March Newsletter, Consultation special
After a winter 'sabbatical' downunder, I would firstly like to thank Robin Causley for taking over the chair, as well as the TUST team for working together so seamlessly whilst I've been away. I am really disappointed to have missed so much of the fantastic football that has been served up by GJ and his team in the last few months, but at least I was able to listen in regularly to TUFC radio, during the very early hours in Australia! It was great to be back home, at last, for the 5-2 performance against Dulwich, although the defeat against Weston was an unexpected shock! I’m looking forward to an exciting end of season, culminating hopefully with a deserved promotion. In my view, the most important part of this newsletter is to ask you for your input regarding the role of TUST and it’s future direction. The attached document, created by the board, reviews our mission statement and objectives. We feel that it is important at this stage for you to give us your views and direction, as we are here to represent you. Please take the time to read it and let us know what you think. In the meantime, may I remind you of the different on-going areas that TUST has been busy with in the last few months, in working to support and build our club's good governance and community involvement. In no particular order:-
Working towards establishing a more expansive Fan Zone and providing fun activities before selected home matches, pioneering in partnership with TUFC and the Community Sports Trust (TUCST).
Together with TUCST, outreaching to the community with regular pop up hubs eg: at Paignton Sports Academy last week.
Supporting any initiative which increases the inclusivity of our younger supporters, as already discussed with TUFC, and currently the TUCST.
Providing Matchday Ambasssadors at home matches this season, to welcome and assist supporters with any difficulties, and feedback any appropriate problems to the club at home matches. Again, a pioneering initiative at this stage.
Liasing with other clubs and supporters' TUSTs and welcoming away supporters to Plainmoor .eg. Dulwich Hamlet.
Passing on to the club any members' feedback on those away matches where there have been difficulties or avoidable discomforts.
Sponsoring the TU Ladies' team and Disabled supporter fund.
Helping to launch the idea for the Ian Twitchin Memorial Suite, being represented at the event and, currently, in discussion with the family re sponsoring an Ian Twitchin award.
Compiling a list of ex players, particularly those who still live in the area, with a view to possibly forming an ex players association in the future.
Continue to monitor the proposals relating to TUFC in liaison with our different local community representatives, with whom we keep in touch.
Keeping informed of the national situation, particularly through correspondence with the newly formed, and national, Unified Football Supporters Organisation. ( A recent positive merger of Supporters Direct with the Football Supporters Federation.)
Distributing brochures and building business sponsorship, both for ourselves and for TUFC.
Officially attending Business Breakfasts for networking.
Developing our business strategy, with a specialised business team, in advance of any particular situation where our members, or owners, would want us to be more active in ensuring our long term sustainability.
Last, but not least, your board are still awaiting responses to written requests to our directors to meet a few of us informally to develop a better understanding of how we can help the club, or not, and to establish more unity of purpose. We do not support division or conflict as a positive way forward. Differing opinions, however, are healthy in evaluating and reaching better decisions! We will always be there as an independent organisation, as long as members continue to support this, in order to encourage the good governance and long term sustainability of our club. By being separate, as a registered charitable organisation with our own constitution and funds, we are in a position to endeavour to react if ever there is a situation where the club's future is unfortunately at risk. Enjoy the football, and please take a part in encouraging people to join us so that we can do more to help our club. Please let them know of the diverse and varied initiatives we are working on to support our lovely club. Best wishes, and COYY, Michel Thomas
The TUST board has identiﬁed a need to review the Trust’s aims and objectives which have evolved over recent years, being stated in many diﬀering forms across our website and varied publications.
As part of the on-going review of our strategic direction we have consolidated these into a concise set of objectives which can be readily understood by all supporters, the club and the wider community.
In carrying out this review we have also recognised the need to dispel some of the misconceptions about what TUST stands for and its aims. These may be a reason why the club currently appears reluctant to engage with its only democratic supporters’ organisation.
The TUST is not: Against private ownership Actively seeking fan ownership A social or supporters club Opposed to the current owner Against relocation in any circumstances
The TUST board is not: Militant, disruptive, political, made up of troublemakers or holders of minority views.
The TUST board is: made up of long standing TUFC supporters whose aims include ensuring the club has a long term sustainable future, with good governance whether that be under private ownership, part or full time community ownership or otherwise.
Now it’s over to you - our members: We want to know what you think about our revised objectives as set out below before they are adopted as TUST policy. You can let us have your comments in person to the Match Day Ambassadors at the turnstile entrances, to any of the TUST board members (some of us will be easy to spot in and around Boots & Laces in our yellow Fan Zone tops before the forthcoming match against Dartford) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by 16th March. We look forward to receiving your comments.
Proposed aims and objectivesMission Statement
TUST promotes good governance and seeks to ensure the long-term sustainability of our club for the benefit of current and future supporters and the wider community.
TUST aims to achieve its mission through five core objectives;
Representing supporters Promoting supporter influence Community engagement Good governance Being inclusive
We will deliver these objectives in the following ways;
REPRESENTING SUPPORTERS: Being the democratic and representative voice of the supporters of the Club and strengthening the bonds between the Club and the communities which it serves.
Owners, managers, players and staff come and go, supporters and their communities are permanent.
We are independent from the Club and therefore have no conflict of interest.
We will be a critical friend of the Club and a force for change, where appropriate.
We wish to work with the Club at all levels to ensure its long term sustainability.
Our aim is continuous development as we build, maintain and strengthen community bonds with the Club.
PROMOTING SUPPORTER INFLUENCE: Achieving the greatest possible supporter and community influence in the running and ownership of the Club.
We seek ways for supporters to become more positively involved in the decisions that are made by the owners of the Club, which may include board membership should this be appropriate.
We will aim to ensure that the ownership’s motives and long term plans are in the best interests of the Club.
We promote regular and constructive dialogue and initiatives with representatives of the Club and with other supporter organisations, both at Club and national level.
We will be prepared to act if the existence of the Club is ever in jeopardy and will do everything we can to find a way of ensuring its continued survival
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Promoting responsible and constructive community engagement and encouraging the Club to do the same.
We will support the Club in becoming a successful community focused football club.
We seek to develop and strengthen the relationship between the Club and the community, both within South Devon and further afield.
We will keep supporters, communities and their representatives informed on critical off-field issues, ensuring they are sufficiently informed to influence decisions.
GOOD GOVERNANCE: Operating democratically, fairly, sustainably, transparently and with financial responsibility and encouraging the Club to do the same.
We promote excellence in governance to ensure the credibility of TUST.
We will encourage good governance in all that the Club does.
BEING INCLUSIVE: Being a positive, inclusive and representative organisation, open and accessible to all supporters of the Club regardless of their age, income, location, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality or religious or moral beliefs. TUST is democratic and we're proud of that - every single member is as valued as the next and entitled to a position of equal standing, where collectively they vote on the Society’s direction. From the TUST membership there is an elected Board of Directors which holds regular meetings, minutes of which are published.
We aim to further the understanding of supporters and the community as to our purpose in order to encourage them to join us and work with us in making our great club a successful and sustainable asset to our community.
We recognise the importance of young fans for the future of the Club and will actively seek ways to support and involve them, directly or through initiatives with the Club.
And finally, in summary; We want long term sustainability and good governance for our football club so that we and our successors can enjoy supporting it for generations to come. It is that simple.