The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board 2021 priorities and responsibilities

On Tuesday 5 January 2021, the new Dons Trust Board and club CEO Joe Palmer met via Teams to discuss priorities for 2021.

The Board started by reviewing the skills of the newly elected Board and identifying gaps. They discussed the possible areas where co-option may be needed which will be discussed further.

The Board discussed the importance of not overcommitting, recognising some big priorities this year, and agreed the following areas are a major priority for 2021:

Strategy review – Co-chair, Xavier Wiggins, will lead this major umbrella project with support from Niall Couper, Hannah Kitcher and Graham Stacey in the first instance, and the rest of the Board, across the various pieces of work included. This project will set the future vision for the Trust and Club. It will involve member, fan and stakeholder engagement to determine and define the future direction of AFC Wimbledon, including the Dons Trust. It will cover areas such as community relations, growth and ethos and will involve desk research, interviews and surveys and will seek help from various external experts.

Structural and governance review – Vice-chair, Charlie Talbot, will lead this area, with support from Tim Hillyer, Ed Leek and Jane Lonsdale. This project will assess the changes required to improve the effectiveness, operational success and oversight provided by the various boards of club and Trust entities. This will run concurrently with the strategy review and both will be included in and inform the refinancing business plan.

Refinancing business plan – Ed Leek leads the Finance Committee which will develop options for refinancing the MSP loan before its maturity and for managing exposure under the Plough Lane and Dons Trust Bonds. Depending on emerging plans for the further expansion of the stadium, the committee will also consider options for raising additional finance.

These are all major projects which will need volunteer support. The Board is currently working with the Club to review volunteering and help grow the volunteer workforce in order to help deliver maximum benefit across the Club. And this of course includes the Trust. You should hear more about the new volunteering offer and how you can get involved in the coming months. In the meantime, for any questions or thoughts, please contact

In addition to these major priorities, the Board recognised the need to continue to improve Trust and Club comms. The Board also agreed to take shared responsibility for chairing SGMs and to work together to increase meeting efficiency and member engagement.

There is then the ‘business as usual’ activity. Co-chairs, Jane Lonsdale and Xavier Wiggins will attend the monthly Football Club Board meetings and are the primary liaison with Club CEO, Joe Palmer. And the Board agreed Board representatives to be the primary liaison with the following entities:

  • WiSH – Niall Couper
  • AFCW Foundation – Xavier Wiggins
  • AFC Wimbledon Ladies – Hannah Kitcher
  • Honours Committee – Luke Mackenzie
  • Junior Dons working group– Jane Lonsdale
  • Diversity & Inclusion working group – Jane Lonsdale and Niall Couper
  • Dons Draw – Michele Little (Treasurer)
  • Membership Secretary – Hannah Kitcher
  • Wider bodies including NCVO, Merton voluntary services, National Football Museum – Tim Hillyer and Niall Couper

Finally, the Board also agreed increased need for Secretariat capacity to help tackle these priorities. Therefore, we are looking to recruit an Assistant Secretary who will work closely with the Dons Trust Secretary (David Growns) primarily to help chase Board actions, maintain working documents and collate papers. The role can be done online and anticipate it would require approximately 5 hours per week. See the full job description.

The Board will review its priorities and responsibilities again in six months.

Visit the board page of this website to see a full list of who’s on the DTB, what we’re responsible for and how to contact us.