Election 2017 – Update

We have been experiencing some problems with our Elections email address, and as such are requesting that if you have put your name forward already, could please resend your email to elections@cherriestrust.co.uk , and CC enquiries@cherriestrust.co.uk

As a reminder, we need your applications by midnight on 15th August to make your application eligible.
To make your application eligible, you must be a full member, and your subscription be paid up to date. You must also be nominated and seconded by full members to qualify. If you are struggling to find 2 full members, please make this clear in your application, with some details about yourself and what you would like to bring to the board. This will help us to help you.

We are your Trust, so get involved and help us represent what you want to see us doing

AGM and Election Update

With the AGM only 3 weeks away, are there any agenda items that you feel should be discussed? If you think there are, then please submit them to

enquiries@cherriestrust.co.uk

If you are considering standing for election, please submit your details to

elections@cherriestrust.co.uk

You will need to be a full member (paid subscription), and you will need to be nominated and seconded by full members also. If you need some advice or help with seeking nominators and seconders, please contact us at the elections email address.

22nd August – put it in your diary, we’re your supporters trust so please get involved.

New Stadium Site Announcement : Cherries Trust Response

The Cherries Trust is delighted with the club’s announcement that Kings Park is the preferred location to build a new stadium to befit our Premier League status. Our future must remain linked with our past – and in that context there is no better site for this development to take place.

The Trust is hopeful that the club will continue to show a progressive approach in the design of the stadium and that our new home will be one with a unique character and an identity that is instantly recognisable as AFC Bournemouth, inside and out.

With safe-standing now in operation at Celtic and trials mooted in the Premier League, it would seem only to be a matter of time before this technology is finally adopted in the top divisions of English football. The club now has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate its innovative character to the world by incorporating safe-standing areas in the design of the stadium to provide choice to all fans. This is an opportunity that we implore the club to take up.

The Trust looks forward to the club involving fans and the community in all stages of the planning process. There will be negative impacts as a result of this and we must make sure that these are acknowledged, discussed and mitigated where possible. Alternative provisions must be made available for the community for any facilities lost as a result of this project. Together, anything is possible.

Trust Board Announcement – Lance Phayer

It is with much sadness we learn of the passing of Lance Phayer, after a short illness.
He joined the board of Cherries Trust at its inaugural elections and was a proactive member, never slow to share his opinions, and always ready to try and help out his fellow Cherries fans. As part of his election speech, he demonstrated his passion for the club by showing a small display of the large collection of match worn shirts he acquired over the years.
During this year he was involved in much fundraising, and even took to the skies for a tandem skydive to help raise funds to help Ethan Burney fulfil many of his wishes. Lance had been due to attempt a wing-walk to raise funds for Jacob Buckett, but sadly his illness prevented him from completing this.
Lance’s passion will be missed, and our thoughts at this time go out to his family and friends.

Cherries Trust AGM 2017

The Cherries Trust would like to announce our AGM to be held, subject to confirmation and notification, in the 1910 Bar at Dean Court on Tuesday 22nd August commencing at 7.30pm. This event is open to all Members. There will also be a question and answer session after the AGM which is open to all Member questions on the Cherries Trust.

On this night, as part of the AGM, we will be holding our elections to elect new Board members to the Cherries Trust. The board positions, as per the terms of membership, are open to Full Members only. Existing Board members do not require re-election as their initial term is 2 years.

With the existing board remaining, there are 6 spaces available for election. In the event that 6 or less candidates offer themselves for election the candidates will, by default, not have to be put to ballot and so would be ratified by approval of the members at the AGM. Currently, as there are already the minimum number of Board members, the Trust Board will remain quorate.

If you would like to stand for election to the board you must apply, via email to elections@cherriestrust.co.uk or in writing to Cherries Trust, Stephen House, 23A Bargates, Christchurch BH23 1QD before Tuesday 15th August 2017.

The election will be overseen by the Electoral Management Group which consists of non-Board member volunteers and an impartial chairman who is not a member of the Cherries Trust.

After the AGM, the Board will elect a new chairman, vice-chairman, and treasurer at a subsequent Board Meeting. A secretary will also be appointed at that meeting but the secretary is not required to be a board member.

The Trust encourages anyone with an interest in helping to evolve a supporters group to join the Trust and stand for election. We would like as diverse a representation as possible representing the full cross section of fans that support AFC Bournemouth.

If you would like further information about the Trust before committing please email us enquiries@cherriestrust.co.uk

This is your supporters group, please get involved.

NOTES OF GENERAL FOCUS GROUP – MEETING 2

Held Vitality Stadium Thursday 30th March 2017

Present:
Gary Chapman
Peter Ive
Carol Toller
Ron Westcott
Paul Frank
Gary Hickson
Ray Ford
Ray Khan

