On Wednesday 19 May 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: CEO – Joe Palmer. DTB: Xavier Wiggins, Jane Lonsdale, Charlie Talbot, Niall Couper Hannah Kitcher, Ed Leek, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey, Tim Hillyer
Also in attendance: Secretary – David Gowns, Treasurer – Michele Little, Minute-taker – Ollie Ryan Tucker, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge
The meeting opened by reviewing the CEO’s report. It was noted that the length of contract that had been agreed with Ayoub Assal had been published. The sales conversion rate for online shop sales were reviewed and Joe confirmed that the current figures suggest we are in line with what are market/expected levels.
The DTB then discussed the test events noting the next phase of preparation and the dependency on the COVID protocol restrictions and test event capacities. Pre-season friendlies would be announced in the coming weeks (now available here). The next test event was planned for mid-July (but was dependent on the Government’s step 4 being in place). The test event would also include access to food and drink concessions and would be a on bigger scale than the first test event.
The role of Supporter Liaison Officer was discussed and whether it could be undertaken by a volunteer (rather than member of staff). It was agreed, if that were possible in EFL guidelines, that the role should be advertised.
Joe provided an update on the planning permission for Broncos which was with Merton Council. An objection had been lodged by Wimbledon Park Residents Association which had been addressed.
An update on the Stadium Projects group, and in particular the matchday experience, was discussed noting progress was on track although this would be more focussed now the first test event had passed.
Updates were sought on the player of the year, kit sponsors dinner and conference/event hire. The player of the year would be voted online, the kit sponsors dinner was planned for July and the recruitment for the Elior staff was underway.
The DTB noted its thanks to the club for its work to ensure a successful test event. Other than the result, it was unanimously agreed that it was a success. It was noted that lessons learned would be enacted for the next test event to keep improving the match day experience.
The finance update, presented by Edward, was short as there was no further update since last month’s budget meeting.
The ladies team integration into the club was then discussed with David Growns (ladies Chair) proposing a number of recommendations including the establishment of a specific ladies board. The DTB agreed that there were some great commercial opportunities if we are able to clearly demonstrate that we are a more inclusive club. The DTB discussed their contribution to the ladies budget (subject to the Treasurer providing an updated budget).
The issue of accessibility at Haydons Road station was discussed and it was agreed that, whilst the issue could not be rectified by the club as it was an issue between Merton Council and Thameslink, the club should write to Merton Council supporting step-free access as part of wider inclusion for supporters.
In the DTB-only part of the meeting, the future governance of the club was discussed including the roles and responsibilities of the DTB, PLC, and Senior Leadership Team). A collaboration document would be created to capture DTB views that would then be used to provide an update to members on the governance changes (now available here).
The DTB received an update on Fair Game noting that John Scales had agreed to be an ambassador and that momentum and interest was building from more and more clubs. The board reconfirmed their full support for the Fair Game initiative.
The DTB then considered a proposal to purchase a box at the ground for a wide range of DTB business and activities. Tax implications were noted and it was agreed that Luke would speak to the club to see what was possible.
A club employee/DTB workshop was planned for July which all DTB, Treasurer and Secretary would be invited to.
Finally, the DTB unanimously agreed to a proposal from the Treasurer to get a DTB credit card to enable payment of invoices. It was agreed that clear protocols and level of spending and approvals would be required.