Dons Trust Board meeting summary – 21 April

On Wednesday 21 April 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. 

Attendees were as follows: 

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 

Also in attendance: David Growns – Secretary, Treasurer – Michele Little, Minute-taker – Roger Edmonds-Brown, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge. 

April’s meeting began with an update from Jane and David on registrations, and finalising the agenda for the upcoming SGM before Joe gave an update on the latest issues at the club. 

Joe provided his Club update, which included an update on the status of the newly established Football Board. He noted the breadth of knowledge and contacts across both non-league and league football of its members. 

Joe confirmed the club is making plans on the assumption that the COVID restrictions lift in line with the Government’s roadmap, but noted that Government guidance wasn’t yet available on reduced capacity.  Regardless, preparations are continuing for the first major test event on Tuesday 18 May. Capacity for this event is close to be completed, the stewarding proposal has been sent to the Council and a confirmation of the opposition will be confirmed next week (since confirmed to be Liverpool’s Under 23 side).

The Broncos application is still with the local council for consideration and consultation.
The vaccinations centre is now up and running and the numbers visiting are growing significantly each week. 

An update on the catering contract was discussed, which still needed to be finalised. 

The Board discussed the plan for next year’s season tickets, and the new campaign will be launched in early May. 

Finally, an update on player contracts, which will be subject to further announcements.

Prompted by Luke, Joe also promised to provide more detail on the impact of the addition of print versions of matchday programmes to sales. 

Jane commented on the improved speed in player interviews appearing post-match, and asked Joe to pass on their thanks to all the staff and players for the recent performances of the first team. 

With an additional Dons Trust meeting scheduled for the next day, to cover budgeting and the accounts, no further discussion was made on the current finances. The aim is to provide a final proposal for budgets for next season before the end of May. 

Michelle then provided a Treasurer’s update, confirming that due to an increase in the number of SGMs in recent months, and the need to provide additional information to members who receive their communications from the Dons Trust via post, there had been an increase in costs with postage but this was manageable within the current budget. 

Charlie then provided an overview of the club structure including the Purpose Foundation following the discussion on 25 February. 

Hannah then updated on the work she has been doing to scope out the possibility of co-opting a younger member (18-26 years) to the Dons Trust Board as this was a priority the Board had agreed at the beginning of the year.  The Board all agreed that this is a great initiative and are keen for it to work this time as previous attempts have not been successful. Given other immediate priorities that both the club and the Board are trying to currently achieve, it was decided to review the objectives and timings of the initiative at the June DTB meeting to ensure there was enough capacity to mentor and support someone recruited to the role. 

The DTB then discussed volunteering and ensuring positive integration between volunteers and employees. It was agreed more effective and constructive communication channels and responsibilities need to be made clearer. 

Jane then updated on the diverse photographic project, featuring 16 fantastic images of our fans that the celebrity photographer Chris Floyd had create (see the final campaign here).  Jane and the Diversity & Inclusion working group had been working with the club and Fans for Diversity on the campaign that celebrates the diversity of our fanbase. The next step is for these to be put up in the stadium so the local community can see them when they come for the vaccines.  

The Board then discussed the concerns raised from a member about the ‘Champagne Song’. The Board discussed the concerns and noted that it had been debated at a previous SGM. Whilst the Board agreed it was offensive in a number of ways, the Board agreed that no further action should be taken, however that wouldn’t, of course, stop any members putting a resolution to an SGM for a wider discussion if they wished.  

Niall then raised the possibility of the club being rated as a B Corp organisation. The Board agreed that it would be good to investigate what is involved and what resources are needed for an application and the likelihood of success. 

With so many critical deadlines and decisions to be made. It was decided that an Operations and Projects committee could be put in place to help with delivery and accountability. 

The final word went to Hannah who agreed to pick up on the ongoing discussion on the naming of the pub at the ground and consulting members on it.