Co-Chair Jane Lonsdale reflects on her time on the Dons Trust Board after deciding to not re-stand for election and thanks all those who have helped along the way.
As many of you will know I have decided not to re-stand for election to the Dons Trust Board (DTB) this year after eight years on the Board, so my last meeting will be the AGM in December. Having been asked a question at the last Meet the DTB session in September, I want to reflect on my time on the DTB and PLC, the importance of contested elections, and to record my thanks to all the volunteers who helped with initiatives I have overseen.
It has been my privilege to represent the members and I have been incredibly lucky to work with some very talented people who champion what is good in football! The DTB (and club) has come a long way in eight years. My very first meetings were discussing plans for a stadium on a site and preparing for the Merton public hearing.
As a fan owned club we have always been held in high regard by other clubs and I have had great opportunities to present and speak at Supporters Direct events and more latterly Football Supporters Association meetings. Along with meeting and working with some great people from other Trusts. However, we shouldn’t take it for granted. Our current member authorisation ensures we don’t go below 75% of shares held by the DT (with the added protection that gives us in company law) and that there is a majority of DTB members on the PLC board. Members should ensure that remains protected to ensure fan ownership. The constitution and PLC Articles of Association are quite lengthy and official reading, but they are there to protect us.
Whilst reflecting, I think about the initiatives I have been involved with and lead. There are too many to name but an annual highlight is always the Junior Dons (JDs) Christmas party! I was really disappointed we weren’t able to run it last year so I’m delighted that my last event volunteering for the Trust will be this year’s Junior Dons Party (keep an eye out for the adverts on the website and upcoming programmes) and the prep has already started! (I am sure my neighbours thought I had finally lost it when they saw this recently on my washing line!) It will be bigger than previous years so we need more volunteers to deliver it. If anyone wants to help out, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
The one thing I have never had a problem with is securing volunteers, whether that is designing, printing, creating the JDs newsletters, taking part in the inclusivity photoshoot, members of working groups, analysing data from a survey, or helping run events like the JDs party. Often the volunteering goes unnoticed and no reward or recognition is sought but I want to take the time to say thank you to every single volunteer who I have had the pleasure of working with. I’ve said it before but it truly would be impossible to achieve what we have without our volunteers.
Finally, the DTB elections this year kick off on 8 October when nominations open. It has always been really important to me that we have contested elections so the members can choose who they want to represent them. There have been years where there has not been enough candidates and I urge everyone to think about the skills and time they have that can support the Trust and the Board as we look to establish ourselves firmly in our new stadium.