FEBRUARY BOARD MEETING
Summary of board meeting held on 17th February
TUST partnership with TUCST & Women’s Team We were delighted to welcome Matt Green, joint manager of the Torquay United Women FC, to address the meeting. He presented the current circumstances of TUWFC. With a depleted squad since the Summer the team has struggled on the pitch and is likely to face relegation at the end of the season. However, there is strong support for the women and girls’ teams at all age groups and exciting and viable plans are proposed for the future of these teams next season. The immediate problem TUWFC face is funding the remainder of this season. There are six fixtures left but only one at home. There is a small balance in the bank but Matt projects a shortfall of £850 to enable the team to complete the season. This is required to cover pitch hire for matches and training and travel costs. After Matt left the meeting the board considered the position in respect of TUST’s net surplus for 2018/19 (£6k) and the agreed principle of contributing 50% of this to community engagement activities. To date, sponsorship had been provided for the TQ1Club shirts and training tops for the TUCST coaches. A contribution had previously been agreed towards tracksuits for TUWFC but had not been actioned and it was now agreed that this was not a priority in light of the team’s current predicament. There was a lengthy discussion about TUWFC’s position and its need for funds to complete the season. It was unanimously agreed that TUST should provide an initial sponsorship of £450 towards the shortfall outlined by Matt. The board agreed that TUWFC should be encouraged to seek the remaining funds from other sources. The meeting noted that currently the club makes no financial contribution to the women’s team. We will look to publicise this sponsorship as we continue to build on our partnership with the Community Sports Trust and TUWFC and draft a press release in consultation with the TUWFC management. Relationship with the Club Andy Walsh, Head of the National Game at the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), has been trying to broker a relationship between TUST representatives and the Club’s directors. A long e-mail giving an update from him arrived during the meeting. In summary, he had received no further communication from George Edwards, adding it was another sign of his unwillingness to understand the role of a democratic supporters’ organisation and the positive impact that working with a forward thinking group such as TUST can have. AW was supportive of all the good work that TUST are doing on behalf of the fans and wider community. Disabled supporters The recent appointment by the Club of Jo Harris as Disability Liaison Officer was noted and welcomed. It was agreed to contact her with the offer to provide details of local disability groups which she could liaise with. Public relations A contact from one of the business networking events who runs a consultancy had offered to make a presentation to TUST about marketing. Now that it has been clarified that there is nothing to prevent us from doing so, plans were agreed for distributing the TUST brochure outside then ground at a future home game and also at the away game at Maidenhead. The Chairman reported on his attendance at the Sport Torbay consultation meeting last month. The aim of the initiative is to develop a new sports plan for Torbay which will reinvigorate and work with key partners and governing bodies to invest and develop sporting opportunities within Torbay. He had agreed to prepare a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis for Sport Torbay for consideration at the next TUST board meeting. The launch of the new Torbay Weekly newspaper was noted including Dave Thomas’ joining as TUFC correspondent. Richard Hughes is now the main reporter on TUFC matters at the Herald Express / Devon Live. Supporters’ Trusts Arrangements have been confirmed for the next meeting of the Devon Group which will be hosted by TUST on 24th March. The inaugural meeting of SW Regional Group has been scheduled for Sunday 26th July. Social media Recent social media activity about the Twitchin family’s disappoinment at not being given free use of the Ian Twitchin suite for one match as previously offered by the Club was noted. The Chairman had been in discussion with the family about this and plans for this season’s Twitchin Trophy award. Communications procedure It was agreed to produce more frequent but shorter news items for members and on social media. The Chairman’s monthly comments and summary minutes will be released separately and bite-size pieces will be used more. Safer Gambling Campaign The FSA is running a campaign to promote responsible gambling on football and address addictive issues that can arise. It was agreed that this is a worthy campaign that TUST should support. The FSA have produced various promotional material in support of the cause and we will download and use appropriate items. Any other business Nick Brodrick raised the issue of government advice on health precautions for large gatherings in light of the Coronavirus threat. Clean washing facilities with soap / anti-bacterial gel and drying facilities were fundamental to this but were sadly lacking in the ground. It was agreed he should raise this with the Supporter Liaison Co-ordinator. He also drew attention to recent speculation about the possible demise of BBC local radio and whether this may present an opportunity for TU Radio to expand its activities into the wider community.