Liz Finney – General Manager
Dan Clarke – Ticketing Manager

AGENDA

Apologies
Clive Sheen / Tim Sharp / Trish Drodge

Introduction
It was proposed and agreed by all present that the notes of the meeting would be circulated for approval by the group before details of the meeting were made public by group members.
Update from last meeting
• LF went through the notes of the last meeting to review actions:
• She confirmed that she had spoken with the MD of the security company to request that security staff remain polite and considerate to supporters when dealing with access or any other issues.
• Supporters waiting for taxis after returning from away games were advised to wait by the reception rather than outside the Club store due to extra lighting
• Where the SMS update system had not worked for Clive, the particular problem was identified, rectified and relayed to Clive. He subsequently reported all was working fine.
• Regarding the hand driers in the North Stand not working, LF explained that they worked during pre-matchday testing but evidently failed once the volume of use increased beyond a certain point. They were replaced at the earliest opportunity and there have been no reports of failure since.
• Hot water signs were in place for the game after the last meeting.
• RW is happy with his programme purchase routine.
• Lack of lighting was mentioned at the last meeting as an issue on the NW corner near Thistlebarrow Road. A lighting rig has been placed there for a good number of games now and seems to have alleviated that problem.
• LF had spoken with the safety officer to explain concerns about stewards being placed inside the north stand vomitaries and the issues caused. And the SO had briefed supervisors accordingly. They had also discussed the floating cordon behind the east stand and it was suggested that, except in higher risk instances, the cordon not be used but rather stewards stand to the side and only deploy should it be required.
• LF had discussed concerns regarding the congestion in the 1910 Bar pre-match with Black Label Events management, although all present at the meeting agreed that the outside bar facility had much helped in this respect. Regarding the size of the tables, these are required for non-matchday use as well and the club does not have the facility to store two different types.

Ticketing
Away allocations
GC explained that he had raised this agenda item but that since doing so away allocation of tickets had improved with the way sales had been structured by the ticket office for the Saints and Spurs games. DC explained the details to those in the group who were not aware and further advised that he had received the Sunderland seat map and that tickets for that game would be available via a pick your seat option.

General ticketing update:
• pick a seat: DC explained some of the restrictions in being able to offer this for every away game but would report to the next meeting on how the Sunderland option worked
• posting tickets: the ticket office now has a target of posting tickets out 1-2 days within booking and to date this has been achieved in almost all cases.
• enquiries line: a new call management system has been installed and the club ticket office is able to track the number of calls, duration, call answer and talk time and if any are abandoned. Where the latter TO staff with call back. Call answer times now average under 40 seconds and more than 95% of calls are answered within two minutes
• how to guides: guides to easy use of the online ticketing booking function have been produced and voiced over by Steve Fletcher. These cover: how to book tickets and coach travel and the process of setting up and checking account details; there are available currently on the club website and shortly on the ticket website. There was some discussion around the online ticket booking facility and the question of a transaction charge that was applied to online but not in person sales was raised. DC has undertaken to look into the booking process across the board over the course of the summer.
• accessible tickets online: DC advised that accessible tickets were available to purchase online and had been trialled by some members of our disability focus group. There will be a registration process over the course of the next few months so that all disabled supporters can have the relevant changes made to their account which enable online sales
• accessible training all ticketing staff: all ticket office staff had completed training in dealing with supporters with disabilities
• away coach online tickets & pick a seat: DC confirmed that the facility to pick your coach seat and book online had been in place for some time. A couple of the group raised specific issues they had encountered in booking and DC spent some time going through the process. He further explained that a guide to booking coach tickets would be produced to assist fans going forward with particular focus on booking match tickets and coach tickets in the same order
• email responses – DC explained that duties within the ticket office had recently been specifically allocated with one member of staff dedicated to email responses. Incoming messages are colour coded in respect of urgency and the responses recorded and tracked. LF advised that email sign-offs were now the name of the person who responded and not a generic ticket office sign-off.
• season ticket key dates: LF advised that, as mentioned in the notes of the meeting between the club and the Cherries Trust board members, season tickets would go on sale on 22nd May until 19th June. There would be a period for seat moves from 20th June to 23rd June and that it was planned to post ST cards out to arrive by the middle of July.

Touting
LF raised the issue of tickets being sold on, outside the points scheme, and cited an example received that day. She explained how the ticket office planned to deal with these instances when they became aware and received the group’s full support for a firm approach. RK suggested a dedicated touting e-mail so that supporters could report anybody selling tickets above face value. LF and DC confirmed that they will investigate

Upcoming features:
• Updated ticket policy: this would be previewed at the next meeting
• Website upgrade: LF advised that she had that afternoon had sight of a selection of new website pages and that they were a huge improvement on our current website. The development team are now progressing with the set-up and another meeting of the website development focus group would be arranged towards the end of April to review and have the opportunity to play with the new version.
• Access control: it was confirmed that automated turnstiles would be introduced at Vitality Stadium for the start of the new season and there was some discussion around the features and benefits of the system such as easier upgrade of tickets, better queue management, fraudulent use detection and improved reporting,

At this point a question was asked as to why in certain areas of the north stand tickets were checked twice. LF explained that some supporters there do not sit in their seats but transfer to areas where supporters tend to stand. There were also a small group of fans who repeatedly report their tickets missing or lost and request duplicates. The checking of tickets by stewards inside the ground helps to deal with these issues.

RW asked why not revert to one point drop at a time and DC explained that to group the points gave a longer general sale period which led to improved service by the ticket office. LF advised that there had been no negative feedback on the points grouping since its implementation and that supporters seemed to recognise the benefits of the system.

Policy on bottle tops
RW asked that a consistent approach to tops being removed from plastic bottles at point of sale be adopted and LF undertook to ask that concourse catering staff were briefed accordingly.

Away coach timings
RW has raised this as an agenda item and LF confirmed that, having spoken to the Rob Nicol our away travel co-ordinator, the times were initially put forward by the coach supplier and tweaked if they didn’t seem reasonable. LF asked if there had been a particular issue with timings for a game and Ron explained that sometimes coaches arrived quite early. It was agreed that, taking into account weather, traffic, accidents, driver regulated stops and other unforeseen factors it would never be an exact science.

