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NEWSLETTER - December 2022

Updated: Jan 8, 2023



SEASON’S GREETINGS!

A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all our members. Despite the cold, the price of fuel and ICT’s poor recent form, we hope you can all enjoy Christmas in the company of loved ones and that the New Year turns out to be better than we might be expecting. The Supporters Trust Board are working to make things better at the stadium – but more of that later.

AGM


Unlike the Club, the Trust has had an AGM this year. For the first time it was held at Fairways. Many thanks to those members who turned up on a snowy evening on Wednesday 13th December. Apologies go to a couple of members who had some difficulty joining the meeting on-line. We had a bit of difficulty in getting the link set up but we did finally have 2 members joining us via zoom.


We were pleased to be able to report a significant increase in the membership from last year but unfortunately, we have just failed to reach our goal of doubling our membership from this time last year. Whilst it is clearly positive to have seen such a large rise in membership numbers, the downside is that we are not seeing an increase in active members.


A year ago, Peter Mutton was Chair and had informed colleagues that he wished to stand down as Chair early in 2022 and would not seek re-election to the Board at the end of the year. Unfortunately, despite our regular pleading, nobody else has put themselves forward for the Board and therefore the Board only has 4 out of a maximum 10 elected members. Whilst there are some positive things happening with the Trust, the fact remains that the very survival of the Supporter’s Trust will remain precarious with so few Board members.


One motion which was passed at the AGM was to approve the wording of the Trust’s short, medium and long term goals. These will be updated on the website in due course.


WEST STAND ROOF PROJECT


You may recall our earlier unsuccessful efforts to engage with the Club on help to fundraise to get a cover over the West Stand and to investigate how the club can provide better facilities for our disabled support. Out of the blue, the Club has picked up on this and have asked us and the youngsters of “Section 94” to work with the club in getting a cover on half of the West Stand. The detail of the proposal has not been the subject of any discussion with us and is, apparently, non-negotiable. It does not include any facilities for disabled supporters as the club feel that would need to be a separate 2nd phase project.


Whilst we may not feel the proposal is the best way forward, it is better than nothing and we have agreed to support it. However, yet again, meetings have been cancelled at short notice. Hopefully the club will pick up on this again in the New Year and we will keep you posted.


MATCHDAY SURVEY


Another area where we are trying to engage with the Club is with a matchday survey. A lot of work has gone into developing a fairly detailed on-line survey about various aspects of the matchday experience. The plan is to advertise this widely among those who attend regularly as well as those who attend just occasionally, or not all. The hope is that the results will identify issues that need to be addressed if attendance figures are to be increased.

One way or another, the survey will be launched in the New Year and our intention is to launch it in the first instance to you, the members. This will serve two purposes. Firstly it will allow us to identify whether there are any unexpected glitches with the survey or aspects which people find confusing or difficult to answer. Secondly it will allow us to identify if the responses of members of the Trust vary to those of non-members.


One of the hazards of writing a questionnaire is that when writing a question, you obviously know what you mean by the question and what you are looking for in the answers. Therefore, you may not clock that the question may seem unclear or ambiguous to someone else or they may have a response different from what you are offering in the answer options. For that reason, it is important that the survey is piloted before it is launched in order that any such issues can be identified before the launch. If you would like to help by going through the survey and providing honest and constructive feedback about how easy it is to understand and answer the questions, or any technical issues you may experience, we would love to hear from you. Please email to info@ictsupporterstrust.org and we will send you the link in due course.


CAN YOU HELP THE TRUST?


We mentioned earlier that the Board is now down to 4 only members and that we urgently need to boost the numbers. In addition, we must have other people able and willing to help in a more general sense in terms of helping at fundraising events or perhaps at activities around matchdays to help boost awareness of the Trust.


Peter has told us he feels a bit guilty about leaving the Board at a time when there is so much to do, but whilst he will still help out from time to time, he feels he can’t continue with the commitment of the Board at this time. He is, though, happy to share the following thoughts on his journey with the Trust Board in the hope that it might encourage others to take a turn in helping out with the work of the Trust.


"I rather reluctantly joined the Board in June 2018 following the Special General Meeting called in an effort to breathe new life into the Trust.  I then reluctantly agreed to become Chair after the 2 previous Chairs had resigned from the Board. Reluctant I might have been, but I can honestly say that the experience has been both enjoyable and rewarding.  I would be lying, though if I said that it has been easy.  During my time on the Board we have had to do a lot of work behind the scenes to bring the Trust up to a position where it is fit for purpose with a membership system and new dynamic website which will support a larger and more active Trust.  The Covid pandemic was a major spanner in the works and relationships with the Club have not been easy.  We have been in a Catch 22 position where the Club has been reluctant to engage with us because we are not representative enough, and fans unwilling to join because they felt we weren't engaging enough with the club.  Hopefully we are now breaking out of that vicious circle with membership rising and the Club Board issuing a statement in which it recognised the importance of the Supporters Trust to the Club (even if it did edit out the part in the statement about “constructive engagement”!).


“The Trust now has a solid foundation to move forward, and it is the ideal time for new people with new ideas to join the Board and help it develop and better represent the fans.  For my part, I'm afraid I need to take a step back as I need to focus on other aspects of my life for a while.  I know it can be daunting joining committees etc when you don't know the people already on the committee and particularly when they officially go under the name of a "Board"!  It really isn't as daunting as it sounds and the work is as informal as the rules allow.


Committees can be very cliquey or contain folk with their own personal agendas, but the Trust Board most definitely is neither of those. It has been a real pleasure to work Jen, Laura, Alison and John. There is always a friendly mutual respect for the views of others. What binds us all is the understanding of how important the Trust is in making the fans' views heard and in protecting the significant voting stake the Trust has on behalf of the Club's supporters. Special mention must go to Jen and to Laura who have been on the Board for all my time on the Board and for periods before. I think it is true to say that were it not for the 2 of them, the Trust would have ceased to exist.


“So whilst the Trust now has a solid foundation, it remains extremely vulnerable with only 4 of the 10 Board places filled. We need the Trust to expand its activities, but it simply will not be able to do so unless others join them. Everyone on the Board has very full work and personal commitments and Board work can only be done in their limited free time. The work must be shared around, otherwise it simply will not happen. If you think you might like to help, whether as a Board member or in a more general sense, then please put your name forward. The Trust urgently needs several people to come forward and you can rest assured you will be most warmly welcomed."


We really do need your help. If you would like to offer your help or would like the opportunity to have a chat to discuss the possibility, then please either email us at info@ictsupporterstrust.org or come and chat to us at the desk in the Sports Bar before a home game.


We don’t expect any further engagement with the club before the first Board meeting of 2023 in early January. We will take stock our position and update you then. In the meantime, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!


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