CUSG meeting summary - 2 August 2017
Attendance – Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Ian Jardine (London Branch), Alastair Woodcock, Jim Mitchell, John Kukuc (CUOSC), Kate Rowley, Keith Elliott, Susan Elliott (CUSAT), Barry Carter (Disabled Supporters Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Tim Wordsworth, Nigel Dickinson, Andy Hall, Amy Nixon (CUFC)
Apologies – John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Phil King, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Tim Wordsworth was introduced to the group as the new safety officer on match days. His job is to ensure compliance with the Green Guide. He informed the group that the ground capacity is usually 18,650. Match day stewards are being trained to NVQ Level 2, receiving their training from SP Training in conjunction with Carlisle College.
Barry requested a steward be assigned to the disabled car park, which Tim said he would look into. Tim was asked a question regarding the displaying of flags inside the ground. He stated that the policy of CUFC was not to have flags tied to chairs and that any flag would have to be made of a fire-resistant material. Flags are currently displayed in the Waterworks end of the ground.
Asked why Premier League clubs could display the large flags passed from fan to fan along areas, he stated that it was the policy of the club and that it would remain. He was further asked about fans moving from one area of the ground to another i.e. Paddock to Warwick when the weather was inclement. Tim said that this practice had been stopped because of rival fans from the Paddock mixing with another group from the Warwick. Further asked about the situation when it was raining and fans moved to keep dry, it would seem that the policy of the club is for fans to congregate at the rear of the stand to try and gain shelter rather than allowing them to move to a covered area. The Policy of not allowing fans to move between the Paddock and Warwick Road End is to remain in place.
Simon was confirmed as the Chair for the 2017/18 season, with the backing of the group. Simon stated that it was his wish that another member of the group prepare agendas for each meeting. Kate agreed to do this and Alastair would continue to produce the summaries of the meetings. It was agreed that meetings would take place on Monday evenings at 6pm every six weeks.
Volunteers from CUSG had helped with ground maintenance during July. Yellow markings around the terracing and seated areas had been repainted. Gates had also been repainted. Harold Bowron as co-ordinator of this work was recognised by the group. Volunteers from CUOSC had carried out season ticket preparation and envelope stuffing earlier in the month.
The recent refurbishment to the Sunset Suite was received very positively by fans and demonstrated the extensive engagement that had taken place between fans and the club in utilising a survey. Fans liked the refurbishment and the service had been good. The next phase would involve placing of football memorabilia on the walls. The club could ask for donations at that stage, if required.
ABM had taken over as the new caterers. They had taken on some of the existing staff. New food items were being introduced for the Swindon match. CUOSC agreed to help with feedback from fans about the new catering facilities and beverages available. Subsequent to the meeting further details were provided as follows. The contract transfer was effective from Monday 24 July. ABM’s first game was four days later. Additional capacity and improvements to catering is being undertaken as quickly as possible now the new contract is in place. The work is being mainly undertaken by World Group our back of shirt sponsor. We are very grateful for that support. Subject to normal Environmental Health certification some will be completed for Swindon and the remainder as quickly as possible after that.
The entrance to The Sporting Inn had been upgraded. Other maintenance work was ongoing as and when costs allow. There was new signage around the ground for away fans, and the television in the away end had been fixed.
After the meeting the club reported on the problem of Bird mess. A cleaning company has been appointed and it has visited nearly half a dozen times since w/c 24 July. This is in addition to the routine cleaning by the grounds team and sheeting of seats. The problems remains despite what is becoming almost constant daily attention. Further steps are being taken to try and discourage birds from roosting including use of Birds of Prey.
A volunteer was requested to operate the scoreboard on match days. The group will put out a request to find someone suitable to do this. The scoreboard was operated by remote control and could be updated, theoretically, from any part of the ground.
The planned upgrade to the Paddock facility for disabled supporters still required a formal costing. CUSG would aim to cover it out of existing funds. The planned upgrade to the away disabled section was also pending. Barry had sourced third party quotes for this work, but the cost was high at approximately £5k. Nigel D agreed to contact World Group to discuss the remaining work. Concerns were expressed that this work, estimates and funding was taking an inordinate amount of time.
Finances were unchanged with the bank balance remaining at £2,020.21
Kick It Out day will be October 21, the day we play Notts County. Questions were asked about the home game to be played on Armistice Day, November 11, against Yeovil. There were concerns that we may not be able to secure anyone from the Armed Services to lead the Club and fans commemorations. As this is arranged by the manager in the ticket office it was agreed to ask Tarn Simmons to the next meeting, when all matters regarding such fixture issues could be discussed.
The Open Day held on July 9 had been ‘scaled down’ but was considered successful. The response to the squad signing session was particularly positive. Ian raised the issue of ‘forward planning’ for the event, which could not be finalised until Keith Curle’s pre-season plans were in place. Some hoped-for attractions such as the Army’s climbing wall could not be sourced due to clashing events.
The Legends evening on September 1 had seen steady ticket sales. 50 out of 100 tickets held by CUSG reps had been sold. Andy Preece, Tom Cowan and Kevin Henderson were amongst the ex-players appearing.
Any Other Business
There was a plan to hold a fans’ forum and before then, to arrange a Radio Cumbria interview with club directors including the CUOSC reps. The London Branch invited groups to make a contribution to its regular ‘Hit the Bar’ newsletter.
Ian raised concerns about the age of the constituent groups’ memberships, and committees/ boards. The idea of a young supporters’ representative was discussed. This issue would require much further work.
The club requested financial assistance in acquiring camera equipment for stills photography. Ian offered to present it to the London Branch to discuss potential support for this.
Nigel repeated his request for more volunteers to take part in the ‘Meeter and Greeter’ scheme this season.
CUOSC were open to sharing facilities on match days for holding supporter surgeries, which are currently held in the Study Centre.
Next meeting – September 11.
Other meetings during 2017/18 (6pm start, subject to change):
Jan 15, 2018