Making progress on our vision for the future

For those not at our final home Vanarama Conference South League game today versus Whitehawk or those who were  there but did not purchase a copy of the Match-day programme what follows is an up-date from Chairman Howard Krais on the above.

In January I launched our vision for the next ten years. Over the past three months I have been pleased by the response. There has been good engagement from all quarters of the Club; many individuals have come forward to find out more and in some cases to offer their help and there is work underway across a range of projects, some of our progress since January is summarised below.

General direction

I have had a number of conversations with a range of supporters and others interested in our future. This must continue. I remain very keen to hear from as many people as possible about where they see the Club going. Whether you are a long-term supporter or someone who has joined us much more recently we want to know what you want for the Club. We also want to hear from others who have a more passing involvement with the Club, such as some of our local residents, sponsors or other stakeholders. If you are interested, have a view or want to find out more please let me know and I’d be happy to schedule some time.

Expanding the team – marketing and commercial

As we think about both short term and long term needs it is clear the Club needs to make a major step forward in the way it markets itself as well as how we drive greater income streams. We have been meeting a number of people recently and shortly we will look to announce new teams for both marketing and, critically, commercial.

We had already offered the commercial role to one person from outside the Club but he decided at the last minute not to come as his current employer made him a much-improved offer. I remain encouraged by the people we are meeting and hope we will have someone appointed to this position very shortly.

We say goodbye to Connect Vending after five years as our Club Sponsor. Now we need to find new sponsors – both those who are interested in longer term partnerships and those who simply want a programme advert or to be match sponsors. If we are to compete at this level over the longer term, as well as to start to fulfil some of our wider ambitions then we need to bring considerably more money into the Club. I’ve said we haven’t done well enough on this over the years and we need to do much better.

Marketing is another area where we can up our game. Lots of people have plenty of good ideas about what we need to be doing to better market ourselves – but as some have realised – ideas are the easy part. We need a clearly defined marketing strategy and we need people who are able to carry out those plans.

For example, if we are to develop deeper relationships with local schools then we need people who are available to make those relationships work, be available to work with teachers and ensure these relationships can be delivered in an organised and value added way. I am hopeful that with some of the people we have met recently we will shortly have the resources to develop this further.

Community

Much of the thrust of our Vision document was based on deepening our links with our local community. Therefore I was delighted when we recently submitted our first application for funding to the Conference Trust. We have applied to support two programs – one that involves teaching football and Maths, initially in year 3 primary schools, and the other aimed at the opposite end of the age spectrum is focused on developing a Walking Football scheme for the over ‘50s.

We see this as a start and while we wait for the Conference Trust to tell us whether our application has been successful this is a commitment we intend to develop as we go forward. My thanks to Nick Symmons who has driven this forward and you can find out more about this  at the bottom of this update.

One Club

As well as developing what we do in the Community I talked a lot about the importance of creating ‘one Club’. This is probably the area where we have made the most progress. We have had several discussions with Youth Club chairman Jay Hogg and have a great base to move forward on.

I am delighted that we are hosting Youth Tournaments on the main pitch over the next two weekends and this morning we should have seen first team players and coaches taking sessions with some of the Youth sides, with some of the stars from those sessions taking penalties at half time today. We plan plenty more in the future and this is an area that is very exciting for us.

Digital excellence

We have a great opportunity to develop our approach to how we communicate across digital media. Craig Whitehead has stepped forward and is leading a team to develop a social media strategy to make sure we have a team of people to properly integrate our activities across several platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and You Tube. We hope to have this up and running before the start of next season.

Developing the facilities

As many know we recently achieved confirmation of our B grading, having put in place what was required to satisfy the Football Association grading team. As we look forward we will make our investment decisions across the whole site especially where they maximise income. This may mean people should not be surprised if any improvements are focused more on the Social Club rather than in the stadium this summer – though please note any decisions are still to be taken.

Plenty of other things are going on and as stated earlier I’d be delighted to listen to the views of anyone who would like to get involved. This is truly your opportunity to have your say about the direction of the Club so please take it.

I look forward to the conversations continuing and please email howardkrais@gmail.com if you’d like to join in.

Have a good summer.

Howard

Conference grant