The Official Newsletter of Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust
Welcome to our latest members’ newsletter. We hope that you are all keeping well.
Since the season halted, the Supporters’ Trust has been in constant communication with the football club and we are working together to ensure that the Club not only gets through these difficult times, but is able to plan for when football can eventually resume.
A lot of hard work has been taking place behind the scenes to secure the Club’s short term finances and many of you will have seen the Club Chairman’s statement a few weeks ago last week regarding this. If you haven’t read his statement yet, you can find it here.
The premature end to the season has a significant impact on the Club’s finances, and the Trust Board has agreed to invest £30,000 in additional shares in the Club. This will provide an important financial cushion to the Club and it is thanks to your support, through your membership of the Trust, the 100 Club and of course your merchandise purchases that we are able to inject these funds. The additional shares acquired will take the Trust’s ownership in the Club to just over 25%. These shares are held on behalf of our members and the wider community.
As you will be aware, National League clubs have now agreed to end the current season, so it is likely to be as you were when the National League resumes. There was also an early end to the Women’s team’s season, which was on course for an exciting climax between themselves and QPR for the only promotion spot. It has been a successful introduction for the team into the Dulwich Hamlet family and we look forward to seeing them running out in pink and blue colours for many years to come.
Discussions are currently taking place on the date and format of this year’s Trust annual general meeting, which is due to take place during the summer. A date for our AGM will be sent out shortly alongside a call for nominations to the 12 person Board.
Join the Trust board!
Being on the DHST Board is a great way to volunteer time to help the Club, meet new people, and learn new skills. Nominations are welcome from anyone who is over the age of 18 and is a paid up member of DHST.
For many years, the Trust has played a vital role in supporting Dulwich Hamlet and raising the profile of the Club, and we’ve been fortunate to attract candidates with a diverse range of backgrounds and skills. Everyone has something to contribute – it doesn’t matter where you sit or stand, or how long you’ve been coming to Champion Hill, and if you don’t know anyone on the current board, don’t let that put you off (many of us were in the same position when we started).
Reflecting the Trust’s growing shareholding in the Club, board members now have the opportunity to play a part in the running of both the Club and the Trust, and Trust board members have been invited to sit on all of the various subcommittees responsible for the Club’s operations.
If you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you. Current board members will be very happy to arrange a chat to answer any questions you have and tell you more about the role.
There will be at least four vacancies available for new elections to the Board. Please do contact us via email (email@example.com) to indicate your interest or if you have any questions.
We are pleased to announce our online store is now open!
On 23 March, our online store closed due to the pandemic. This week, after discussions with our online provider, we have been able to reopen!
We are working closely with our provider to ensure the Government guidelines are followed while processing your orders at their warehouse. Orders are dispatched via Royal Mail and may take slightly longer than usual to reach you due to current circumstances.
Online you will be able to purchase DHFC teamwear, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, scarves and mugs. In March we launched an end of season sale and the 2019/2020 replica shirts have been reduced. We have the following sizes available:
Home shirts – adult sizes from large to 3XL, junior sizes 3/6 months to 14 years of age.
Pink away shirts – adult sizes are small and large, junior sizes 3/6 months to 14 years of age.
White away shirts – adult sizes from small to 2XL, junior sizes 3/6 months to 7/8 years of age.
Until we know when football will resume, we will be continuing to update the online shop with more items which were originally only available to buy from the Mega-container on match days.
The Trust is grateful to all supporters and members of the wider community who have responded to requests by the Club and the Trust to submit representations to Southwark’s planning
Prior to the lockdown, there had been significant progress in establishing a date for Southwark Council’s planning committee to consider the Club’s application for a new stadium. Wednesday 22 April – towards the expected end of the season – had been earmarked as the date when the application was due to be determined.
The lockdown meant that the April planning committee meeting had to be postponed. The government, with cross-party support, has now introduced regulations that allow Councils to conduct meetings remotely. Southwark has operated a number of meetings in this way – including a full planning committee in early May. This was observed remotely by members of the Supporters’ Trust board. The meeting was “attended” by well over a hundred people and the proceedings were clear and easy for any observer to follow and scrutinise. In light of this, the Supporters’ Trust and Club chairman, Ben Clasper, are actively seeking to establish a new date when the application can be determined by the planning committee.
Although the application is now formally closed for public comments, any comments submitted before the eventual planning committee meeting must be taken into account. If you haven’t already done so, we would strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to submit comments via the planning portal here.
100 Club update
For as little as £1 per month, you can join our 100 Club lottery. The 100 Club pays out two cash prizes every month, and these have grown significantly over the past year as contributions have increased. Currently, first and second prizes are around £175 and £100 each month.
One of our recent winners donated their winnings to King’s College Hospital and the Trust Board had no second thoughts in matching this donation, recognising the amazing efforts of the staff at King’s who are serving our community brilliantly during this present crisis.
To date, the 100 Club has raised over £40,000, the majority of which has been invested in the football club.
