The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board meeting summary – 15 December

On Wednesday 15 December, 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): Jane Lonsdale, Niall Couper, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey, Tim Hillyer, Charlie Talbot, Hannah Kitcher, Ed Leek 

Incoming Board members attending as observers only: Michele Little, Freddy Flaxman, Kris Stewart 

Also in attendance:  Secretary – Martin Newton, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge 

Apologies: Xavier Wiggins 

A warm welcome and congratulations were extended to the three new DTB members who were attending as observers, and will be formally joining after the AGM on Thursday 16 December 2021. The new secretary Martin Newton was also welcomed. 

Regarding the minutes from the previous two meetings – the Board recognised that these have still not been published due to some resourcing and administrative issues. It was reported that more administrative support is required, and so some communications requesting further volunteer support will be issued. This is needed for both the DTB and PLC board. 

The Dons Trust accounts have now been published and shared with members ahead of the AGM. Unfortunately, as a result of the evolving COVID-19 situation, the decision was made to move the AGM will be fully remote. The DTB recognised that this is a disappointment for members but felt that it was prudent on this occasion given the current pandemic status. All members had been notified via email, and those members who receive their communications from the Dons Trust via post were called.  

There was then an update on the second Bond proposals with the aim that these will be used as part of the process of refinancing club debt in 2022. Agreed rates for new and existing bond holders has been signed off. A special mention of thanks for all the work that has gone in to this was extended to Ed, Michele and Charlie. 

On the latest ticketing issue relating to the Boreham Wood FA Cup match — reflecting the views of members, the DTB requested that the club amended the process for ticket allocation. The club responded to this and with a few additional changes agreed at the meeting, a new communication should be sent out within the next week. 

The PLC meeting was moved to before the DTB meeting this week in order to accommodate the AGM, and so as opposed to the usual procedure of inputting into the PLC agenda, the DTB were provided with an overview of the main points discussed, which centered around resourcing and communications. A new strategy for improving the coordination of external communications had been agreed with the PLC board. There was also clarification sought over plans and budgets for the upcoming transfer window. 

An update on the Honours committee was then given. Currently the plan is for a new team to be recruited to this committee with aim to find individuals with the skills and experience necessary to make it a success. Current proposals include looking at ways of recognising not just the contribution of playing staff, but also potentially coaches, employees and volunteers. The plan is to kick off recruitment to this committee in January. 

Under AOB it was noted that there has been some encouraging progress with the Fair Game initiative — the EFL has come out in full support of the fan-led review of football governance. The DTB has also been investigating the potential of applying for B Corp status. The recent members survey suggested strong support for this initiative. The process involves the assessment of the club based on 200 questions – Niall is investigating further.  

There was an update that three new Supporter Liaison Officer’s (SLOs) have now been recruited. They will be meeting next week to confirm the scope of work. It was also confirmed that the Junior Dons Christmas cards are all signed and ready to go and will be sent out this week. The Board also confirmed that they will meet before the new year to decide on Chair/Vice-Chair positions, as well as priorities and responsibilities for 2022. 

There was then a final moment for the Board to recognised the work of the three members stepping down at this meeting. There were strong messages of support and recognition for all the selfless work that Jane, Ed and Tim have given the Dons Trust and the club.