Any other business
GC asked if there would be the possibility of making available executive coaches for some away games for next season and LF said she would investigate and report back.

RW asked that the voice message on BH Live line be changed as was irritating. DC explained that new messages had been recorded and were soon to be in place.

The group asked what AFCB do for visiting away fans; LF explained that the club run a number of initiatives to ensure that away fans are welcome at the Vitality Stadium

Thistlebarrow Road traffic management was raised by GC and RW raised the issue of police vehicle movement around the NW corner once fans had arrived. LF explained that the process is for all vehicles to be in place however police vehicles may arrive once there are crowds or if they are called away for other business.

RK was upset that our staff behind the dugouts wore Man City colours for that game. LF explained that this was not something that could be changed for that game but likely to be a different colour next season.

RW asked for the Gates/Bricks to be cleaned in the north east corner-LF explained that there is a balance to be struck between cleaning and the damage that regular cleaning can cause but agreed to look at this

MOTM vote – RW asked why do young supporters have to go to the Mansion website to see the winner.

LF and DC gave the group the ticket allocations offered by Leicester for our last game of the season and asked them to each choose the option they would take. The group discussed the various factors that could affect attendances and the result was between two options with no clear preference.

PF asked about the involvement of the club’s American investors and LF advised that they have a love of sport and were impressed by the AFC Bournemouth story. They have full confidence in Neill Blake to manage the club and their focus is rather on its long-term future growth and the new stadium project.

The question was raised as to whether there would be any development of the current ground and LF confirmed that there would not be.

RW mentioned that the away attendance column in the programme is not completed and LF advised that she would check with the media department on this.
RW also mentioned that the newsletter was greatly improved.

CT enquired about charted trains and LF explained that the club had had some discussions with SW Trains regarding this and other matters but that it had been difficult to get matters moving forward with the franchise looming. Now that this has been awarded and SWT staff are settled in their roles again, the club will re-engage with the company.

The meeting ended.

Cherries Trust – AFC Bournemouth meeting 1/3/2017

NOTES OF A MEETING BETWEEN AFC BOURNEMOUTH AND CHERRIES TRUST BOARD

Held: 1st March 2017 at 6pm – Board Room, Vitality Stadium

CT: AFCB:
Tony Maycock – Chairman Neill Blake Chief Executive
Stu Bramley – Vice Chairman Jeff Mostyn – Chairman
Robin Latchem – Treasurer Liz Finney – General Manager
Kerry Smith – Club Liaison
Gary Hickson – Disabled Liaison
James Swyer – Board Member
Lance Phayer – Board Member

Meeting format
It was agreed by all present that brief notes would be made and circulated to all attendees for approval before release and until that final approval is received all discussion remains confidential. Any items discussed and not noted were, by agreement by all attendees, to remain confidential.

Cherries Trust Update
Currently circa 300 members / 600-900 followers on social media.

Working with FSF, Supporters Direct and PL on a fan engagement model.
JS is working with TM to pursue the claim against MUFC regarding meaningful compensation for supporters. CT has consulted solicitors who feel there is a case in terms of breach of contract and duty of care failure by MUFC but at the moment CT prefers to progress the non-legal route.
SB is developing an updated website to give more flexibility and accessibility. It will be part open to anyone and part accessible to members only, with the latter elements being made available for general consumption after a set time. The new CT website is scheduled to be available by the end of March.

New Stadium
NB advised that a new stadium project manager, together with Savills, had been appointed to investigate potential sites but stated that he could not for a number of reasons reveal the location of the 3-4 sites that are being considered. He confirmed that supporters would be part of a consultation process to enable the club to deliver a new stadium to meet their expectations and requirements. The club has received significant support from its local Councils which helps immeasurably to address the highways and transport challenges of a new stadium.

There is no agenda on the club’s part to bargain with the current landlord but rather a recognition that the current stadium footprint will not contain the club’s ambitions for growth. The capacity being considered for a new stadium will be in the region of 20-25,000 with the potential to increase up to 30,000 with additional hospitality suites to increase both matchday use and other non-match events at the stadium.

In answer to questions raised, the club confirmed that a move was not dependent on League status and that investment in a new stadium would not be at the cost of investment in the team. The time line anticipated is for plans to be submitted by 09/17, planning granted by 09/18 giving two years build time to be in occupation by the 20/21 season. The advantages of a new ground were cited as the foundation to grow, to attract new players, to increase and vary the facilities, to drive revenue and to engage with all of our community – to make AFC Bournemouth your first club, not second. The current site would not be used for the academy as it is not suitable and at the time of the meeting there were no plans for its future use. Other sites were being considered for a training ground to incorporate facilities from academy to first team.

Regarding safe standing, the club has committed, along with all other PL shareholders, to support the Premier League in undertaking an investigation into the feasibility of the introduction of safe standing and it will await completion and advice from that body before making a decision, such decision to be dependent on the government’s view between now and the design/build of the new ground.
Moving on to the agenda item regarding the American investors both NB and JM confirmed that they have a love of sport and had long had a desire to invest in a football club and had been impressed with the AFCB story and progress. There is full confidence in the management of the club and therefore they have no desire to be involved in that aspect but are looking to the long-term. To this end, they are very keen to drive the stadium development and the overall growth of the club.