Head here to fill in a quick and easy form to be in with a chance of winning next month’s draw.
LGBTQ+ history month
In February, for the third year running, the Supporters’ Trust produced a limited edition Dulwich Hamlet Rainbow scarf to celebrate LGBT History Month. Alongside the scarves we also produced beanies and trucker caps that feature the Club crest in the colours of the LGBT+ Rainbow Flag. This year we donated £600 each to this season’s scarf charity partners, AKT and Football v Homophobia (FvH).
FvH was originally conceived and launched by the Justin Campaign in 2010 to raise awareness of the homophobia that was prevalent in both grassroots and professional football. The Trust and football club have been supporting FvH for many years and on Saturday 1 February, when the Men’s team played Chelmsford City at Champion Hill, the Trust presented a cheque for £600 to Brian Stokes from FvH.
Our second charity to receive profits from the rainbow scarf was AKT, which was formed in Manchester in 1989 to offer support to LGBT+ young people facing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. It now has additional offices in London and Newcastle and in addition to finding safe accommodation provides support with employment, education and training.
Helping the community
The Supporters’ Trust donated prizes to the Save East Dulwich community raffle that was set up to help and show support for all the brilliant local independent businesses in East Dulwich. All 10,000 raffle tickets were sold in both raffles held so far and 50 local independent businesses received money from the sale of the raffle tickets. The organisers’ hope is that as well as financially supporting the local businesses, it also raises awareness of the difficulties they face during the pandemic and encourages everyone to support them during the pandemic and beyond.
This is a challenging time for us all, and we know lots of you want to continue to help our community, and volunteering or giving to a food bank is a great way to help. All foodbanks in Southwark are asking for donations and they are working hard to maintain the provision of emergency food to those in crisis. There are different ways to donate including financial contributions, ordering products to be sent directly to foodbanks, or dropping off products if you can do so safely and within current government guidance (for instance as part of daily exercise). Southwark council are also working with local charity United St Saviours who have launched a crowdfunding appeal to support the COVID response in Southwark.
You can also donate your old smartphone to help local people via Community Calling, a partnership between O2 and environment charity Hubbub, which asks people to donate their old and unused phones so they can be passed on to help other people stay digitally connected. In a trial, 800 handsets are being distributed to Southwark residents who have been identified as someone who would benefit most from a smartphone – from the elderly to people escaping domestic abuse.
The usage of single use plastics during match days, and more generally around the Club, is something that the Trust has been passionate about for some time. As such, over the past year we have taken a number of steps to reduce our plastics footprint. For example, over the past 12 months we have worked with our suppliers to reduce the amount of plastics used for merch deliveries and we have moved from glossy membership forms to matt paper, as this is suitable for composting and easier to recycle. We are also aware that the Club has worked to remove plastics from all food offers during match days (e.g. introducing wooden cutlery and removal of plastic straws) and their community lead has been working with Plastic Free East Dulwich to understand how we can best tackle other plastics usage within the Club – particularly on match days.
The Trust has worked with the Club to establish a plastics working group, the most recent meeting of which was held in February before the Covid-19 outbreak. The group currently comprises representatives from the Trust’s communities group, the Club’s communities lead, management from the Club Bar, and fans who have a background and expertise in environmental waste management.
The group’s meetings have focused on the usage of plastic glasses during match days. A range of options have been discussed, from the possible introduction of stackable, reusable cups to the use of plant and/or starch based products, and initial discussions took place with a range of suppliers. Within these discussions the group has considered at length what would work best for the Club in its current set up and, most importantly, what would genuinely be the most sustainable option for the Club to adopt. Some of the options, which would seem to be easy wins, do in fact have significant environmental impacts alongside logistical issues that a non-league Club with very high attendances such as ours will be unable to practically manage. In carrying out this assessment the group have liaised with other non-league clubs who have introduced a range of schemes, as well as potential suppliers, Plastic Free East Dulwich (PFED) and Southwark Council.
The outcome of this assessment was a recommendation to adopt a closed system for match day disposables (i.e. cups, cutlery and food containers) to deliver a single bin solution. This is the very successful approach taken by Forest Green Rovers (the Group had been scheduled to arrange a visit to The New Lawn to understand how the Club has delivered and manages this approach) and one which has the support of PFED. In coming to this recommendation the group assessed: ease of adoption for our fan base; sustainability and environmental impact; match day logistics; and cost.
Following this recommendation it was agreed that the Group would look to develop a more detailed and fully cost proposal with suppliers and sponsors, with the aim of introducing the new system for the 20/21 season.
Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic this work has necessarily been paused. We hope that with the easing of lockdown we will be able to progress this work later in the summer, however the sustainability and viability of the Club must rightly be the focus of all stakeholders at this time. Therefore, we will resume this work at the appropriate time and will engage with our membership and the wider fan base then.
Please be assured, this is something that we know is very important to many fans, a large number of our members, and individuals working within the Club itself.