CUSG: April meeting minutes

CUSG Meeting Summary - Remote meeting via Zoom, 22.04.2024

Attendance –  John Kukuc (Chair), Nigel Davidson (EDI Rep), Simon Clarkson (SLO), Dave Brown (London Branch), Matt Spooner (CUOSC), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies –  Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Sonny Kirkwood (Warwick Road Enders), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Philip Walker (South Cumbria Supporters Club), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC)

John Kukuc introduced the meeting.

  1. CUFC Update

Nigel Clibbens had already circulated the club update which can be viewed HERE.

Simon asked when the work would start on the changing room refurbishment. Nigel advised that plans were still being finalised and sequencing with the other ground projects agreed.

Nigel clarified that the social media manager appointment was part of steady incremental growth of the media department and that further resources may be added in due course.

  1. FA Cup replays

A very brief discussion resulted in the whole group fully endorsing the strong statement issued by the club.

  1. Memorabilia/Heritage project

The National Lottery Heritage funded project to celebrate and preserve the club’s legacy is a collaboration between Carlisle United, Tullie, Carlisle United Community Sports Trust, University of Cumbria and Cumberland Council.

The project will bring a huge programme of activity including school workshops, community wellbeing activities, youth programming and a museum exhibition. A co-curated exhibition celebrating the history of the club will open at Tullie in July with content development support coming from University of Cumbria Film & Television students.

This will be the first exhibition at the museum once it reopens after redevelopment work. From October, a pop-up version of the exhibition will tour to local venues and a permanent display of objects will be exhibited at Brunton Park.

We have received a huge amount of donations and expanded the group of volunteers (Carlisle United Collective). If you would like to donate any items or join the Carlisle United Collective to support various aspects of this project, please contact

  1. Finance

The current bank balance is £5,225 (unchanged since the date of our last meeting) of which £3500 is ring-fenced for the heritage project and £82 is ring-fenced for the Prediction Competition prizes.

  1. Memorial plaques

Matt explained the detail within the CUOSC update on the plans for a series of plaques around the ground with the first set available for fans to buy being for the memory garden. The group were very pleased with the feedback from users of the garden and agreed that the availability of plaques would be a great addition.

  1. EDI

EFL Code of Practice on EDI

Starting to work on the development phase of the EFL code of Practice on EDI & Mental Health Silver Stage. We will be reviewing all the work done in season 23/24 since the Bronze submission date to start to build the evidence for the silver level.

Awaiting a meeting with Tom and Patty to discuss EDI across the board.

EDI & MH Working Group 

The next meeting of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion/Mental Health Working Group will be in May 2023. Date tbc.

EDI & Mental Health Reps Meeting 2nd Meeting 16/4/24

We held a successful second meeting off the EDI & Mental Health Reps on 16/4. This included Reps from POC, Women & Girls, LGBT and Disability. A number of workstreams to take forward once we get agreement from the CEO & Owners.

Ongoing projects 

Tullie House – Involved in the most recent sub group meeting in relation to the Tullie House exhibit - see Club/SLO update.

Women’s Football Event Carlisle June 24

We are looking to develop a women’s football event in the city in June, working with CUFC Community Sports Trust, Cumberland FA, the FSA and other organisations looking at women’s football pathways and sports administration pathways – look out for more in the coming weeks and if you want to get involved please contact

EDI calendar:

Presence in the Fan Zone – From next season, we will have a match day presence in the Fan Zone. Here we will be able to engage with supporters and discuss all things EDI, Mental Health and Disability. The EDI Reps will cover this on a rotational basis.

1Club1Community – The 1Club 1Community event went off well with 4-500 additional people in the stands from a variety of local organisations, helping to build links with the community.

Chamber of Commerce – EDI was invited to the recent Chamber of Commerce event in Kendal, where lots of discussions took place around potential future events and support for EDI related projects, not least the Give a Day project. More to follow.

Alzheimer’s Society – Visited Brunton Park on 11/4/24 to look at accessibility for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia. The aim being to assess areas where improvements could be made to enable more supporters living with dementia to access games at Brunton Park. The group undertook an audit, the ‘Sports Venue Physical Environment Checklist’ which has been developed by the Alzheimer’s Society and we were the first venue in Cumbria to have the audit undertaken. We are looking forward to receiving the results shortly to see which areas we can work on in the future as part of the East Stand refurbishment and other areas of the ground.