There was a very short discussion regarding the agenda item referring to financial difficulties with a genuine bemusement from NB and JM as to where this rumour had started. Both reiterated that the club has never been in a stronger financial position.

NB confirmed that next season’s kit supplier would not be JD but was not able to release the name of the new company until April. He confirmed that next season’s kit would be bespoke and that we were investigating the new sponsorship opportunity for advertising on a shirt sleeve. Availability of the new kit is scheduled as follows:
home 1st July
away 1st August
Third 1st September

Moving on to ticketing LF outlined the planned ST renewal schedule:
STs on sale 22 May to 19 June and then seat moves implemented 20-23 June. Fulfilment from 26 June to reach STHs first half of July. In response to the question as to whether we would issue any new STs for next season, NB confirmed that we would not but would make any non-renewal seats available for other supporters on a match by match basis.

LF commented on the next agenda item, choosing away seating, that we had been looking at it for a while but it was not straightforward, which is probably why only two other PL clubs currently provide the function. Because it is time consuming there was some concern that diverting manpower to deliver this service element might adversely affect other service delivery, i.e. where we now post out tickets within 1-2 days of the order being placed. Therefore, the ticket office plan to adopt a 3-step approach:

1. For Saints we will look at tickets and allocate where seems to make sense from the booking i.e. group of adults at back / family towards front. This should work well for Saints as we have taken the full allocation and tickets are due to arrive tomorrow (Thursday) by which time we will have issued the majority of tickets. It is trickier for other matches where we have to sell in a strict block by block order.
2. For Spurs adopt a choose front/middle/back option when making the booking online or by phone and ticket staff will allocate seats accordingly as far as possible.
3. For Sunderland aim to put in place pick a seat at the time of booking, subject to getting the away seat map from them.

We will then evaluate fulfilment/impact of each method and decide the best way forward for next season.

Regarding the cost of travel to away games, NB confirmed that the club will look into this further. Moving on to the ticket exchange agenda item, NB was pleased to confirm that as of the date of the meeting, the club had agreed to implement an automated access control system to be in place for the beginning of next season. This will facilitate a ticket exchange, lost ticket procedures and speed up entry into the ground. There is a wide range of functionality associated with the system but we would start with the basics and add in further enhancements once everything was working well.

In response to the question of keeping our current ticket system, LF confirmed that AudienceView now provided good support to club and that they and our ticketing manager were working closely to add on AFCB specific improvements to the system.

The question of the performance of the ticketing phone line was raised by the Trust and LF advised that the club had been as equally frustrated at the time it took for the fault where callers were cut-off to be sorted. This had prompted a review and analysis process of ticketing calls which is still ongoing in relation to the sales line managed by BH Live. The ticket office manages the enquiry line and has installed an automated call management system and realigned staff duties in this respect. This has proved to be a success as where in October there were in the region of 35% abandoned calls, the average is now below 5% and staff ring back those calls missed. She pointed out that an improving online facility, clearer points information and coach tickets being purchased online also contributed to reducing the number of enquiry calls. LF advised that telephone calls would continue to be monitored and improvements made where possible.

The club raised two further items for discussion: applications to become next season’s nominated charities were due to be sought with a press release ready to go subject to discussion by the meeting. LF set out the procedure planned to ensure the Trust were happy with the process and to gain input. This was agreed.

LF also stated that, in line with fan engagement guidelines, the club would call another meeting at some point to involve CT and a wider supporter attendance. LF confirmed that she would consult with CT on the format and process involved.

The meeting ended.

Disability Focus Group Meeting – Wednesday 14th December 2016

Attended:
Liz Finney, Alice Jeans, Gary Hickson, Lin Travers, Chris McMullen, Sarah Jelfs and Tessa White.

Firstly, we’d like to thank Alice for making this meeting possible, it is very much appreciated.

Agenda Discussed

Wheelchair access in and around stadium:
It was asked whether it was possible for 2 seats on the front row to be removed, giving more room for wheelchair users, and also to avoid accidents in what is a very busy access area of the stadium.
CM said this has been discussed at previous DFG meetings and wheelchair users were happy to stay where they were. Also, LF pointed out it would be a Health and Safety issue, if 2 of the seats were removed from the front row, the seats which also act as a barrier prevent supporters from row B having such a big drop in front of them.

Ambulant Disabled Supporter Access:
It has been noticed that there are many Ambulant Disabled/Elderly supporters struggling to get to their seats in all areas of the ground, especially if seated high up in the stands. Would it be possible for a safety rail to be fitted? Would it be possible on renewal of ST’s that the form could include a safety notice stating that if you feel you are struggling or unable to access your seats, that the club would be happy to look at relocating the supporter. Also, evacuating the ground quickly could be very hazardous to both the ambulant disabled/elderly supporter as well as abled bodied supporters.
This is a very touchy subject, some elderly supporters have most probably been sat in their seats for a considerably long time, and having family and friends surrounding them is something they wouldn’t want to lose. Grab rails would not be feasible due to the layout of the aisle/step ways. Stewards are also aware of supporters that have mobility issues, and are fully trained in the evacuation process. The club will make sure that the ST renewal form has a safety notice included with regard reallocation of any supporter that feels they no longer can reach their seats safely. AJ reiterated if there is any supporter that would like to move then we would be more than happy to arrange this, and they should contact AJ.

