Bees United update

Although it may seem quiet on the Bees United front, there has been a fair amount of groundwork undertaken by the steering committee in structuring the future of the Brentford Supporters’ Trust. Although it may seem quiet on the Bees United front, there has been a fair amount of groundwork undertaken by the steering committee in structuring the future of the Brentford Supporters’ Trust. We have been concentrating on preparing a Business Plan but have still made lots of progress in other areas. Most importantly, Brentford Football Community Society Limited, (the legal title of Bees United) is now fully registered as an Industrial & Provident Society with the Registry of Friendly Societies.

Following our registration, the Co-operative Bank (a sponsor of Supporters Direct) have opened our bank account, under the special terms they offer to Supporters’ Trusts.

First Annual General Meeting
Our first Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday 22 September 2001 in the hall of the Princess Royal, Braemar Road, Brentford. During the formal business of the meeting the following members were elected to serve on the Society Board:
Alan Bird, Geoff Buckingham, Stephen Callen, Craig Clements, Mike Lane, Nick Marriner, John McGlashan, Bruce Powell, David Roe, Andrew Wainwright and Jim Walsh.

This was followed by a lengthy open forum session during which a number of important issues were discussed.

Community Initiatives
Bees United is exploring various ways whereby we can have a bigger impact and influence within our community. One of these involves working alongside the existing "Football In The Community" scheme at the football club. We hope to develop all these initiatives and through them reach out to a larger catchment area.

We have also agreed with the club that we will entertain small groups of people from local minority groups who do not normally attend football matches. We are looking to increase support from within the local community and the club have agreed to help by providing match tickets free of charge.

Involvement of Local Businesses
Some enquiries have been made to actively involve local businesses with Bees United. We are hopeful that significant sums can be injected into our supporters’ trust by local companies, and we will be talking to as many of them as we can over the next few months.

Meeting with the Chairman and Managing Director
Our meeting with Ron Noades and Gary Hargraves is covered elsewhere, but it is worth mentioning that they are fully supportive of the concept of a Supporters’ Trust at Brentford. Ron Noades is on record as saying that he would like to see Brentford run as a community club, in a similar way to Bournemouth. With Trevor Watkins as our case manager at Supporters Direct we are well placed to achieve such a position, because he is the former Chairman of Bournemouth, as well as being the driving force behind the fans buy out of the club. Bournemouth are also in the process of building a new stadium, so there are many lessons to be learned from their experiences.

Funding options
In addition to the annual membership payment, we are offering members the opportunity to make further contributions to our trust funds in order to help secure the Trust's objectives. We are in the process of establishing a "Loan Note Holder Scheme", full details of which will be announced soon. The idea is, that the Trust will raise funds through the issue of interest-free Loan Notes, in multiples of £1,000, these will only be repayable in exceptional circumstances. The proceeds of the Loan Note issue will be used to help secure a significant stakeholding in the football club. The Co-operative Bank will offer members a loan facility at special rates and in turn they will also make a contribution to the Trust’s funds as well.

In the meantime, we require a regular income to allow the Trust to pursue its aims of involving the interests of supporters in the running of the club, and improving links between the club and the local community. We will therefore accept donations at any time, but for those members who can afford it, we are also offering a voluntary regular donation scheme by way of monthly standing order. The minimum amount will be £2.00 per month with no maximum, so if you want to donate £10, £20, £50, £100 or more, the choice is yours. We are enclosing a standing order form for those who would like to contribute in this way.

Without wishing to state the obvious, to have real influence we need to raise as much money as we possibly can, so perhaps we should set ourselves an initial target of perhaps £250,000. This would match the loans that Ron Noades and John Herting have each made to the club.

We have also been asked by some supporters if they can bequeath money or property to Bees United, so if this is something that may be of interest to you, please let us know. Bear in mind that you may need to seek professional advice if this is an option you are considering.

Shareholders
Are you a shareholder? If so, you may want to hold on to your shares, but you can stilI assign your voting rights to Bees United if you wish. Combining the votes of individual shareholders in this way will help to further one of our aims and objectives, which is to secure the democratic election of supporters to the club’s board of directors.

Membership and Financial Update
We have recently passed the 400 member mark and our cash in hand is around £5000. Not huge numbers, but bearing in mind that the trust was launched less than two weeks before the end of last season these figures are encouraging. With the new season now underway we need to build up both our membership and our funds. From now on, membership forms and general information will be available from the Away Travel Office under the Braemar Road Stand on match days.

Help Required
With a committee required to run Bees United there is a need for more supporters to become actively involved. Please step forward if you can assist in any way!

We have created a small survey/questionnaire detailing some of the areas where you can help us. It is in Microsoft Word format and can be downloaded by clicking here. Please print it off, complete it and return to us as soon as you can. Bees United is now a partner of Brentford FC’s "Football in the Community" scheme. If you would also like to be involved, please complete the "Community Development Programme" questionnaire as well.