Dementia Group – On the back of the Alzheimer’s Society visit, this is likely to take off for next season - For anyone who would like to be involved in this group or knows somebody suffering from Dementia who would benefit from being part of a group discussing all things CUFC please get in touch.

Walk to the Match 2023/24 #5 – The final Mental Health & Sustainability ‘Walk to the Match’ took place on 1/2/24 at the Lincoln home game and was once again hugely successful. This time we partnered with Andy’s Man Club who joined us on the walk along with Talk Hub, Man v Fat and with Disability Rep Shelley Harrison joining and signing the discussions for her mum. We look forward to doing more of this again next season.

Audio Descriptive Commentary (ADC) – EDI trialled ADC at the Hibs v Livingston game at Easter Road in Edinburgh on 16/3/24 with Blind & Partially sighted supporter advocate Jon Attenborough and then again at the Carlisle away game at Peterborough (thanks to a connection supplied by CUSG Rep Keith Ward). Both systems were very good and the Peterborough one was amazing, great quality equipment, noise cancelling headphones (which will assist with Autistic supporters who can also benefit from this very specific commentary) and a great team who we have kept in contact with.

Iftar with the Muslim Community – On 4th April we achieved something that has never been accomplished before at Carlisle United. The culmination of two years of discussion and negotiation. We held our very first Iftar to help celebrate the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan and to build stronger connections with the Muslim community in Carlisle. The event couldn’t have gone much better, and we were amazed at the turn out of 130 people. There was a mix of predominantly Muslim people, but also a range of other Carlisle Supporters and people from the city who wanted to be part of the event and to learn from a different culture. To put this into context, the previous evening at Wembley, the FA did the same event and there were 300 people there, so proportionally, we did incredibly well. As a result of the success of the event, the Imam’s last comment about next year was that next year ‘we do it bigger and better’

World Parkinson’s Day 11/3/24 – Along with celebrating World Parkinson’s Day on 11th April 2024, some of the local team of Parkinson’s UK joined us at the home game on 13th April v Blackpool. This included local Chair Mike Whelan and Disability Rep David Little, who lives with Parkinson’s every day, yet still comes to all our home games and stands in the Paddock, though he is now finding it harder to navigate through the throng of people in the Fan Zone (the success of the Fan Zone has thrown up other obstacles for some people living with disabilities; this is something we also want to look at, how do we transport people with disabilities around the stadium). The team also did a bucket collection before the game and raised £360 for Parkinson’s UK.

After the end of Ramadan, the Muslim community also joined us for the last home game of the season on Saturday with Wycombe Wanderers, along with volunteers from the Mayors Charity (Carlisle Refugee Action Group). Mayor Abdul Harid along with his wife and Mohammed Dhalech joined EDI in the Boardroom to discuss the success of the Iftar with new owners Tom & Patty Piatak. There was another bucket collection which raised £270 for the Mayor’s Charity.

Mental Health Hub – Ongoing - More to follow shortly…

The group acknowledged the significant strides in the EDI arena and endorsed the work undertaken. A calendar of events is being planned for next season and more involvement from the EDI support network.

  1. SLO update

The promotion of fan engagement is critical to the SLO role. Be that in the form of being high profile on a home match day or throughout the week on social media to share relevant information. An excellent example of fan engagement has been the steady expansion of the fan zone which just gets busier every week. The EFL have picked up on this success and I will be making a presentation the national SLO group later this week to explain how fan engagement was a critical factor.

At home games, the meeters and greeters are kept busy with a variety of activities around the ground including supporting the pre match community groups who get a mini ground tour before the game. We are delighted to have expanded the team this season with two new young female team members joining our ranks. As our crowds grow and areas like the fan zone become increasingly popular, the team needs to keep evolving.

We are always on the lookout for more meeters and greeters, so please get in touch if you would like to join the team. As a thank you for helping you will receive a complimentary match ticket.

  1. Calendar of events

Currently events planned by club/CUSG include:

April - fans’ forum TBC

June – Women’s football event

10 June-  Next CUSG meeting

June – EFL fixtures released TBC

Nov – 74/75 celebration event to be organised and planned and held at Brunton Park by CUSG with the club.  Players and guests to be invited along with memorabilia from the exhibition. Organisation group to be formed.

