NUFC Trust Board Meeting Minutes (November 2019)
Minutes of NUST Board Meeting.
Held on November 8th 2019 in Blyth.
Present. Alex Hurst, Shaun Wade, Linda Bush, Greg Tomlinson, Peter Maughan, Michael Mannion, Thomas Concannon, Chris Johnson, Norman Watson.
- Alex began the meeting by welcoming the 4 newly elected Board members, and invited them to introduce themselves to existing Board members.
- Alex then gave a brief summary of the current financial position, following the departure of the previous Treasurer. A new Bank Account had now been opened with Barclays Bank in Cramlington.
- The current financial position was that the Trust now had £30,000 in the new Barclays Bank Account and £1,700 in the Trusts old Account with Unity Trust.
Given the difficulty of managing the Barclays Account, he was looking at the possibility of moving to a Bank in Newcastle City Centre.
End of year date for the Trust was August 31st and the we have to hold an AGM to present the Accounts within 6 months of this date, accordingly Alex was in touch with an Accountant/Auditor in order to get the Accounts prepared.
- Election of Chair and Secretary.
It was proposed and seconded that Alex Hurst be the Chair. Elected unanimously.
It was proposed and seconded that Norman Watson be the Secretary. Elected unanimously. Under this item there was also some discussion on the ways in which the Board could meet electronically as 2 members were based in London. Various methods were discussed including Skype and business Skype. Alex and Chris would look into this and report back. In the meantime we should use Whats App only for urgent/important messages and not just general exchanges.
- Board Election Up-Date.
Alex reported that there had been a very good turnout with 3,000(34%) of members voting, making it one of the biggest Supporters Trust elections ever held. The total cost was £511. It was agreed that Thomas would prepare an article on this for the FSA.
- Key Aims for the Trust in next 6 months.
Alex began this discussion by saying that according to Premier League Rules, the Club was supposed to meet the Trust 4 times a year.
It was agreed by all participants that the current Fans Forum was broken.
Alex recalled that when Lee Marshall met the Board in March this year he said he was looking for an open and honest dialogue, and agreed to our suggestion to meet around concrete areas of interest in order to help both the club and its supporters. No such meetings had taken place in the last 6 months.
Alex proposed as a next step that we write to Lee Charnley to seek a meeting with him before Christmas in order to begin communication afresh with the Club.
This was agreed.
Greg suggested that there was a need to set up an Advisory Council ,or Councils, to help the Board develop future policy. This would be done by approaching members to get them to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience.
Norman suggested that it would be best if they were set up as Task and Finish Groups focused on key areas within a definite timetable. We should also look at developing International/Geographically based groups. This was agreed.
- Strawberry Place.
Greg had attended the Planning Committee when the new Proposals were approved, despite objections from the Trust and over 1000 individual objections. He felt the options now left to the Trust was to continue the fight or try to discuss with the Developers ways in which the current proposals could be improved.
Any attempt at getting a Judicial Review would be very expensive (£20-£80k) and not likely to succeed as due process had been followed.
Greg therefore recommended that we now stop trying to oppose the development, and we speak to the Developers about the possibility of a restrictive covenant on the future use of the land in question.
Greg also agreed to produce a basic fact sheet with a time-line on the whole history of the development which could be put on our web-site.
- Fans Pledge Scheme.
Alex reported that he and Norman had already been in discussion with lawyers and possible future Trustees in order to make progress. The basis of this scheme, based on the very successful one in place at Hearts F.C. was that the fans would sign up to a monthly contribution to a fund , which over time should produce a high level of funds to allow the Trust to intervene financially in any future sale, partial or full, of the club. The success of this would obviously depend on getting a big take-up and a continuing campaign to develop the fund. This means that we would need professional advice and support on Marketing and Finance and the Trust would have recognise that this would be a long -term venture requiring resources and a clear commitment to it from all members.
After a general discussion, it was agreed that we proceed as quickly as we can with this idea.
Alex agreed to prepare a basic fact sheet on the Pledge Scheme for Board Members, and he would also arrange a mini-bus to take Board members to Hearts to meet their Board and possibly attend a match.
- Working with Key Partners.
Kick it Out- Alex to contact them.
NUFC Foundation- Linda to continue to develop an agenda there.
FSA- Thomas to attend planned meetings with them and the Premier League with the focus on ticketing, TV Fixtures and travel.
FA- The aim will be to develop some direct links with them and the Premier League
- Membership Development
Michael felt we should campaign to get through to members and potential members who are not currently on-line. There was a need to involve members more by campaigning on key issues. Alex agreed, but said that a lot would depend on the Clubs response to our current attempt to open a dialogue on key issues.
In terms of increasing membership, Linda agreed to produce an ideas sheet on how we could reach out to those not on-line. Facebook was poor as a method of contact.
Alex said that there was a data-base which had been developed by the Trust in the past with 14,000 addresses on it. It was agreed that Alex and Chris would investigate ways in which they could be integrated into the existing Trust membership.
Linda said there was a need to report to members to members at the next AGM, and suggested that we produce a video to help with this. Norman said that there was in any case a legal duty for the Chair to report to members on our activities at the AGM.
Greg said he would look into the possibility of holding Breakfast/ Dinners for the local Business Community.
Michael said he has a good contact with Paul Lancaster from Plan Digital UK, who could help the Trust with media platforms.
- Social Media/ Website
Alex said that we need to develop our media accounts, and he would seek quotes to get professional help on this. We needed a better Server, Integrate Mail-Chimp more. Damian and Sean as our current developers would be contacted by Alex to get quotes.
We agreed to have a 3 month rolling programme of improvements in all digital areas.
- Next Meeting.
This will be held on the second Monday of every month. The next one will be on Monday December 9th at the offices of Peter Maughan in Gateshead.
All Board members to use Trust email accounts in future.
The Food Bank collection will take place at tomorrows match, all Board Members welcome to attend!