Newsletter – January 2016

 


The Hamletter

The Official Newsletter of Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust

Message From The Chair

Welcome to the January newsletter for members of the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust.  This edition updates you on all our activities since October.  The performances on the pitch have continued to shine in the last few months, and the FA Trophy cup run has been a highlight.  We are positioned well to challenge for promotion at the end of the season.

Off the pitch, then we have been continuing to work with Hadley Property Group on their plans for the ground redevelopment.  You can read the latest on this later in this newsletter.  Our community work has focused on the Calais refugee appeal this season, and we are grateful for Trust members and all the community for rallying around in support of this humanitarian issue on our doorstep (Calais is about the same distance as our furthest away game to Leiston this season!).

Our merchandise operation, which we run on behalf of the Football Club, continues to go from strength to strength.  We have plenty of new t-shirt designs, two new scarves available and other great items.  The growth in crowds has meant that we have outgrown the popular Mega-Shed, and we are in the process of converting a shipping container into a new shop.  We are aiming to have it ready for business in the coming weeks.

Finally, the end of January marks the end of the current membership cycle.  We will be emailing or writing to all members inviting you to renew.  A Trust with a significant membership base is essential to allow us to continue our work on helping our Football Club become a leading example of a financially sustainable club, which is fully owned by its supporters and has a secure long-term home in East Dulwich.  So, please do read the article in this newsletter on how to renew.  Please do also encourage friends and family who are not supporters to join.

Thanks for taking the time to read this latest newsletter.  We look forward to seeing you on the terraces home and away.  Don’t forget you can always contact us with questions, or offers of assistance, by emailing us at info@dhst.org.uk, speaking to a Board member or tweeting us at @dhstorg.

Up the Hamlet!

Duncan Hart
Chair

RENEW YOUR TRUST MEMBERSHIP

Under the current arrangements, supporters have joined the Trust within a set membership cycle of two years, which starts and ends on the same date for all members, regardless of when they joined.  The current membership cycle is due to end on 31 January 2016.

We recognise that the current arrangements may prejudice those who join later in a membership cycle.  The Trust Board has therefore taken the decision to simplify our membership process and invest in new software to automate everything so we can cope with membership ending at different times.  Supporters will now become members for a full one-year period from when they join, rather than having to fit in with a fixed membership cycle.  This is line with the majority of supporters’ trusts across the UK.

The cost of membership will be an annual amount of £10 for adults and £2 for under 18s (who do not have membership voting rights).  We are also pleased to announce that we will introduce a new rate of £5 for concessions (seniors 60+, full-time students and unemployed).

In order to make the move to the new system as smooth as possible, for this year only we’ve set up special renewal arrangements.  These are explained below, which one applies depends on when you joined the Trust.

If you joined the Trust before 30 June 2015

For those who joined before the Trust AGM on 30 June, simply go to our website to renew your membership.  As we are moving to a new system you will be asked to enter a few details, but this will only be necessary once as the system should be automated for future years.

To help with transitioning to the new system, we’ve extended all membership until the end of February.  However, all members who renew by the end of Sunday 14 February will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets for the boardroom for a game later in the season (including complementary snacks and alcoholic drinks after the game).

It will be easier for most to renew on our website, which also helps us to automate the process better.  However, you can still join manually at our Mega-Shed/Container on any match day.

When joining, there is also an option to make a further donation to the trust to further help support our objectives.  If you are able to do so, then this would be very welcome and helps to expand the work of the Trust.

If you joined the Trust on or after 30 June 2015

For those who joined at the Trust AGM on 30 June or after that date, you can relax for now.  We have automatically extended your membership for a full year period from the date that you joined.  So for example, if you joined on 1 September 2015 your membership will expire on 31 August 2016.  You should receive an email to confirm this, please let us know if you don’t receive this.  We will also email you when your membership is due to expire.

If you don’t know when your membership expires

Drop us an email on info@dhst.org.uk and we’ll let you know.

