Friday, October 21, 2016

Report From HUST AGM

This report was written by Posh Bull.

Approximately 30 attended the HUST AGM tonight held at Radfords, Edgar Street, Hereford, 7pm, including 6 Board members with Richard Tomkins in the Chair.

Following the usual Apologies and Acceptance of the previous minutes from the Special General Meeting in June, Richard Tomkins went on to thank the board and members for their hard work and an update on where HUST currently is in regards to its tasks. 

This has taken longer than hoped with the board taking rules from Supporters Direct and amending accordingly, which has also included a visit to Cardiff to explore further ideas to develop the Trust. 

The Membership Secretary, Peter Davies, has created accurate records and given focus to the renewal process 

HUST continues to deliver the 50:50 draw at home matches and has subsequently paid £30,000 to HFC for further shares, now totaling £80,000.  A separate steering group has been set up to focus on further fundraising ideas, one of which is a designated HUST Beer.  The Prize Bull will be re-launched to create a regular income via Direct Debit.  The plan to jointly fundraise with UITC is  not as advanced as the board would like. 

Community Representation:
Working closely with UITC, HUST has supported their BBQ Extravaganzer, Festival of Football in July, plus the funding the floodlights at Edgar Street Stadium at UITC U18 Match recently. 

This has been achieved with an upgraded website and an appointed Press Officer.  The fan survey received 500 responses based on a gate of 2500, far higher return than most club surveys.  50 respondents requested contact to offer support with mixed success, most not honouring he offer to help when asked.  

The Chairman concluded there was still much to be done, with building blocks now in place for HUST, long term, with a vibrant Football Club now playing at Edgar Street. 

Treasurer, Mike Langford went on to explain the lack of accounts available to the members, this being due to HUST now requiring to make returns on their financial performance to the Conduct Authority under the Co-Operative and Community Benefit Society Act 2014.  This has only recently come to light, resulting in HUST now requiring an audit of this year's accounts as a resolution to dis-apply it, should have been taken at the 2015 AGM, unfortunately, no resolution was passed. HUST, therefore, must obtain audited accounts at a cost of £3600 - ontop of the £795 already paid to Hawkins Priday Accountants for the accounts up to 31st May 2015.  This additional cost will also be applied for accounts due up to 31st May 2016.  However, there is an increase in turnover by £40,000 via donations, 50:50 draw & Prize Bull.  Although £30,000 had been paid in share purchases to HFC plus an increase in the time to buy from 3 to 5 years from HFC, this came with a warning that unless there was a significant increase in income, the total amount to raise would be impossible to achieve. 

Mike Langord announced at this point that he would be stepping down from the role of treasurer, albeit remaining on the HUST board. 

There followed a discussion from the floor as to whether an audit on previous years accounts would also be required.  It was agreed that advice would be sought from an accountant albeit difficult to give a true account of those years prior to HFC.  The board apologised for the unfortunate position they now found themselves in regarding this and are also checking into the implications prior to paying out large sums of money. 

The Chairman confirmed that there was a meeting scheduled for next week to discuss the roles and thanked Mike for carrying out an excellent job of sorting out the accounts since May 2016 and was a key role in HUST moving forward. 

It was agreed to appoint Thorne Widgery as auditor for the current accounts and a resolution was passed to receive un-audited accounts for 2016/17 financial year. 

Membership currently stands at 632, 489 are full members and of which, 49.5% are within Herefordshire and 60% live within an hour's drive time of Edgar Street. 

Board Elections: 
With 4 standing down and only 1 back for re-election, the Chairman apologised to members regarding the error in sending out the acknowledgement last August, meaning 70 members did not receive notification of the opportunities to stand for election.  This resulted in the EMG being consulted and confirmed that the Election Process for the current Trust elections was followed as per the current HUST election policy as it had been advertised via other media channels and therefore deemed enough notice had been given. 

As there was only one member to vote on, the floor confirmed the re-election of Craig Goodall

The approval of revised constitutional, additional policies and procedures were carried after lengthy discussions.

It was also agreed to speed up the process of putting the missing board members in place that the candidates names and positions to hold be placed on the usual Media channels with a 7 day notice for members to object.  The potential candidates having no voting rights until fully elected. 

There followed a Q&A session.

1) There was a suggestion that there is currently only one person responsible for Membership on the board, and could there be additional volunteers to share the responsibility for member recruitment in different corners of the county and further afield.  

The board would look into this, the challenge being recruiting volunteers to carry the responsibility

2) If there used to be an additional 900+ members, why have they been lost? 

The Board advised that there was a surge of support from other clubs when the HUFC ran into decline, once the club was re-balanced, these "members" would revert back to their own clubs - however, 600+ members is far higher than other clubs at this level

3) Should HUST be pushing for a change in the Article of Association to a board presence ratio of 4:4 rather than 4:3 to encourage more members

The board felt that the focus of the number of Directors from HUST on the HFC board was deflecting from the point that there is a close working partnership between the Directors, oblivious of the number of Directors in the room and this would not necessarily increase the membership of HUST by changing the ratio. 

4) Was it the Boards intention to purchase up to 50% of the shares? 

The board responded that they have an obligation with the 50:50 as the agreement from HFC was to use the money for share purchase only.  The 1st target is 25% of the shares with 5 years to purchase the remainder.  The aim is 50% but it is up to the membership to decide how many shares are purchased after the initial 25% is reached. The minimum stake is £10,000 and it was suggested that these chunks be paid to HFC as they become available rather than larger amounts being paid in one lump at the end of the season as this would assist with cash flow. 

5) Can members purchase share options now? 

The share option is now closed. 50% of those initial shares already bought are owned by HUST and the best way to improve the club is for HUST to purchase more shares.  Once the 25% has been reached by HUST means that the Articles of Association cannot be changed. 

On a final note the Chairman wished Westfield's all the very best in their forthcoming Cup match.

For further details regarding any of the above, please refer to the HUST website and the 62 page Agenda Pack.