Accessible Toilets:
One of our disabled supporters has asked for the disabled toilets to be manned by stewards due to misuse by able bodied supporters. The use of radar keys to be considered. Also, signage on the toilets to be changed, especially as all disabilities are not visible.
Radar keys have been discussed at previous DFG meetings, and were not found to be feasible. Stewards will be notified to be more aware of abled bodied supporters using the disabled toilets. Also, as stated not all disabilities are visible, this might be quite difficult to police. Changing of the signage is going to be looked at by AFCB.

Photographers blocking the view of wheelchair supporters:
Especially in the North stand there are issues where the photographers are blocking the view of wheelchair users. This is down to the advertising hoarding and cabling being very restrictive in the north stand.
The photographers are in general aware of not blocking the view of the supporters, but, will again be notified of the fact, especially in the north stand. AJ will also speak to the club’s Head of Media on the positioning of the photographers.

Standing at away matches difficult for ambulant disabled and elderly supporters:
Unfortunately ticketing for away matches is controlled by the home team. Tickets are sold in blocks and must be sold accordingly. Standing at away matches is something that is beyond AFCB’s control. But, at times the away club will notify AFCB of where the most suitable seats will be for disabled supporters. The AFCB ticket office are very helpful in trying to allocate seating at away grounds that will be most accessible e.g. seating near the front, aisle seats etc. Although this isn’t fail proof, we must be aware that the ticket office at AFCB have at least tried.

Away Travel for Wheelchair Supporters:
Minibuses for Wheelchair supporters, is it possible for more to be made available, and also to expand the travel distance?
Minibuses are available, but, must be full before another is made available. They house wheelchair users plus their carers. Once one is full, another could be made available if there is enough support. The club are aware that the minibuses are invaluable to wheelchair supporters, and the ticket office fully promote them to wheelchair supporters at all times. With regard expanding the distance to Birmingham and Swansea, the minibuses already do travel to Birmingham, as they were used to go to Aston Villa last season, and will look into travelling to Swansea for future matches.

Online Ticketing:
Not possible to buy disabled plus carer. Also, phone system cutting off too quickly, supporters being on the phone for over half an hour to get suddenly kicked offline.
The company that maintains the ticketing website are aware of the issues of buying a disabled seat and free PA. This is being looked at, and will hopefully be in place for next season. Personal callers for disabled supporters to buy tickets at Dean Court are very successful, and will carry on in the future.
LF had been in meetings with BH live and the telephone company with regard the sudden booting off of the phone line, this is being looked at by the phone company and upgrades are being made so that the calls do not time out.

Problems with exiting the ground for wheelchair and ambulant disabled supporters due to congestion:
The East stand in particular are having problems with exiting the ground safely at the end of a match. Especially as the area outside of the ground is in nigh on darkness. The club are looking into having some form of lighting installed to alleviate these issues. Hopefully this will help with the congestion issues.

DC Lounge in the East Stand:
Alice would like to make disabled supporters aware of the DC Lounge, it is available to both wheelchair and ambulant disabled supporters. The lounge areas are a very enjoyable place to be pre-match with live Sky Sports being beamed via large tv’s and refreshments available.
The East Stand viewing platform is available by booking a place through Alice, and is on a first come first serve basis. If anyone wishes to be shown around the DC Lounge, and the viewing platform, Alice will be happy to show you. It is a lovely area for both home and away disabled supporters to have an enjoyable match day experience.
Alice is the Disabled Liaison Officer at AFCB. If you would like to book a place on the East Stand Viewing Platform or have anything you wish to discuss with her she would love to hear from you. Supporters should contact Alice on alice.jeans@afcb.co.uk to request a space and bookings will be confirmed a couple of days before the match. The bookings for the platform are rotated so that all supporters have the chance to use them, rather than on a first come first serve basis.
This is a change we introduced at the start of the season so that all supporters get the opportunity to use it.

Family Focus Group Notes – 16th January 2017

Invited: The Harrison family, The Willetts family, The Jennings family, The Joyce family, The Tiller family, The Doel family, The Whitaker family, The Davies family, The Saddington family, The Kay family, The Hill family, The Wright family, The Christopher family.

Attended: Stephen Harrison, Andy and Euan Joyce, Libby and Jack Doel, Mat and Henry Davies, Mark and Harry Saddington, Simon, Ellie and Lauren Kay, Claire, Daniel and George Christopher, Liz Finney – General manager AFCB, Kerry Smith – Club Liaison, Cherries Trust.

Apologies from: The Tiller family, The Hill family, The Willetts family, Tony Maycock – Chairman, Cherries Trust.

Liz began by opening the meeting and explained that we would be making notes and action points. Liz asked that the notes are circulated after the meeting has been held and that we agree on them being a true reflection of the events before being made public. Everyone agreed to this. It was agreed that Kerry would be happy to take the notes and distribute amongst all the families. For ease of reading the notes are not in a minuted order, more of a subject order.

Kerry to distribute notes to all families and amend, add to or action accordingly.

Liz circulated the agenda of points which had been sent in, in advance. Kerry suggested that we leave the people who were unable to attend this meeting’s agenda points until last and visit them if there is time. If there was not time, then we can address them at the next meeting when hopefully they would be able to attend and ask themselves, or we may well answer as we go along.
We started with Euan who had produced a lovely mind map of the positives and negatives about what is already offered as well as some new ideas.

Junior Cherry Open Training Session
It was brilliant and everyone received a photo or something signed, the first team did not leave until every child was happy. Really good event everyone agreed. Would be great if some food available to buy next time and Liz said she would ask about this.

