Killie Trust

Club Director Monthly Update - September 2021

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01/10/2021

Dear Killie Trust member,

Thanks once again to all of you for continuing to show your support for the team as the battle to be top of the Championship continues. The vocal support from fans really matters to the team, and once again we’ve seen an amazing travelling support. Friday nights are not always the easiest nights for fans, but we were pleased to be able to move the SPFL Trust Trophy tie with Queens Park to the Friday to avoid a clash with the Scotland v Israel international, which many Killie fans wanted to attend.
 
I am delighted that the Trust will host “An Evening with Tommy Wright” as the next in the “On Board in Person” event, which will be a great opportunity to hear his vision for the future as well as his journey in football.

This will take place on Wednesday October 13th, and registration information will be circulated by the Killie Trust to members. 
 

Football Department

With seven league matches played, there have been five wins, one draw and one loss, keeping us in second place on 16 points, behind ICT with 19, with a similar goal difference.  
 
As anticipated, there are no easy matches in this league, and the Manager has acknowledged the frustrations fans have felt at some points. However, it is important to get points on the board as quickly as possible and to pick up points when not playing at our best.
 
The injured players have been making good progress and we look forward to having a full squad available in the not too distant future.
 
 
Loan watch
 
We currently have nine players aged between 17 and 20 out on loan and they are playing across different levels of Scottish football, from SPFL League 1 to West of Scotland Football League Conference A.
 
As a club, we are looking to provide these players with meaningful game time to support their development to become first team footballers for Kilmarnock Football Club.
 
Being out on loan allows our players to develop their tactical understanding alongside improving technically in pressurised match situations. Maturing physically and mentally can be the biggest positive from being out on loan. An additional benefit is the challenge of playing with and against older, experienced professionals, rather than players their own age, where the teams focus will now be more on winning where previously it was about development.
 
It can also be a good indicator for the club and the players to see where they are in their development and how we can work together to support and progress them.
 
These experiences of different environments and challenges aid not only the players’ football development but can also help them grow and develop as young men, which is felt to be very important too.
 
While the players are out on loan, James Fowler will oversee their development. James, alongside the football staff and club’s scouts will attend matches to create reports on each player. They will also watch matches online where possible, so they are able to provide feedback to our players and our manager. Building relationships and trust with clubs is important, so regular dialogue takes place with everyone involved.
 
KFC Youth Academy
 
Since his appointment as Interim Head of Youth Academy, Paul Di Giacomo has been looking at all aspects of the Academy structure, and will report back to James Fowler as Head of Football Operations, and the KFC Board, ahead of the Academy season ending in December.
 
The consultation process for Academy staff has now been completed and staff have agreed in principle to their roles within the Academy.
 
Paul has been in contact with Academy parents and advised that that the Academy is moving from Elite tier to Progressive Performance tier within Club Academy Scotland structure from 1 January 2022. They will participate in the Elite tier games programme until 31 December 2021. 
 
Matches with Partick Thistle, Hearts and Aberdeen this month for the under 11s-16s have given lots of positives, and a further match with Dundee Utd is scheduled.
 
Going forward, it is planned that there will be a much closer link between KCST (Community) and Academy operations and proposed changes will be worked on in the coming months. Paul di Giacomo is continuing to have oversight of KCST in the meantime.
 
Killie Women’s Team
 
Team Manager, Andy Gardner, and the players are grateful to the Trust volunteers who have stepped up to assist on match days. Following discussions with myself and the commercial team, it has been agreed that sponsorship of individual players would be set at £250, and there has been a positive response to this.
 
Thanks must go to the Trust members and fans who have worked together to pool resources and sponsor players between them – this was a great idea and again brought a very positive response.
 
The aim of raising funds through sponsorship is to enable players to receive an allowance to cover their expenses, so funds raised are benefitting players directly.
 
If anyone would like to sponsor or help with a fundraising idea for the Women’s Team, please get in touch.
 
