Firstly, we would like to wish that all Torquay United staff, players and supporters keep in good health and stay safe during the unprecedented development of events at this time. The football world, like the world in general, is currently in an exceptional period of uncertainty. Whilst the bigger issues around health, family and employment rightly dominate all our thoughts, TUST is conscious of its remit to ensure the long-term sustainability of our football club. We will offer to assist the Club in any way we can through this difficult period but there isn’t much that can be done at this present time. It is certain that clubs at all levels of the game will feel the financial impact of the current suspension of matches and some may not survive this period. We sincerely hope that Torquay United is able to come through this exceptional period unscathed but we would be failing in our remit if we didn’t plan for all eventualities. Our Strategy Team have been working for a year or more to ensure that TUST is as prepared as it can be to step in to the breach in the event of the worst happening. Be assured that all of us at TUST are ramping up our contingency plans for all eventualities. The continuing support of our members is critical in enabling us to do so at this time. However, the board recognises that for some of its members, the coming months will present severe financial challenges. With this in mind, we are able to suspend monthly subscriptions for an initial period of three months for any member who wishes to do so. If so, please mail firstname.lastname@example.org and your monthly direct debit will be set to zero for this period. On the other hand, many of our members are season ticket holders. If the season is not completed, they may be entitled to a refund for cancelled matches. We would ask you to seriously consider not requesting a refund in these circumstances as the Club will need all the finance it can get over the coming months. At our recent board meeting, we considered the wider implications of the pandemic for our activities and more importantly our club. Due to this,we are postponing our Devon Supporters Trust group meeting in Torquay next week and have of course postponed our planned second brochure distribution at a home and an away match this month. However, please note that you can access an online copy on our TUST website. When football eventually resumes, we will plan a further distribution at two more fixtures so that we can reach those who have not already received a copy. Please note that this month's Senior Gulls meeting on 24th is also now cancelled. In the last month, we have made contact with our council group leaders, as well as meeting with our MP. They have reported that there has been no presentation of any plans by TUFC or its representatives thus far, other than an investigatory meeting with a group from the new Torbay council re possible locations at the end of last summer. They remain, as I am sure most of us do, interested to discover what plans there are for the longer term future of our club. We assure members, that we are keeping in touch with our community leaders. We have had an informal meeting with Andy Candy, as acting chair, to discuss the relaunch of the Torquay United Official Supporters Club. We noted that a great number of their aims duplicated our already well established ones, and that there would be a need to complement each other's work, not to duplicate it. We agreed to meet more formally once he had met with his steering committee to discuss this further. There are many football clubs who have both registered official supporters’ trusts and supporters’ clubs working alongside each other, both acknowledged by and engaging with their clubs. On which note, the board is disappointed to report that, despite the attempts of the Football Supporters’ Association to facilitate a dialogue between TUST and the Club’s directors, there has been no response from George Edwards or Mel Hayman. We are pleased, however, to see a number of initiatives first proposed by TUST are now being delivered by the Club such as incentives for children attending their first match, free tickets for community groups and the establishment of a former players association. We hope that when matches resume we might also see the return of the popular Fan Zones and Matchday Ambassadors. In the meantime we will continue to promote the Club in the wider community and through our sponsorship of the excellent work done by the Torquay United Community Sports Trust. We hope that our members were able to read the article about Supporters’ Trusts with particular reference to TUST in the Non-League Paper at the beginning of the month. National coverage of TUST! We close by repeating our wish that all associated with Torquay United stay safe and keep well through these difficult times.
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