Junior Cherries Christmas Party
Those who had received an invite, said that they found the party and the new venue to be a successful one. Liz said that they had changed venue to increase capacity by an extra 100 spaces this year, but unfortunately 60 people who had applied and been allocated a space had not come to the event. Everyone expressed their disappointment to hear this and there was some conversation around systems whereby the ticket stubs could be identified as to who those families were, as on this occasion there were no names on the stubs. It was suggested by Mat, that maybe interested people could pay a nominal amount (£2 or £5 suggested) for the party and then receive back a credit for the superstore, once they had attended the party, to encourage people to only apply if they are going to make use of the tickets. Euan said that would it be possible for team to be sat in squad number order so it is easier to get who you wanted. There was much conversation (mainly lead by Claire) about how fair the current system is as the announcement goes out on a first come first served basis, however many people who work in schools, who do not have their phones on them may not see that until the evening and by then the chance has gone. Libby also mentioned that in some cases people have been more than once and others have never been, so is it possible to regulate it so that if you have done the party or any of the other things then you do not get to go again. It was asked how many JC’s are currently enrolled and Liz confirmed the number was a bit over 2600. Andy said that if that figure was communicated to people then they may have an understanding as to why it is hard to get to do flag bearing, mascots, party etc. Ellie mentioned that there wasn’t anywhere for the parents to get a drink, but Liz said that there was outside of the main room. There was also a query over the no photos rule, but this was just because it slows everything down and with the amount of people there it just couldn’t happen. Liz did say moving forward that if they used that venue again they would look at using the balcony area for parents possibly again to increase capacity. Liz did say they also were looking at using Bournemouth University and she has not ruled out trying there in the future either. Ellie also mentioned that older JC’s may not need an adult to come with them so you could cut capacity that way also. Stephen mentioned that maybe it would be fairer to do a lottery system and then record who has been so that others get a chance another time. Simon suggested that the party could be split between two age ranges and half the squad could attend each but his daughter Ellie certainly did not agree in case her favourite is at a different party to her! Liz agreed that she and look at the process of issuing tickets/invitations to the Christmas party and try to get a consensus of agreement before the next one.

Junior Cherries Badge
Euan’s mind map put forward the idea of a JC badge for shirts which everyone agreed was a great idea. Ellie said that it would be a good idea to hold a competition to design it, which was agreed with by all present.

Signature Strips For Shirts
Simon suggested an iron on/stick on type badge which you can buy and get the players to sign and then put onto your shirt.
Junior Cherries free shirt offer at 8 is widely agreed to be a great offer however what happens to anyone who joined the club at age 9? Apart from a reduced ticket price, and a meal deal they do not get a shirt offer. What about a shirt at age 12? Liz said that there were other JC benefits but we can look at this as the club recognised it needs to engage with young fans who were not potentially able to attend games.

Mansion Logo
Daniel said that he would like to see the Mansion logo on the children’s shirts but as Liz explained as Mansion is a gambling company, AFC Bournemouth had, along with other clubs in a similar situation, taken a responsible approach. Daniel said that you can have it printed on to which Liz said she had heard and seen that to be the case. Claire said that they want to look like the players and they don’t without the Mansion, so maybe the choice could be given back to the parents? Liz will ask and report back to the group.

Junior Cherry Ambassador In Schools
Ellie suggested having an ambassador who could arrange for the schools to fundraise for the charities, which Ellie did ask if the football club would support. Liz explained that back in the last close season, junior cherries were asked to vote for the charity they wanted to support for the coming season. Mosaic was the one chosen from the responses. Ellie said that Ambassadors can arrange events like bake sales and fun runs to help raise money and spread the word. Liz mentioned that the raffle held at the JC Christmas party raised overa £100 for Mosaic. It was agreed that this was something that could be taken forward.

Junior Cherries Birthday Card
Claire mentioned that it would be a nice touch for the children to receive a birthday card.

Junior Cherries Meal Deal
A vegetarian hot dog option would be nice and Ellie would appreciate it as would many others. Everyone asked about fruit as children do like it, and as Claire pointed out they are used to eating it every day at primary school. Most people were happy to pay for it rather than adding it to every box. Liz said she would ask to put fruit in the family stands. Claire suggested small boxes of raisins or small packets of haribos could be good. Liz to arrange for fruit to be available in the family stand and ask about the raisins option.

Community Involvement
Currently nothing be given to new families by way of vouchers when they go to community activities. Kerry added that they used to give away match tickets to anyone who completed a course in the holidays but there is no longer capacity to do that. Harry asked if there are any after school clubs to which Liz explained that yes there were as well as pre-school clubs and during school activities. She added that Steve Cuss and his community trust team work with around 3000 children a week and Claire added they offer 10% off for junior cherry members and a discount for siblings also at the soccer clubs.

ID Centres and Other Affiliated Feeder Clubs
Libby raised the point about his son(s) who are currently in the development centre and he wanted to know if it would be possible to get some feedback from the club as he is spending a lot of money as you have to commit to a block of 12 and it can feel a little like you are chasing a carrot and not sure as to whether there is a chance or not. He said there are different stages and once you get into the elite academy then it is free. Liz to speak to the academy for a response direct to Libby.

Under 18’s, 21’s & Development Matches
Access to these matches (which was pointed out are mostly held on afternoons while the children are at school) would be another way to watch AFC Bournemouth, but as Liz said the games are set according to the leagues they are in, so would be difficult to change times, and they do not play at Vitality stadium at all.

