Board discussions – 02.07.2020

Remote discussions held in lieu of the 2nd July 2020 KHIST Board Meeting.

Board members involved: Dave Lewis (DL). Haydn Bebb (HB), Dave Williams (DW), Chris Wilson (CW) Stuart Walstrom (SW), Warwick Nash (WN), and Ian Nash (IKN).

Previous ‘remote meeting’:
The record of board discussions held on, or about, 4th June 2020 has been agreed and signed by IKN on behalf of the board.

KHFC (incl. relationship matters):

• Neil Male has recently advised that that Monica Shafaq is now to be our contact at KHFC – she will shortly be in touch It’s hoped that she will make a positive contribution to the Trust’s longstanding efforts to rebuild a strong, mutually advantageous relationship between KHIST, as representatives of supporters, and the football club.

• Our unconditional offer to raise funds for the football club, on behalf of the fans has been declined. This decision is extremely disappointing, as our board had made arrangements and confirmed on 19th April that we were ready to launch the appeal immediately on receipt of the club’s approval, This, we were led to understand could have been expected shortly thereafter. The reason for this declinature is not at all clear, as – despite the original proposal having been made personally by NM – we’ve been advised that the KHFC board “don’t agree with the proposal”. We did however, receive confirmation of the club’s intention to set up its own crowdfunding page, which has since gone live. IKN has acknowledged this communication, making clear that KHIST has “a mutual interest in the continuing viability and future success of our football club”.

Bearing in mind the previous successes of our members (loyal Harriers’ supporters) in raising substantial sums for the benefit of our football club, we can but surmise as to why our goodwill gesture has been rejected.

• As a separate issue, CW reminded the board of our decision to match supporters’ donations to a KHIST appeal, up to a maximum of £5,000 – subject to the club’s confirmation that existing agreements will be honoured. IKN has now confirmed, however, that no such confirmation has been received (**see also below).

• **IKN has requested confirmation that the club will continue to abide by the following existing agreements (N.B. these would not have been applicable to supporters’ personal donations to KHFC via the proposed appeal):

(i) All KHIST donations will be used solely for the purposes for which they are designated.
(ii) The Trust will receive KHFC shares to the full value of all KHIST donations.

Note: These fundamental agreements have been longstanding and have served to enhance the mutually beneficial relationship the club has shared with its fanbase. They are reflective of clauses in the KHIST Constitution – which is available for public scrutiny on the KHIST website at www.khist.org.uk – and confirmed by supporters at recent AGM’s as being essential to future investment.

The requested confirmation has still not been received but, it’s intended to refer this matter to Monica Shafaq, at an early opportunity.
In the event that no agreement is forthcoming, the situation will be referred to the membership during the AGM (planned for September subject to Covid-19 requirements and availability of venue).

The Aggborough Wall – This fundraising effort by the football Club is not attractive to potential donors, as tiles showing supporters’ messages will not be on public display – being confined to the players tunnel. The Board will, however, consider making a contribution to the fund. A decision will be made after we’ve heard from Monica Shafaq.

We are agreed that we would like to do something positive for the club, at this time. This, however, need not be by way of donation. HB has suggested some form of sponsorship may be appropriate?

DW has emphasised that, before Aggborough can be re-opened to the public, it will be Covid-19 risk assessed (incl. Safe distancing, hand sanitising, hand washing etc.) requiring the provision of materials in toilets and on entry to the stadium.

Consideration will be given to the possible purchase of a pitch-side advertising board, but any decision will be deferred until progress is achieved in talks with the club.

KHFC Crowdfunder – A decision as to whether KHIST will contribute will be made after discussions with Monica Shafaq – DW has pointed out that the appeal has over a month to run, so there is no immediate urgency. Consideration will then be given to purchasing a matchday mascot deal, as this has previously been the board’s intention. We may have to make an offer to secure the Boxing Day/New Year’s Day home fixture, as has been intended (assuming the season has commenced by then)? It may be better to wait until the new season starts, before contacting Paul Biggerstaff ?

Note – We are still of the belief that, in present circumstances, the club should firstly be claiming part, or all, of the substantial sums payable to KHFC, on demand, following the purchasing of shares at a fraction of their face value under the terms of the 2018 Rights Issue.

Lift for the disabled – Richard Lane’s undertaking (at the KHFC fans forum in January) to secure additional finance for a lift to be installed in the Autumn will be referred to Monica Shafaq. (It had previously been decided that this subject would be kept on the back burner until after lockdown). KHIST has previously donated £9500.00 for this project.

