The Robins Trust outlined its ambitious plans to reach 1,000 members at Thursday night’s AGM at Whaddon Road.
The organisation’s annual meeting was well attended as the new look team set about sharing its vision for the future. Here we summarise the evening’s agenda.
Firstly Acting Chairman Tarran Wilson reported that £10,000 had been invested in Cheltenham Town Football Club in the past 12 months, talking the total investment since 2005 to £270,630 (in return for 179,877 shares).
The Robins Trust is now the fourth largest shareholder in the club and, encouragingly, membership has risen by 42% since the end of May to 330 people.
Next Murry Toms, the Fan Elected Director, talked about the proposed rebrand. He said that the feedback we have received over the summer is that we need to be clearer on what we stand for, and how we publicly tell that story.
He added that there were several examples of similar organisations that we admire but many of those were borne from crisis, leaving us with an identity issue. As a Trust we’re clear that representation and community are our two key pillars, putting them at the heart of everything we do.
With a journalist (James Young), web developer (Dave Beesley), marketing (Jack O’Neill) and digital production skills (Murry) now within the board set-up, we will continue to improve our communications and the design of our assets to resonate with the fanbase.
One element of the rebrand was the decision to create a new logo, which was decided by the membership. Five options we presented a week previously, and by the end of the evening it was announced that 42% of the responses voted for option A. From today onwards, that is our new logo.
James Young went on to discuss a clearer and more concise way of explaining the Trust’s relationship with supporters and the wider community. Working with Dave Jennings and Louise Plumb, they had created a simple mantra called ‘RISE’ to make it easier for fans to understand how the Trust works for them.
Dave Jennings discussed the membership offering and the steps he has taken to increase its value to supporters. He acknowledged there have been problems but confirmed that it is a priority to resolve those. It needs to become easier to join and we have begun a process, led by Dave Beesley, to explore subscription solutions to work both online and offline.
Dave Jennings has had a number of conversations with local businesses to offer discounts and offers to Trust members, and talked about a focus on creating relevant events to further improve the value of membership. He also reminded members that they are guaranteed cup tickets, a founding principle from 2005.
Look back at the summer
A short overview of activity during the summer followed. The Trust organised this year’s hugely successful Open Day, enabled supporters to take part in the away shirt launch with players from across the club and played a major role in bringing the mens and ladies clubs closer together.
The Robins Trust Speedy Skips Challenge has proved successful, and we invited people who wanted to take part in the half-time initiative to get in touch. Finally, we talked about the popular ‘Referees’ evening and how this is the type of event we want to create more of in the future.
New board elected
Then the new look board of 13 people (above) was introduced to the membership and subsequently voted in, acknowledging the notable effort of the previous incumbents in establishing the organisation and representation on the board of the football club. We hope to build on their legacy to take the Trust to the next level and that they will play a part in that.
Subscription pricing reduced to £5
A motion was also passed to reduce the subscription fee from £12 to £5 in order to drive recruitment and better represent the fan base. In 2005 our clear aim was to achieve a place on the board, but Bryan Jacob’s magnificent gesture enabled us to achieve that so the goalposts have shifted. With our financial obligations to the club satisfied until the end of the 2021-22 season it was agreed that we need to concentrate on growing the membership.
An entertaining Q&A with Gary Johnson and Paul Baker followed, capping a really positive evening.
In short we want to improve the membership offering and make it easier for supporters to join, both financially and emotionally. We have a new energy and ambitious plans, and believe we can achieve our targets if we all work together.