Booster Seats For Smaller Fans
As some people struggle to see, you could provide booster seats (like those you get in cinema’s). Everyone thought this was a good idea and Liz will take this back to investigate.

Car Parking
It would help if there was someone directed the traffic at the end of the match, as there is only one way out and it can take a long time. As Euan had mentioned car parking Liz wanted to ask the question, did anyone use the Harewood college car park and no one around the table did. Liz asked if everyone knew about it and everyone said yes. Those who did drive were parking in particular places that they have done so for years. Liz said it is free to park in there now, which most people were not aware of. Liz said they used to charge £2.50 but they no longer charge but it is still under used. It was asked if they advertised it anywhere and Liz said yes it went out as part of the timings for match day that they do, but she did say they were looking at a DL guide to go in with the tickets (like was done previously) so it will be mentioned on there.

Junior Cherry Family Viewing For Away Games
This was down as an agenda item from Simon but was bought up by Henry who wanted to know if the club could arrange “family style” showings of the away games, which means they can watch them in a family friendly venue instead of having to join the masses at the local pub which they would be subjected to bad language etc. it would also encourage new families to come in and engage with the club if they cannot currently get tickets and Liz said she would put this to the relevant departments.

Half Time Entertainment
This was raised by Harry and Mark, and was also touched upon by others in the room that the general half time entertainment, particularly Dizzy Pen’s, repetitive and a little boring now. Claire said that it is not easy to see it very well either as it seems to be at one end of the stadium constantly. Liz said that a new marketing manager (Amanda) had just started at the beginning of January and they have already pencilled in a meeting with Mike (Botto) to discuss half time entertainment. Liz asked everyone to email her Liz.finney@afcb.co.uk with their ideas for half time entertainment and she will invite Amanda along to the next family focus meeting to discuss them. As Andy mentioned most adults will go under the concourse for a drink/food so the families are left with the entertainment. Ideas that the group have enjoyed in the past were the singers (came around Christmas time) and the freestyler who came before also. The children to email their ideas to Liz by Monday morning (23rd Jan)
Ideas that were given on the night were:
T-Shirt gun – firing free shirts into the crowd
Giant ball – bouncing around the stands
Cherry Bear on a Segway!
Highlights to be shown on the screen (and we ALL agree we need another screen in another corner)
Half time scores and any Sky coverage
Text messaging service, so the messages can be displayed on the screen instead of being read out.
Better WiFi coverage
Around the ground competition to look out for things and write them down when spotted.
Simon mentioned about more bands, schools, groups to come and entertain at half time. Liz pointed out that the pitch was really for the first team and they would want to stay away from too much being on there on a matchday plus it is constantly being watered at half-time!

Flag Bearing Opportunities
Claire asked if it was possible to have small groups such as football teams etc. to come and flag bear as a way to get them involved. Kerry said that that is what used to happen and they were given match tickets but it is not possible now as all tickets are sold. The front row all around is for disabled seats but if they are not taken up in the family stand, they have also been offered to JC’s to buy (if they apply for them) so that they can then get a foot on the points ladder. Mat confirmed this scheme worked well as it enabled his daughter to get her first point through this scheme and she is now up to 9 points now. Again there was some conversation around how fair the system is with regards to some people doing things more than once and other never doing it. Liz confirmed that one person (Shannon) is now doing all the Junior Cherry admin of these opportunities so things should improve.

New Family Database
Simon asked what is happening with any new enquirers who may be approaching the club but they are unable to watch any matches currently. Are they being recorded in some way and are they being offered anything to keep the interest there, so that we are building for the future. He asked if the ticket office staff can open up a whole new level of engagement with them instead of just saying no there are no tickets available. Libby said that maybe an email saying we know you are there and we know it is hard to get tickets but we are still thinking of you. This would be something for the marketing manager to pursue and as she comes from a leisure background she is experienced in dealing with engagement with children and their families.

Instant Replay Highlights To Be Shown On The Screen During Live Play
Liz to ask if this is a possibility, not everything necessarily but some children miss goals or moments in live play because people stand up or they cannot see so to show it back on the screen would be helpful.

Laser Light Show Or Fireworks
Harry suggested but the group thought probably not possible due to health and safety.

Children’s Toilets
Is there any chance to have more toilets (cubicles). Liz said it would be difficult to add any more due to space under the concourse, but it may be possible to keep one cubicle for children? The club has recently lowered urinals in the family stand toilets to assist young fans. Liz confirmed that they had spoken to visit football about screening from a safeguarding point of view it was a not something that was recommended. Liz to confirm if a cubicle is going to be kept for use by younger guests.

Bins
George said that he noticed a lot of rubbish being left around. Claire said children are a lot more aware of it and Simon said they feel it is strange to eat and then leave their rubbish on the floor. Liz said they would have to be bins they moved in and out as they take up so much space, but it could be looked at. Ellie suggested bags on the ends of aisles, but Liz said that might be a problem and Mark said if it is there you are more likely to bring your rubbish down with you and put it in a bin. Liz to update if it is possible.

Swearing
The children do not like the swearing. They say that it is bad in the family stand. Liz said that if you can tell a steward or if you text the number, the text gets passed to the control room and they can locate via the cameras and then send a steward to have a word. Caution letters have been sent in the past to people, and the club have a zero tolerance on offensive, abusive, discriminatory language.

