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CUSG: Minutes of the May meeting

10 May 2017

The minutes of the CUSG May meeting held at Brunton Park

Attendance: Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Phil King (CUFC), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Kate Rowley (CUSAT), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Amy Nixon (CUFC), Andy Hall (CUFC)
 
Apologies - John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), John Kukuc (CUOSC) 
 
Minutes of the last meeting were read and agreed.
 
Scoreboard
A local electrician had serviced it and it now worked. Costs for a potential new scoreboard had been progressed by the club. A leading supplier had quoted a price of £140k for a large 25 square metre LED screen. A more advanced rotating LED screen at 30 square metres would cost £159k. They were both expected to last about 10 years. Leasing of the screens was not an option with the supplier the club had talked to. Advertising on these boards would need to bring in approx £2000 - £2500 per game to cover their costs over a 3-year period or so. Pitchside electronic advertising was more lucrative and the boards were available second-hand.
 
Supporter engagement

Concern had been previously expressed by the London Branch at the proposal to include individuals as part of CUSG. It was felt that this went against the point of the committee, to bring together representatives of functioning supporter organisations. It was also felt that it could potentially lead to problems given that individuals, with their own agenda, might be disruptive or distract the organisations from their work and activities. Individuals, as with the current representative from over the border, should be made welcome at meetings but with observer status only. It would be hoped that CUSG would then work with an individual to help them create an organisation and extend the supporter base and involvement.

EFL Rule 111 required clubs to have a supporter engagement policy. CUFC had prepared a formal document to lay out its supporter engagement policy and this was nearly ready. Feedback from the groups, in particular CUSAT and London Branch had been used to put the policy document together. When ready the document will be posted on the club's website. The plan is to review it periodically with the help of CUSG and constituent groups.
 
EFL Update
The club had completed a survey from the EFL that was mostly questions about the EFL itself and its overall direction.
A new media deal that would allow live streaming of games (with a small delay) to overseas supporters was due to start next season. Andy said this would be good for the club and he didn't expect it to have any impact on attendances.
The proposals for next season's format of the EFL Trophy (Checkatrade Trophy) were being circulated to clubs to vote on. It would be a one member, one vote option for all 48 clubs involved from Leagues 1 and 2. The three choices were essentially 1/ A modified version of this season's format 2/ As last season (without groups) and 3/ Scrap the competition. CUOSC stated they supported option 2, due to the overwhelming views of its members. The outcome of the vote would be known soon and the club would put out a statement at the appropriate time.
 
Equality
The new disabled supporters group was up and running with five committee members and a secretary. An access audit report from the city council was pending. Nigel D and Barry had walked around the ground with a council rep.
Barry said that the form for applying for funds from the Premier League fans fund required the club to agree the feasibility of any project and be willing to back it.
The long term plan to upgrade facilities in the East Stand was dependent on lift access. Nigel D stated there was an unused lift shaft in place that could be utilised. The lift that had been already installed could not be used for this purpose due to that lift shaft only accessing first floor from when the stand was originally built.
The work planned to improve the Paddock facility was on course for the summer. Exact timings had still to be agreed. Prices were awaited for erecting a 'bus shelter' at the away end. CUSAT and Geoff Thomlinson had both offered to support the project financially.
 
Finances
Michelle updated that the current balance of the account was £2,020.21 following payment for the East Stand disabled facilities upgrade and some minor start up costs for the disabled supporters group. A total of £255 had been raised through the sale of instant lotto tickets which had been donated to the Motor Neurone Disease charity.
 
Season Tickets
Phil reported nearly double the sales in the early buy period compared to last season. The deadline for reserving seats was tomorrow (5th May). He was confident that the club could cope with the extra demand caused by potential play off matches. The club had several ticket offices around the ground which could be utilised. Simon offered the use of CUSG volunteers to help, if needed.
Kate asked why the club had introduced a May 5 cut-off for reserving of seats by existing ST holders. Phil said that the renewal window for this was actually the same as last season and that the club wanted to offer the widest range of seats to new ST holders. There had been complaints about the time taken to contact ST holders about the new offers and the quality of the photocopied material sent out. Nigel admitted the photocopied documents were not up to scratch and he would sort this out for next season. The envelopes had gone out alphabetically so people with surnames near the end of the alphabet had to wait longer. A question was asked about why there was a bigger discount for terraced STs over seats. The club's response was that they had a policy to make standing STs more attractive in order to increase the number of new ST holders.
A question was asked about upgrading a terraced ST to a seated one. This would be an option and prices for doing this would be set after May 26 - this had previously been communicated via a 'FAQ's' release on website, but that it would be pushed again.
The club were offering improved terms for disabled STs and had gone beyond the EFL rules for accomodation of disabled spectators.
The club would shortly be able to confirm if the Virgin Trains discount scheme for ST holders would be continuing next season. They were keen for it to continue.
 
Bar and catering survey
This survey was about to go out. It will assist with next season's plans. CUSG would help to circulate it. The new glass washer had been bought and installed in the Sunset. The Sunset Suite was on course for upgrading post the concerts in June.
TVs and associated wiring would be replaced. Plans for flooring, new furniture, air conditioning and lighting were all in hand. The brewers Heineken had listened to feedback and were receptive to plans to have real ale available in the bars.
London Branch and CUOSC had offered to help support the project to upgrade the bars (including the Sporting Inn) financially. Volunteer labour would be available in the summer to help with basic painting tasks.
A shortlist of three companies was due to present to the club on May 15 to compete for next season's catering contract, following a detailed tender process. The new contract would include provision for more non-match day uses of the bars.
 
Events
The latest CUOSC quiz night had again been well attended and well received. CUOSC were hoping to do two of these events each season from now on.
The End of Season awards dinner was sold out. A CUSG rep would present the Goal of the Season award.
The date of the summer Fun Day was yet to be finalised depending on player availability.
Feedback from last month's Open Day was that tours of the ground and signing sessions by players were very popular.
It was hoped there would again be some financial support for the Fun Day from community businesses. Participants (community groups/ fun day attractions) wishing to attend would be most welcome.
For the Tony Hopper charity game at Brunton Park on May 21, tickets were only being sold for the West Stand initially.
Ticket sales for the Olly Murs concert in June were going particularly well. Catering for both concerts was being partly contracted out.
 
AOB
CUFC shortly to hold a golf day (14th July) and anybody was welcome to enter a team. CUFC website to be completely re-launched on June 6. It would include more options for content supplied by CUSG and constituent groups.
Club wished to use CUSG as a nominator for a EFL Supporter of the Year award, which was part of the Community Sports Trust Awards. Winner to be nominated for EFL award.
Nigel D made a plea for more volunteers for the Meeter and Greeter scheme for next season.
A police investigation was continuing into the break-in in the Family Zone.
 
Next meeting - planned for late June.

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