Jane LonsdaleAn update on Junior Dons and Diversity & Inclusion

Jane Lonsdale, Dons Trust Board Vice-Chair and Chair of the Junior Dons and the Diversity and Inclusion working groups gives an update on recent activities. 

Junior Dons

As members of the Trust, you will be aware that over the summer we launched the new membership packages for the Trust. Working with the club, we have been able to increase the offer and introduced the new Dons Trust Plus membership package and the stadium card. Full details of the packages can be found on the AFC Wimbledon official website.

For Junior Dons (JDs), we have used the opportunity that the new stadium gives us to increase the membership benefits. All the elements of the old package are retained and the offer is enhanced with some additional benefits. The age range now runs to 17-year-olds.

Almost a year ago (November 2019) we created the age 12-16 Working Group as we were aware that most of the offer was aimed at our younger JDs. The working group undertook a survey of the 12-16-year-old JDs and the results were used to help define the offer of the new JDs membership package. The price for renewals remains at £5.00 with new joiners costing £15.00.

Obviously, with the current COVID-19 restrictions meaning that we can’t have fans in the stadium, we are unable to offer some of the benefits which include matchday experiences. However, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Isa Dabrowska and Alison Godden who have ensured that the JDs continue to get their birthday and joining gifts throughout the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Junior Dons working group is meeting soon to discuss options for alternatives to ensure that JDs continue to feel engaged and part of the Trust. If you have any ideas on things you would like us to consider, or any feedback we’d love to hear from you so please do email juniordons@thedonstrust.org.

Junior Dons Benefits:

  • Junior Dons who are aged 16 and over will have the ability to vote
  • Joining gift (choice of one of three gifts)
  • If you are a Junior Don member you are eligible for a mascot package discount (original standard mascot package price: £50 / Junior Don mascot price: £25)
  • All Junior Dons members get one free stadium tour when accompanied by a paying adult
  • Exclusive invitation to Junior Dons events which would split into 2 age groups:
    • 11 & under will be eligible for a Christmas party joined by the players and Haydon
    • 17 & under will be eligible to join in on a training session with the players at the training ground and a Q&A with the manager
  • Junior Dons members will receive a minimum of two newsletters a year (by post)
  • Regular Junior Dons email newsletters with relevant content and exclusive offers
  • Automatic entry to a monthly draw to become a matchday reporter
  • Birthday and Christmas cards signed by the players
  • Regular offers for AFC Wimbledon holiday camps
  • Eligibility to vote for the Junior Dons player of the year and invitation to the event
  • If you are a Junior Don you will be able to opt-in to enter a mascot competition (two places available per match, randomly selected before every game). Age restrictions apply.
  • Exclusive opportunities for Junior Dons members to be involved in flag bearing, reading out the team etc
  • Invitation to other exclusive events (limited spaces available per event)
  • The opportunity to contribute to Haydon’s page in the matchday programme

Diversity and Inclusion

The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) working group met a couple of weeks ago and discussed plans for this year. A lot of the initiatives we run revolve around a matchday so the group considered other options for this year. We have already taken part in this year’s Lonely Not Alone campaign to support young people who may be feeling lonely and Anne-Marie Godfrey, with the support of the D&I working group, has set up the Dons 4 Diversity group and is looking for help in setting up the LGBTQ* fans group.

Any interested fans should join the group on Facebook and contact Anne-Marie (annemariegodfrey@hotmail.co.uk). We will be relaunching the Kicking Out Abuse poster campaign shortly and will include information on how to report abuse outside of a matchday. We will also carry on with the things already introduced when we are playing at Plough Lane including free sanitary products for ladies in the toilets at the ground and running an annual Women at the Game event.

Separately Amanda Bynon, AFC Wimbledon Inclusion Manager, and I were invited to Merton Council’s Hate Crime Strategy Group where we presented the work the Club and Trust have done.
If you would like to support the diversity and inclusion agenda and have some time to spare to run some of the initiatives please do get in touch with me: jane.lonsdale@thedonstrust.org.

Oh, and a final plug for diversity on the DTB. Whilst the DTB currently has a pretty good gender balance, we would welcome candidates who add to our wider diversity? If you are thinking of standing and want more information I’d be very happy to chat about what it involves.