Stewards
Mark wanted to mention the stewards around block 7 were very good with the children and others at the meeting agreed. Liz to pass on to them
Simon mentioned that at the previous forum a couple of seasons ago there was some conversation around making the stewards more engaging i.e. first name badges. Liz will look into this

Pigeons
Sometimes the seats have poo on them and there are some pigeons that sit at the top of the stands pooping during the game. Liz said she will speak to the cleaners in case they are missing some seats before the stadium opens but during the game it would be tricky to move a pigeon on. Liz to speak to the cleaners.

Away Day Allocations
Simon asked as to why the front rows of seats can not be kept and sold to children and older/disabled people or anyone who wants to sit down. Liz explained that the way the tickets are sold are dictated by the away club. As a club every ticket is serviced through the ticket office at AFCB, they need to be matched, checked and sent out and they are sold in blocks. Liz did say that the new ticketing manager has been employed (the previous one who had started had stood down) and that there were some plans to get a seat map from all of the clubs and then people can pick their own seat. They would be hoping this could be ready by the beginning of next season. It may also be possible to flag up seats for family, OAP, disabled etc. so they can then be placed at the front.

Away Day Packs
To keep children entertained on their travels

Wordsearches
Henry asked for word searches in the programme. Liz said she believes there are word type puzzles in the JC section of the programme.

Empty Seats
There was some conversation around the empty seats when a game has been communicated to be a sell out. Liz said that the scheme to let the JC’s buy them had helped with this. She said it was usually the international press who let them know quite late that they will not be taking the seats and also the sponsors can release seats last minute too. It was asked whether there is a way or a system to track how many matches season ticket holders actually attend? Liz agreed and asked if the latest premier league survey asked how many home games you attended last season etc. as it had previously and Mark had confirmed it had. Liz said it would be interesting to see when it is out.

Annabel Bear
It had been mentioned that some of the younger girls were missing Annabel, the new bear who came in last season as the mascot for The Amelia Grace Rainbow fund. Liz said that because of the nature of the work that Mosaic does (child bereavement care), it did not seem as appropriate for them to have a mascot. However Liz said we could look at the next charity nominated by Junior Cherries to see if a girl mascot would fit and did not rule out a return of Annabel in the future.

Superstore New Line Ideas
Premier league match balls instead of AFCB ones as most of the children agreed they are not very good quality and usually white so get dirty quickly.
Collectors cards and mini figures (gogos, say) which can be swapped and maybe set up a “Swap Corner”
Pop badges
Shin pads and goalie gloves with finger protection
Iron on/sew on poppies to assist with raising money (all agreed the poppy/club pin badges were great)
Pocket money gifts as most children walk into the shop but do not have enough money to buy anything, except pencils and they already have them. If they had a dedicated pocket money area they could go to it would be good with items under £6.
The children thought the sweets that had been in store previously were too expensive. Liz agreed and said this had been recognised and they were reduced to 50p. Going forward it was suggested smaller bags for less money would be better as more people would buy and the store would make more money.
Liz advised that a new superstore manager and buyer have started so this will be helpful for them.

Family Stand Criteria
Liz asked for some feedback on the family stand ticket criteria which the club is currently reviewing. Liz asked for everyone to review the points below. Liz asked for people to say which option they preferred with regard to concession upgrades (which I have put in italics). Liz confirmed that they had made contact with other football clubs to see what they are currently offering as a guide in respect of upgrades.
The family stand is applicable to blocks 1, 8 and 9 in the west stand
Adult tickets in the family stand must be accompanied by an under 16 in order to purchase tickets in the family stand – at a ratio of no more than two adult seats per under 16 seat.
Adult tickets purchased with a child’s ticket qualify for the family adult ticket price, however any upgrades in the family area will be to full adult price.
– (Option a) Due to the nature of the stand unfortunately upgrades on concessions tickets are not available in the family stand at any point in the season.
– (Option b) Upgrades on concession tickets in the family stand are only available on evening matches.
– (Option c) Season ticket holders in the family stand can upgrade their tickets five times across the season at the discretion of the club.
When a Junior Cherry turns 16 and stops qualifying for a child’s ticket in the family area, they can remain in the family area if the family group still falls within the ratio of no more than two adults per child. In circumstances where the change in concession takes the ratio outside the family area criteria, the club will liaise with the family to make a move to another area in the stadium as seamless as possible. The original seats will then be released for sale to another family who meet the criteria.
It was widely agreed that Option a was not a popular option so it was dismissed straight away. Option b was better as Mark pointed out he is less likely to bring the children to an evening game, but all around the table seemed to agree that Option c offered the most flexibility and as many of the adults did say five times is really generous if not over generous. The group agreed that if an upgrade led to just adults being in the family stand, those adults should move to another area of the ground for that game and so allow the seats to be sold to an eligible family.
Liz will speak to the department managers about all of the above and feedback.

Next meeting will involve Amanda the marketing manager and Liz asked if there was anyone else who the group would like invited. The group asked if possible for a player! Liz said she may be able to arrange for a future meeting.

Meeting date to be agreed.

Liz and Kerry thanked the children and their parents for a really useful and enjoyable meeting.

Manchester United Update

The Cherries Trust Board has accepted an invitation to meet with Manchester United FC to talk about events last May. MU FC are steadfast in their approach to compensation payments, but we feel this is an opportunity to reassert our position, as well as speeding the process along so we can bring this to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
The date of the meeting is yet to be confirmed, but we will advise when we have a date.