Annual General Meeting
19th July 2021 (Online Session)
Member Attendance: 11
Board Member Apologies: , Andy Fletcher, Ian Devoy
Welcome & Introduction
The Chair, Dave Eyles, welcomed members to the AGM and explained the format of the meeting.
He gave a brief introduction to the work of the Trust over the previous year, underlining that importance to the trust, its members and the wider fan-base of the City’s return to the Arena. This represented a great opportunity for the Club to re-integrate with its supporters and the wider community, and the Trust would be contributing fully to this. They would do so as members of the Supporters’ Forum and through their own Trust initiatives in collaboration with others.
He pointed to three areas in particular in which the Trust is making significant progress.
Work with the Football Supporters’ Association’ (FSA): Grace McKenna, the Trust’s FSA Representative, summarised the work which the FSA was undertaking and to which she had contributed on behalf of the Trust. Chief among them was her submissions to the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance which is due to report to HMG in the next few weeks. Roger Ellis, a Trust member and national FSA Representative for the Championship, was in attendance. He joined Grace in stressing the importance that the Review was likely to place on properly constituted Trusts, such as the Sky Blue Trust, in respect of future governance, specifically in terms of fan representation on club Board’s. This led to a valuable discussion (Item 6 below)
The City of Culture Initiative: Bruce Walker outlined the work that he and Grace had undertaken so far on developing a photographic/media exhibition focusing on the diversity of City supporters in a diverse City. They had been liaising with the FSA, the City of Culture organisation and the Supporters’ Forum, although the response of the last of these had been very muted to date. This led to a valuable interchange with those attending.
The Trust’s Communications: Luke Harris pointed to four areas where, particularly this calender year, the Trust had striven to improve its communications. First, there had been more direct communications with members about its work and in a much more interactive manner (e.g., through small surveys). Second, there had been increased interaction with other potential partners (e.g., relevant retail and other businesses) in the community. Third, through these two activities the Trust would be attempting to increase its membership and representativeness. Fourth, the Trust were again embarking on a thorough overhaul of its website. The current website was not fit for purpose and severely limited the ability of the Trust to be responsive and transparent in its activities. The Trust had been badly affected when a person who had been redeveloping the website had failed to deliver earlier this year.
The importance of the website and of the skills needed to manage it were a theme returned to by the Chair and emphasised during the ensuing discussion (Item 6 below)
The Minutes of the 2019/2020 were approved subject to the addition of one sentence which woud refer explicitly to Bruce Walker’s continuing presence on the Board as Secretary.
Rachael Brown first presented the Accounts for 2019/2020 which had now been fully audited. These could now be published on the website and submitted to the financial authorities.
She then presented the Trust’s 2020/2021 Acounts which had been internally reviewed and were to be submitted to the external reviewer, subject to a note clarifying a charitable donation made to (and receipted by) Myton Hospice in 2020.
The meeting approved the 2019/2020 and draft 2020/2021 Accounts.
Election to Trust Board
Bruce reported that Ian Devoy and Frank Smith had left the Board. The Chair wished to thank them for the time and effort which they had put into the Trust’s work. Jamie Gordon had also left the Board.
Dave Eyles and Andy Fletcher were re-elected to the Board for two years to 2023, with Dave as Chair until 2022.
Bruce Walker agreed to continue as (Acting) Secretary until such time as the post could be filled.
There were no nominations for new or additional Board Members.
Dave as Chair confirmed that the search for and recruitment of new Board Members, in whatever formal capacity, who could provide the additional IT/digital/communication skills needed by the Trust would be a high priority in the coming weeks.
Members' Open Forum
[This section attempts a summary of the very important and informative discussion that took place at various points throughout the AGM, and the key points that emerged from it.]
If the Trust was to take a prominent role in supporter representation in the post-Review period, this would present a significant challenge. While the contribution of the Trust to the Supporters’ Forum is on a par with that of other groups represented there, the Trust’s profile is arguably somewhat lower than that of some other supporters’ groups. It is also clear that some fans and other individuals regard the Trust as simply opposing the Club’s owners.
This attitude doubtless derives from the role of the Trust as an organisation, which is one of raising awareness and critical questioning when actions are taken which appear to threaten the present and future of the club and its fan base. Yet the Trust has worked hard, often alongside other groups and individuals, during the whole of the Wasps-CCFC dispute to try and bring all parties together. It has also been among the first to welcome unreservedly the return of the Club to the Arena.
Nevertheless, this suggests that the Trust has significant work to do in both reaching out to the wider City fan-base and in explaining its policies and approaches, and its potential responsibilities as part of the wider FSA movement. The luke-warm, even wary, response to the Trust’s City of Culture initiative to date is an indication of the size of that task.
So, it is absolutely clear that the Trust has a major task ahead in trying to work more effectively with individual fans and their various groupings, and in helping to unite them. A key to change here has to be a very significant improvement in the Trust’s communications and the Trust’s presentation of itself. A central requirement of that is a fully operational website and the continued enhancement of the communications process within and outside of the Trust. To achieve that the Trust needs the right skills on Board, and quickly.
Any Other Business
No items were raised under AoB.
The Chair thanked members for attending and for creating the very positive atmosphere in which the business had been transacted and discussed.
The meeting ended at 8:15pm