Update on the members’ poll on the proposed ground redevelopment

Back in August we made more details available of plans to poll members on ground redevelopment, including a cut-off date for new members to join in order to be eligible for the poll.

At that time the DHST board were of the view that the poll would be launched imminently.  However, changing circumstances in the progression of Hadley Property Group’s plans for the ground has meant that the poll has been delayed.

Hadley Property Group issued the following statement in December which explains more:

‘We have found ourselves at a point where, through on going and more positive discussions with the borough, the design and structure of the overall scheme can potentially change over the coming weeks.  There are a number of details that are being discussed at the moment which mean that it isn’t a good point to put the scheme to vote – as it still may move a little in the near future, and we could feasibly be seeking approval on something which is going to change shape before submission.  This should settle very soon, and we can send across the complete package of information. Again – apologies, but we want the vote to be as transparent and relevant as possible, and this is really the only way that this can happen.  We can advise that the fundamental principles of the strategy to provide a sustainable future with fan control of the club remain central to the strategy.’

We will provide further updates when we know more.  We are grateful to Hadley for providing this update and for their commitment to ensuring that Trust members will be able to make this important decision about the future of the club, based on the most up to date and accurate details.  In the meantime, below you can view a list of FAQ’s that we’ve complied with reference to the poll.

Am I eligible to take part in the poll?

The DHST board took the decision to introduce a cut-off date for the poll on the advice of Supporters Direct in order to allow it to be managed effectively.  To be eligible to vote in the poll, you must be a member of DHST and have joined prior to 3 September.  New members that have joined since this date are not currently eligible to vote.  The DHST board will keep this under review.

What information will be available for members to base their decision on?

The Board recognises that the decision of whether DHST supports the proposals is a big one for all members that should only be reached based on clear, comprehensive, and up to date information about what is proposed.  Hadley Property Group has agreed to supply the following minimum information to support the poll and explain their proposal:

  • A memorandum of understanding – negotiated between DHST and Hadley Property Group. This is not a legally binding contract, but it will set out clearly a common understanding about the key aspects of the development relevant to Dulwich Hamlet.
  • Proposed drawings and other visuals – to help members visualise how the new stadium would look and function.
  • An operations report – this will set out how the day­ to­day operations of the Club and associated facilities will be run and by whom.
  • A lease report ­ which sets out the progress Hadley Property Group have made with Southwark Council on securing a long lease of for the new ground.
  • A delivery schedule ­ which sets the envisaged key milestones for the proposed scheme.

When will the poll take place?

We are currently awaiting the finalisation of the documents mentioned above by Hadley Property Group.  This is taking longer than initially expected, however the DHST board takes the view that it important that Hadley Property Group are given the best opportunity to explain their proposals to DHST members.  Once the documents are finalised we will press ahead with polling members as quickly as possible.

Will the poll be asking members to vote on the principle of a new stadium, or more specific details as to whether they are in favour of the stadium design?

The DHST Board will be asking members whether they think the Trust should support the proposals.  This will be based on the information provided from Hadley Property Group set out above.  The DHST Board are of the view that a poll on the ‘principle’ of a new stadium would not be credible, as clearly there is a lot of detail that could influence the views of members one way or another.  To help DHST members take a proper view on this important matter we have sought to ensure that specific details will be available to support the poll.

Have the Trust inputted into the new ground designs?

The DHST Board consulted fans on their ideas for the redevelopment in August 2014.  This report was submitted to Hadley Property Group and their architects (Farrells) and has been used by the DHST board to influence the aspects of the design that it was felt could be improved.  DHST has put the planning and architecture skills that we have on the board to good use and have also been advised by Supporters Direct’s independent architects – (AFL architects).

Does the DHST Board intend to make a recommendation on how members should vote?

As this time, the DHST Board is not minded to produce its own detailed report and recommendations.  It is important that Hadley Property Group is given the opportunity to present their own proposals to DHST members without significant intervention from the DHST Board.  However, the DHST board will consider whether we could make further information available to help members decide closer to publishing the poll.

How will the Trust respond once the outcome of the poll is known?

