Dons Trust Board meeting summary – 17 March 2021

On Wednesday 17 March 2021, the Dons Trust Board (DTB) gathered via Microsoft Teams for its regular monthly meeting. This is a summary of matters discussed, pending publication of full minutes.


From the Football Club Board (FCB): CEO – Joe Palmer

From the Dons Trust Board (DTB): Xavier Wiggins, Jane Lonsdale, Charlie Talbot, Niall Couper, Hannah Kitcher, Ed Leek, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey, Tim Hillyer

Apologies: David Growns

Also in attendance: Minute-taker – Conor Daly, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge, Treasurer – Michele Little

The meeting kicked off with Jane mentioning the great news that the Dons Local Action Group (DLAG) had won yet another award and this time by Football Supporters Association. The award was in the Lockdown Heroes category where DLAG’s work was honoured ahead of all the great work being done by teams in League’s One and Two.

Joe then provided an update on several business issues effecting the club.

This included a continuing discussion on the use and effectiveness of iFollow. Subject to restrictions in fans attending games being lifted, the club will continue to work to try understand how to optimise the use of the platform for the future. On the subject of restrictions lifting and fans attending games, the intent is to get test events at Plough Lane organised and run so we get the full safety certificate, and so that we can be in a position to comply with whatever the latest Government guidelines are. We should ideally be in a position to have fans back in the stadium for the start of next season.

Joe then moved on to a several commercial issues including the London Broncos opportunity which has been submitted to Merton council. Some final issues around the COVID vaccination centre are being completed and it will open later in March. Lawyers have almost completed the review of the catering contract with the intent to start to run events from August. An update on the pub was also provided. The DTB discussed the ongoing issues of uncertainty around COVID and the impact on commercial opportunities.

A new GDPR compliant membership database system is nearly completed. Finally, Joe updated on the new Football Board and the aim of having the board up and running by April.

The DTB then discussed finance with Ed confirming the process of budgeting was still ongoing with the intent to complete this process by the time of the next DTB meeting.

There was then a longer discussion over the way external communications within the club is currently organised and how it can be improved. At the moment there are many different channels, volunteers and staff members all involved across various platforms and media. The club is looking to invest in this area to improve. A proposal to recruit a Head of Communications was discussed and questions from the DTB would be reviewed with a decision to be agreed shortly.

The DTB received an update from Niall on the Sustain the Game and Fair Game initiatives. A number of other EFL clubs are also keen to join the initiatives and the board supported Niall’s request to pursue this further, recognising the value of sustainability within football.

In the DTB only part of the meeting, Charlie provided an update on the technology improvements that were being trialled that week with the Under 18’s having their FA Youth Cup match against Burnley appearing on our YouTube channel. There was also a confirmation of the successful appointment of Peter Leng as a WiSH Trustee following the recent recruitment campaign.

Jane noted the diversity and inclusion update and the work to create an inclusivity campaign with a photoshoot at the ground.

The final discussion centred around the reaction on social media to the team’s performances and the choice of Head Coach. Everyone agreed that whether its fans, Trust members, the DTB or the club, we are all want success both on and off the pitch and everyone is doing the best that they can to achieve this.