Proposed pre-season KHIST stadium ‘spruce up’ – It’s probable, depending on an adequate response from the members (and other Harriers supporters) that we will agree to go ahead with this annual KHIST project and, possibly extend the usual activities. We are aware that KHIST members are appreciative of this voluntary work which shows our club in a better light. Here again, however, we will make a decision after having talks with Monica Shafaq.

Concern – The suggested restructuring of League 2 and the National League to form League 2 North and South appears to have been set aside. It’s a concern, however, that the relegation of Stevenage Borough from League 2 has been subjected to the proviso that there will be a League below in which that club can compete.

• We are advised that the purchase of the Gilt Edge Club, off Stourport Road, has been completed, although it’s not clear what’s the intended purpose, at this time. We will keep the situation under review and will check for planning applications.

Treasurers’ Report:

• It’s still not been possible to finalise the Trust’s accounts for the Financial Year to 31st March 2020 as our investments in the football club have still to be revalued. We must await publication of the KHFC annual accounts for the year ending 31st May 2019 – overdue since 29th February.

• The KHFC Confirmation Statement, including details of shareholders was due for filing at Companies House on 4th May, and also remains overdue.

• KHIST accounts for the quarter ending 30th June have yet to receive attention. Financial activity during ‘lockdown’ has been minimal.

The KHIST Members’ Draw:

The latest draw was held on Saturday 27th June.
A third prize of £50 (sponsored by Maureen Lewis) had enabled us, once again, to guarantee the £300 minimum payout.
The June draw winners were;

1st prize £200.00 – number 068 – Mark Stockley
2nd prize £ 50.00 – number 090– Richard Calam
3rd prize £ 50.00 – number 059 – No winner*

Note – the holder of winning number 059 did not make a payment into this month’s draw, so – in accordance with competition rules – the prize has been rolled over until next month.

The next draw is currently planned for 2.00pm on Saturday 25th July. This date is subject to change, depending on further relaxation of social distancing requirements, when it’s hoped it may, once again, be possible for our members to attend future draws.

The rollover of this month’s 3rd prize enables us, once again, to confirm a guaranteed minimum £300.00 payout.

The draw continues to be profitable but, for it to make a sufficient contribution to enable KHIST to achieve ambitious targets, we will need the support of many more of our approximate 400 members, who could really make a big difference. Entries can be arranged by following the links from the featured posting on the home page of the KHIST website (www.khist.org.uk).

Secretarial matters: 

• The Trust has recently received communication from the Football Supporters Association advising that the Financial Conduct Authority were suggesting the last accounts submitted for KHIST were those for 2017/18 (but, that the FCA were probably still working through a backlog). A check of the FCA website by DL has confirmed that our accounts for 2018/19 have been “filed and available for download”. The FSA have been so advised.

• We have little recent experience of online sales and cannot easily identify what merchandise may be popular with members. Having asked members, there’s been no response. The offer recorded in the record of last month’s discussions is still being considered but, the board is uncomfortable with purchasing KHIST branded stocks which may remain indefinitely on the shelf and, of course, we would not wish to compete for sales with our football club. IKN has requested ideas for popular items, indications of prices and terms of payment and also, if possible, provision of samples.

• Preparations for a September AGM will have to commence in July/early August. Any arrangements will depend on Covid-19 regulation and the availability of a venue. IKN will contact the FSA to find out if their briefing to members is likely to be issued shortly.

• We’ve heard that the ’fan club’ will probably continue as a separate entity, following resignations from their committee. We are to be advised of the names of individuals still involved, when known, so that we will have ongoing communication.

Membership matters:

• We have recently welcomed A-Plan Insurance – Kidderminster as our latest corporate member.

• We have continued to ‘spotlight’ our corporate members on the website’s home page, as part of the membership ‘package’. These businesses have been disrupted by Covid-19, so we are appealing to the public to support them, as life gradually gets back to normal.

• WN has requested further ideas for the proposed recruitment leaflet to be produced for the start of the next season. Preparation of these will not, however, commence until confirmation of the actual start date.

Next Meeting:

If Covid-19 social distancing rules permit and a suitable venue can be found, this will be arranged for 8.00pm on Thursday 6th August, failing which, remote discussions will be held immediately prior to that date.

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