24th January 2022 (Online Session)
Attending: Dave Eyles (Chair), Bruce Walker (Minutes), Lionel Bird, Rachael Brown, Luke Harris, Andy Fletcher, Grace McKenna, Frank Smith
Apologies: Nigel Lawrence
Matters Arising from Previous Meeting
Update from the Chair
Dave summarised matters which had arisen since the last Board. The Trust's advertised support for the Gary Thomson 'Evening with...' had arisen when the organisers had asked Dave if they could use the the Albany Social Club and he had gained the Club's backing for this. We would be advertising it to Trust members along with encouragement to renew.
He asked Board to note that Geoffery Gulzar who left the Board some months ago had now formally resigned.
No Supporters' Forum meetings had been arranged at the time of writing.
A number of other points that Dave had wished to raise were covered in the remainder of the Meeting.
Finance, Membership and Accounts
The Fighting Fund stands at £3630.90 and membership at 2795.
Grace reported that a local Afghan Women's Football Team was desperate for financial support. It was agreed:
Action Point 1: £50 be donated to the AWFT
After a short debate about the financial and related problems of the Coventry Ladies' Football Club, it was agreed that any financial contribution that the Trust could make at this stage would be trivial ( and possibly insulting) relative to the scale of that Club's problems.
Football Supporters' Association
Grace reported that the website had been updated with the latest information on the Fan Led Review which very much reflects the views of the FSA. Among other recommendations, the Review places great emphasis on the role of Trusts in the future of football governance. The Bill was going through the Lords at the time of the Meeting.
Grace had written to all three Coventry MPs asking for their support for the Bill on its journey through the House. Zara Sultana, MP for Coventry South, had formally responded very positively.
In the light of some concerns expressed by individual FSA members at national level, the Trust had been asked informally by one of the FSA's Championship Reps whether fan behaviour had become much more of an issue this season at CCFC than previously. After a discussion it was agreed that Bruce would respond to the effect that, in the Board's view, it had not, with the sole exception of the match against Derby County in which crowd behaviour problems late on in the match and afterwards had resulted the police sustaining injuries.
Action Point 2: Bruce to email the Championship Rep indicating that, to date, crowd behaviour involving Coventry City fans was not a cause of particular concern this season
Andy encouraged Board to keep on providing material to circulate to members and the wider community - the Gary Thompson evening being a case in point.
Website Dev, Membership Renewals & Recruitment
Luke started off the discussion. He pointed out that there was a verification issue affecting the operation of the website platform and, therefore, also associated services (e.g., PayPal).
Action Point 3: Dave/Rachael to provide Luke urgently with documents verifying the Trust's VAT exemption, its registration as a charity and its Registration Number
Luke confirmed that once the website was fully operational once more, information such as the link for Gary Thompson tickets would be uploaded. He also stressed the importance of all Board Members thinking about the possibilities for paid advertising on the site.
On the question of new/renewal benefits, there was a discussion about the important difference between 'benefits' which would be paid for and those which would be 'free' on joining (i.e., paid for from the joining fees).
On the latter, Grace was waiting to hear from a membership card producer who she had chased up following her earlier contact. Andy reported that he would pursue a personal contact with a producer of CCFC coasters which might be a valuable addition either to the new membership benefits 'pot' or to wider merchandising. This led to an unresolved discussion concerning whether, if at all, the Trust should be distributing/merchandising items solely badged as CCFC or whether they should also be flagged as the Trust.
Action Point 4: Andy and Grace to report back on any further developments on cards, coasters etc
Luke and Dave stressed the importnace of the Newsletter as THE key means of communication with members/subscribers. A discussion of content for the upcoming issue ensued.
City of Culture: Plans
Grace reported that April might be a good time for a performance by Hanna Kumari for Trust members and the wider fan base. Bruce and Dave reported that while the Sky Blue Tavern had been suggested as a suitable venue, there was no reason why it should not take place at the Albany Social Club. The Club has a wide experience of organising and staging events, and of working with the Trust (e.g., AGMs, upcoming Gary Thompson evening).
There was a wide ranging discussionof whether the Hanna Kumari gig should be paired with another event e.g., a Q+A with member(s) of the Former Professional Players Association. In practical terms, this was quite important if Hanna's gig was to be comparatively short.
All were in agreement that:
Action Point 5: At the February Board Meeting,decisions would be made an implemented regarding the proposed date(s), location and content of a Trust sponsored Hanna Kumari++ event.
Recruitment & Succession Planning
In thinking of the future Chair and membership of the Board, Dave, supported by the Board, was keen to organise a face-to-face meeting which would pull in members, allow ideas to be discussed and encourage Board recruitment. The FSA, which had been most helpful in previous Board recruitment activities, should also be engaged.
Action Point 6: Grace agreed to contact the FSA regarding ideas and possible arrangements for recruitment
In addition, the whole Board agreed for the need for an Open Board Meeting, limited perhaps to 'Business Items' and expanded to allow for discussion of, e.g., the Fan Led Review and the future role of the Trust, its Board and its wider membership. The FSA could be invited to such a meeting.
Action Point 7: At the February Board Meeting, decisions would be made an implemented regarding the proposed date and content of an Open Trust Board meeting.
Any Other Business
Many of the matters raised under this have been incorporated above.
Frank asked for it to be noted that he would like to continue to be involved in Board matters concerning transport issues and safety at the CBS.
Date of Next Meeting
By general agreement, the next Board Meeting would start at 6.00pm. It will take place by Zoom on Monday, 21st February.