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CUSG: Minutes from the March meeting

31 March 2017

Minutes from the March meeting of CUSG

Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair) (London Branch), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel)
 
Two small changes were requested to the minutes of the February meeting - Ex-players had not taken part in the Keith Curle event prior to the Leyton Orient match, and only one London Branch member had raised questions about the composition of reps at recent meetings.
 
Ground
 
Sunset Suite - Nigel reported a budget was being put together by the club with the support of local firms and club sponsors, for the refurbishment. The funding gap was coming down, but collective fundraising by CUSG groups might still be needed. The London Branch would consider donating towards this. Nigel circulated a draft survey about the Sunset refurbishment for comments from the groups represented.
 
Scoreboard - The receiver inside the scoreboard had been identified as the main problem. A local engineer had attempted a fix but this had only worked temporarily. An engineer from Ireland was due to attend in early April to provide a permanent fix to the outstanding fault.
 
Fan engagement
 
Nigel wanted to ensure non-affiliated supporters were represented within CUSG. The unofficial messageboard, cumbrians.net, had been invited to be represented but declined. Some within the London Branch had argued for the recently formed protest group to be properly represented within CUSG. It was discussed if CUSG should have an account account on cumbrians.net, but felt best that reps who use it and social media should bring issues raised to CUSG meetings, rather than just issues raised by the various groups and their members.
 
Investment update
 
There was a discussion about recent developments, including the rejection of the proposal from the Potential Overseas Investor (POI) and announcement of a new secured loan facility from Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM). A discussion was held over the Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) signed by the club's main shareholders, the majority shareholders. Nigel C said they had signed an NDA in February. CUOSC reps said they had signed a separate NDA that was open-ended (no expiry date). Keith asked if CUOSC, now they had been granted a seat on the Holdings board, might be asked to provide 25.4% of the club's financial shortfall. John Kukuc said CUOSC had discussed this very possibility. It was not a pre-requisite in any case for the seat on the board. Nigel C said he had given an extensive interview to Jon Colman which was being published over several days this week in the local paper covering the POI process.
 
Regarding previous negotiations with EWM - Nigel noted that there was no exclusivity granted to the POI. The facility from EWM was not provided to pay off the Pioneer loan. This had been listed in the latest Pioneer accounts as 'Due within one year' with a deadline of April this year, but this was merely an accounting requirement (FRS 102) for interest-free loans and the loan was being gradually repaid through writing down of sponsorship deals and regular monthly repayments, in the same way and unchanged from previous years.
 
Checkatrade Trophy
 
The club had received over 600 responses to its survey. The next meeting to discuss this was on April 11 which Nigel would attend on behalf of CUFC. Initial feedback had already been provided to the EFL - fans had shown more solidarity with the idea of involving National League clubs and had shown little support for the idea that young players were gaining valuable development experience through the inclusion of so-called 'B' teams, or that the additional prize money was balanced by the changes to the competition.
 
Equality
 
Barry reported that work to upgrade the existing East Stand disabled fans shelter would commence this week. He agreed to take on the application for funds from the Premier League fans' fund. There had been a further complaint about dangerous parking arrangements for disabled supporters at the Portsmouth game. The club agreed to sort this out with the help of a dedicated steward, and agreed that the Head Steward would liaise with Barry over the matter. Matt Spooner would provide a quote for a 'bus shelter' for disabled supporters in the away enclosure in the Waterworks End.
 
The disabled fans group had now been properly constituted with five initial committee members, a bank account being set up, and request for funds made to Level Playing Field. CUSG would provide additional start-up funds. Application forms to join would be made available via the CUSG groups and the club ticket office. Barry put on record his thanks for support from CUSG, CUFC and local media. The group also acknowledged Barry's efforts to date and pledged its continuing support. The club's latest access audit was due to take place in April.
 
Finances
 
Simon reported £2,340 in the bank account. £240 would come out to cover East Stand disabled facility upgrade.
 
Season Tickets 17-18
 
The club was discussing various possible schemes, including one adopted by Rochdale FC, but no final decision had been reached. The Rochdale scheme provided a discount based on how many season tickets were sold in total.
 
Catering contract
 
The tendering process for next season was underway and was being led by Phil King. Various options were being looked at.
 
Events
 
The plan for a special CUSG award had had to be cancelled for this year due to arrangements for the Awards Dinner being finalised already, but CUSG had been invited to present an existing award at this year's event. CUOSC had a Quiz Night organised for April 28. Plans for the summer Fun Day would be progressing once the season finished.
 
There were plans for a fans' forum to take place in May. The West Cumbrian group were keen on a forum to be held in West Cumbria, possibly before the start of next season. The club had organised an 'Open Doors Day' for April 11, which would be aimed primarily at younger supporters, during the Easter holiday. Tours of the ground and a public training session were scheduled.
 
Meeters and Greeters
 
Nigel D reiterated the need for more volunteers for this scheme. A free match ticket was available for all helpers and the experience gained would be a valuable addition to their CV. CUSG groups to advertise for volunteers.
 
Any Other Business
 
West Cumbria Travel members had complained about use of plastic glasses in the Sunset Suite. This was due to a broken glass washer. It was agreed that a new glass washer would be installed asap by the club and WCT generously offered to make a donation to the cost.
 
The club's AGM would be held on May 31 at 7pm (provisionally). The club's audited accounts were expected to be filed later this week.
 
Next meeting - to be organised for the first week in May.

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