The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board Meeting Summary – 21 July 2021

On Wednesday 21 July 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 Dons Trust Board (DTB): Xavier Wiggins, Jane Lonsdale, Niall Couper, Hannah Kitcher, Ed Leek, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey, Tim Hillyer, Charlie Talbot. 

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

The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club Owners

Jane started the meeting with a brief update on the recent meeting between club employees and the DTB. Many issues were discussed including understanding what is happening across the club, as well as discussing behaviours and values. As a result, smaller follow-up meetings will be taking place in over the next few weeks, and various actions would be followed up.  


Next Tim provided an update on a new initiative in the borough of Merton called Plan Wimbledon. This organisation is still evolving and still defining the its remit. It is also seeking ratification from Merton Council. The Board agreed that it would be important stay informed as this develops.  


The Board discussed the CEO report for the PLC Board, who then met the following evening.  These reports are now received and reviewed by the DTB in advance of the PLC meetings to ensure the DTB views are incorporated into the PLC discussions.  The Board agreed it provided a comprehensive overview of departmental activities. This helped to bring to the surface a number of issues to be discussed at the upcoming PLC Board meeting. The main points raised were an ask for more information on how we plan to make the Scunthorpe game a success and some broader issues relating to the stadium and infrastructure. 


Jane then updated on the work to collate and create (where necessary) Terms of Reference for each of the boards to support the new board structure. It was agreed that, in time, the PLC Articles of Association and the Constitution would need to be updated, adjusted and aligned to the new structure. It was agreed that ongoing, the PLC Board would still confirm budgets and requirements, but the DTB would continue to have the final sign off.   


The Board then discussed the potential implication of the restructure for Board elections, and agreed that given the process of elections to the boards is soon to begin, the process of selecting DTB members for the PLC would remain unchanged this year, whereby the DTB select the DTB PLC members, to then be ratified by the DT membership. However, the Board agreed to revisit this in the future, as well as for the need to update the process of applications to both boards. The Board also noted the need to ensure that any new processes is transparent and open.  Other comments were received on the draft Board Operating Framework covering quorums for the PLC (ensuring that DTB majority was retained in decision making) and noting how membership of committees were established.  


The Board then discussed the definition of ‘One Club’. The DTB reflected on the new governance structure document, which notes the need to work out how the club’s various entities, beyond the playing teams, such as the Foundation, Academy and WiSH, may become more integrated with the way that the Club operates as a whole. This was whilst recognising that there is also the need forthe Foundation (as a charity) to remain independent, as well as being clear what ‘One Club’ means in reality. The Board intends to bring key personnel from each group together to discuss how they could be better supported in the future under the One Club umbrella. 


David then provided a proposal for a new survey tool to replace the existing Survey Monkey service with a UK-based alternative. The new platform will improve GDPR compliance, is safer and provides a better service for only a marginal increase in cost. The proposal was unanimously approved. 


David also shared an update on the Ladies team. He confirmed that the process of integrating with the Club is gaining some good momentum as the new season approaches. The commercial side is improving and is looking to take advantage of the increasing appeal of Ladies football both nationally and internationally with upcoming tournaments starting with the Olympics this week. David noted the first home league game was on 15 August vs Kent Football United at Carshalton and extended an invitation to all DTB members.  


Niall then shared a quick update on the Fair Game initiative, which continues to gain momentum. He noted that Tracey Crouch was due to set out her preliminary findings from the Fan Led review, and 15 clubs had now signed up to Fair Game and many MPs  are now behind the initiative. 


Any other business: A call for match day DonsMakers (volunteers) will be going out on the club website [update: call for volunteers here]. It is key that these are fulfilled so that we don’t incur additional costs. Xavier also put a call out for DonsMakers  to help with leafleting for Season Ticket sales. Jane updated on the Supporter Liaison Officer Role where a job description is being created and will be advertised for via DonsMakers.  Luke provided an update on the box noting the DTB were waiting to hear from the club if there were any spare boxes that the DT could have access to. Finally, Jane shared that the from the club and DTB session on Monday, it was clear that there is a lot of positive work going on across the club. She challenged the DTB to share and broadcast these stories more widely to inspire and encourage fans and members.