Dons Trust members and fans. Oversight on ticket pricing and the Club’s sustainability.
Edward Leek: Member of the Stadium Committee and responsible for oversight of raising stadium finance. Also contributing to work on updating governance procedures and structures. Member of the AFCW PLC board.
Hannah Kitcher: Engagement and communications with Dons Trust members and fans. Oversight of the Club and Trust’s membership scheme and systems and the Dons Trust’s Membership Working Group. Also working with the Dons Trust Secretariat on the board’s working practices.
We have also updated the Board’s profiles on the Dons Trust website to highlight their responsibilities.
The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly meeting via video conferencing on Wednesday 15th April 2020. This article summarises the main points discussed.
Present from the DTB were Mark Davis, Tim Hillyer, Anna Kingsley, Hannah Kitcher, Edward Leek, Jane Lonsdale, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey and Anne Williams.
No apologies were received.
In attendance from the football club were Joe Palmer (Chief Executive) and Tom Rawcliffe (Financial Controller).
Also attending was David Growns (Secretary) and Conor Daly (minutes).
Joe Palmer and Tom Rawcliffe provided an update on the current situation in relation to how Covid-19 is affecting operations, including cash flow and staffing, at the Club, as well as the progress of the new stadium project. The Board was content that the situation was being managed prudently and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Mark circulated a paper on the stadium to DTB ahead of the meeting. There was a brief discussion on finance and an update from Tim Hillyer on the Plough Lane Bond.
Noting that several other clubs are already starting to sell 2020/21 season tickets, Joe explained that over the coming weeks the club will be communicating with fans about buying season tickets and membership for next season. You can expect to hear more details on this from Joe in the coming days.
The board acknowledged here that we are living through unprecedented times and that many of our fans will have suddenly found themselves in different circumstances as a result of Covid-19. The board discussed the implications for season ticket holders who may struggle to pay to renew their season tickets in the current environment.
There was some discussion around the volunteering requirement in the new stadium. Joe, alongside Rick Thomas, the Volunteer Liaison Officer, is currently drafting up the list of volunteer roles that will be needed in the new stadium. Once this is completed, the club will be going back to existing volunteers before extending a call for volunteers more widely.
It was also noted that John Woodruff, who has been the club’s programme editor for over 15 years has now stepped down from the role. We are extremely grateful for all he has done.
The board discussed the feasibility of implementing London Living Wage. This matter has been on the agenda for a number of years but the Club is not currently paying all of its workers the London Living Wage. The board agreed that Tom Rawcliffe, the Club’s Financial Controller, would do some further work to calculate the cost implications and the Board will revisit at next month’s meeting.
Dons Trust-only matters
The Board discussed the approval of the 2018/19 Dons Trust accounts and recognised the hard work of the Dons Trust Treasurer, Mukesh Desai, throughout the audit. The accounts have been delayed as a result of delays with the AFCW PLC audit, and subsequently a requirement by the auditors to incorporate a Covid-10 related statement. The Dons Trust Board were unanimously content to approve these accounts at April’s board meeting and will be presenting these at the next Dons Trust SGM for ratification by members.
The Junior Dons (JDs) newsletter has gone out including the player of the season vote, to retain some normality. To ensure JDs continue to receive their birthday cards some pre-signed cards were being printed, and an article was being prepared to ensure JDs birthdays were recognized including a video from a player.
Finally, we would like to offer our huge thanks and congratulations to everyone working on Dons Local Action Group, working with the AFC Wimbledon Foundation. It has been a phenomenal effort to help the local community in these difficult times which is having a significant positive impact and helping to generate significant goodwill for the club.
The meeting concluded at 10:54 pm.