Should our members vote in favour of the plans, we will discuss with Hadley Property Group how we can best support their proposals in a way that is consistent with the memorandum of understanding that will be available at the time that the poll is launched.  Clearly should members vote against the plans at this time, either because the proposals are considered to be unacceptable or the detail is not there to allow members to confidently support, the DHST board will need time to consider next steps carefully – including whether a further poll on alternative details is feasible.

Have the proposals been submitted for planning permission yet?

No.  At the current time Hadley Property Group are suggesting that an application for planning permission could be submitted in the early months of 2016.

Club merchandise and the new Mega-container

On 25th November the latest addition to Champion Hill landed in the form of the new Trust Mega-Container.  With crowds growing on a weekly basis, the current club shop, known as the Mega-Shed, has unfortunately been outgrown.  Visuals for the new mega container were displayed at the DHST Christmas Party.  The conversion of the container is in motion and we’re hoping to have it ready shortly.  The move from our current garden shed arrangement into the container will allow us to hold more stock and increase our range of goods that we can offer.  The mega container has two distinct spaces, with the store room at the rear and the shop area at the front.  Unlike the existing Mega-Shed, supporters will be able to walk into the container and see what we have in stock.

We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has donated money or their time to this project so far and we will provide further updates throughout the conversion.

The Board have also been busy refreshing the line of stock offered with some new designs.  In addition to two new scarf designs there has been a whole range of new t-shirts, some designed by former Board member Robert Molloy-Vaughan.  Robert’s designs have proved extremely popular amongst the Hamlet support, so if you haven’t got yours then do pop along to the shop on a match day to get yours.  We also have a few 2016 calendars remaining.

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Calais Refugee Appeal

The Trust would like to thank everyone once again for their amazing contributions to the Calais refugee appeal in September.  Trust Board members went over to Calais in October and November to deliver the majority of donations.

From the money raised we used this for moving donations from the club, hostel accommodation and fresh food, fruit and vegetables for people in the camp.  Not all items could be taken to Calais, the ones that couldn’t were taken to local charity shops, Brixton and Norwood foodbank and the Salvation Army refugee centre.  So not only did you generosity help those stuck in Calais it benefited the local community as well.

To read a more detailed account of the trip, then please visit our website to see the piece below from our community lead, Jack Spearman, who made the trip.

Free tickets to Schools and Community Groups

The Football Committee and the Supporters’ Trust have been praised for our work in making the community and on making Champion Hill a welcoming place for all to visit.  This work has continued recently when the attendance was boosted at our recent home game against Enfield Town.  Free tickets were provided to parents and pupils at Goodrich Primary School.  This offer will be repeated for St Anthony’s and Oliver Goldsmith primary schools at upcoming games.  If you would like this offer to be made to a school or community group that you are part of, then email Trust Board member Mishi Morath on therabblers@yahoo.co.uk.

Upcoming Charity Games

Dulwich Hamlet will be hosting a friendly match on Wednesday 2nd March (kick off at 7.45pm), against FC Assyria, of the Middlesex County League Premier Division.  All proceeds from the night will be split equally between the Southwark Refugee Project and the British Red Cross appeal.  The Supporters’ Trust will be working with the Football Club and the Council to promote the game.

The Trust has been involved in the initial discussions on this game when we were approached by Cllr. Jasmine Ali.  Since then, the Football Club Committee has supported the idea and agreed to organise the game.  So please spread the word, and put the date in your diary, for an extremely worthy cause that will help people in crisis both at home and in Syria.  Entrance will be £5 for adults and £2 for concessions and under 18s.

Who are the Assyrians?

The Assyrians of today are the indigenous Aramaic-speaking descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6750 years.  The Assyrians are Christian, with their own unique language, culture and heritage living mainly in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey.  Unfortunately due to war and ISIS attacks, many Assyrians have had to flee their homelands and become Refugees.

There are also plans in development for a weekend of various football games and fun at the end of season on 6 to 8 May 2016.  Keep an eye on the Club’s website for an announcement shortly.