TBC (fixture dependent) – London Branch 50th anniversary event

  1. Group updates

London Branch

74-75 tee shirt. We are designing a tee shirt to commemorate the 74-75 season. We are aiming for this to be on sale in July for a price under £20 which will include a significant donation to a charity to be decided. The design will be made available to the club to be used on other merchandise if desired.

The next Hit The Bar! will be published in mid-May as an endo f season round up. We would be very happy to receive up to 250 words plus contact details from any or all of the fans’ groups that would like to contribute.

Our AGM will be held in early July.

We met with Hereford supporters Karan Rai and Tom who have founded the London Bulls (the Hereford Supporters London Branch) to provide support and tips.  We are planning some joint social activities.

We have a meeting with Kevin Noel of the Noel Soccer Foundation Tuesday 23rd April having been introduced by Simon Clarkson. Kevin, who is a friend of the Piataks, is looking at setting up a Carlisle United Fans Club in the US starting first with Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.


Sponsored the final home game on Saturday and we all really enjoyed it except the result of course.

On field the performances have been mostly dire and unacceptable ,we hope for a positive summer window with more quality and commitment brought in.

We obviously condemn the recent announcement of no FA Cup replays.

Finally thanks to all away fans who like the home support have been fantastic under trying circumstances.


Member feedback from the Boardroom prize winners has been good. Best comment, in our opinion, is that it is a ‘once in a life time’ experience and worth membership fee alone.

Retro Kit day was well supported. The weather worked against us slightly, meaning a lot of shirts were under jackets but we will make this an annual event. We will also explore other ‘theme days’ that we could plan in round the season.

The first phase of our member and fan survey is complete, we have some good feedback that will help shape what we do. Additional surveys on specific topics to further fact find will take place. Main topics of discussion and findings will be shared on socials and in the briefing.

We are launching a ‘name in history’ plaque that will allow fans the opportunity to purchase and have installed a name plate. This will be available on locations around BP – tbc. We will start with the memory garden. This will be a slightly different design and more in keeping with that area. We have samples and have received feedback from a range of fans on these. We will confirm with the club locations and launch in the close season.

The next volunteer day will be arranged for the close season to paint paddock hand rails and power wash terraced areas ahead of 24/25 season opener. Once details are available and confirmed, we would appreciate support from other fans groups to spread the message and promote. We will also be looking for support from fans as well as local companies/sponsors/trades to help coordinate and get stuck in.

Member meetings are going to change slightly. We will be releasing a schedule of meetings in advance, following feedback from members. The ad hoc or sporadic approach leaves little time to plan or make arrangements to attend. They are not widely attended but we hope utilising online methods may also help.

A new ‘Special Recognition’ scheme will open during the close season. We are working alongside the Club to organise it and this will give the local community an opportunity to nominate great and good causes that deserve special recognition. There will be a panel that review nominations and those that go above and beyond will be invited as boardroom guests for a game. This will not be weekly; it will be as and when an excellent cause is nominated. Full details and how to nominate will be available soon once confirmed with NC.

Renewals are starting to take place. The online system makes it easy to do but if anybody needs guidance or wants to pay cash, email us and we will help.

  1. Any Other Business

A discussion was held regarding the media comments on the 23/24 budget and concerns of fans raised to CUSG reps. Nigel said the owner’s commitment and resolve was stronger than ever, the strategy to invest to bring sustainability was unchanged. Nigel referred to the comments by the Chairman in his interviews on Monday and all the projects referred to in his update. 

Nigel confirmed the club would provide the football dept with all the financial resources to ensure success next season as the Chairman had said. He added finance was only part of the mix of ingredients required for success in football, especially in League 2.

The investments and the work to undertake capital projects would be at the same time as supporting the football - which remained the top priority. Projects would not divert or distract from the main thing.  Funding of capital projects was not affecting football spending. The club would continue to ensure all spending was done carefully. Any funding required would be equity from CSG as previously promised.

Simon queried if the aspiration to hold a fans forum in the next 10 days was still realistic. Nigel said a forum with a panel of owners and directors was still being planned.

  1. Next meeting

10 June 2024

Read Time: 14 mins