I have had some queries about the Killie Ladies junior teams and how that fits with our Academy structure. The Killie Girls teams have historically been run as a separate organisation, outwith the Club structure. However, we do want to see a much closer working relationship, and Paul di Giacomo and I will meet with the organisers of the Killie Girls teams to look at options for this.

 

Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust (KCST) 

KCST is running free football sessions in partnership with Vibrant Communities and Ayrshire College on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with over 150 children attending.
 
The School Programme offers fun football to local children, allowing us to engage with over 400 every week. This programme runs until December 2021.
 
The Killie Kickers for youngest kids has over 120 attending weekly, and 60 for Pre-Academy football.
 
Paul di Giacomo - along with Grant Moore and Daryl Knapp - completed the Kiltwalk, and report that good fun was had by all! They also say that they want a big KCST/Killie Trust contingent for next time, so get the date in your diaries and get the training started!
 
Meantime, you can make a donation to help KCST work here. Even a small amount helps, as the funds raised are topped up by the Hunter Foundation and Gift Aid!

Commercial

Another busy month for the commercial team has seen a number of new initiatives, as well as progress on existing projects: 

- The Captain Conker Book competition launch was a big success and with 30 schools across Ayrshire involved it is a great way to expand the reach of the club. If you haven’t yet seen what this is about, please have a look! 

- The new partnership with Fantastic Fanatics has been launched with great initial uptake. This initiative enables fans to sign up to a scheme which provides income to the club based on fans shopping with a wide range of outlets both online and in-store. Thank you to fans who have already joined up and you can find out more via this link.  

- The shop is still doing brisk business, with playing and bespoke training wear now back in stock. More Christmas stock will be launched in the next 4/6 weeks, with with the promise of some exciting new products in the mix. It had been hoped that the retro tops for loyalty season ticket holders would arrive in September but due to various issues associated with the pandemic, this has been delayed. This is disappointing, but unfortunately out of Club’s control, and updates will be posted as soon as we know more.

- Hospitality is now back in full operation, with both the Champions Lounge and Chairman’s Club sold out for 2021/22 season, with only limited space in the Legends Lounge and 1869 suites for all upcoming fixtures, so fans are asked to book early to secure dates they want. 

- The Memorial Garden official opening ceremony is being held on Friday 1 October. The primary focus of the Garden is to commemorate the fallen war heroes who played for the Club and served in the armed forces during World War I and World War II. Further information will be available shortly on fan memorial plaques, which will be on the adjacent wall.
 

Media

The Trust Board was delighted that Head of Media Scott McClymont was able to join the September Trust Board meeting. This was the first time we have had a Club staff member on to talk about their role and answer questions from Trust Board members. Scott outlined the various aspects of the work that he and Media Assistant Neil Hobson are involved in day to day, and how they want to develop things further. In addition to usual matchday and KTV work, recent highlights from the media team include:
 
- An In depth focus on Paul di Giacomo’s appointment to the Youth Academy, with interviews with both Paul and James Fowler about the Academy.  

- A feature on captain Chris Stokes showed him getting involved with preparations for the KCST Kiltwalk and community work as well as on his gesture in getting a fan his Firhill tickets!

- As part of the partnership with Kilmarnock Standard, the first Player of the Month award was won by Zach Hemming.

- Edition 3 of the new Killie Magazine is due out this weekend v Raith Rovers. This will be the biggest edition yet and will include seven dedicated features.

- Preparations for opening of Memorial Garden across our channels.

 

Killie Trust update

The Killie Trust Board held its regular monthly meeting on 16 September, where I updated on various aspects of work with the Club. Progress on a number of Trust initiatives were reported on including:
 
- Short presentation on the new membership system being put in place by the Trust to improve the membership experience and communications. 

- Goalkeeping Academy and plans for launching. 

- Plans for Junior Trust membership. 

- Plans for “Weigh to go” for women. 

- Volunteering on match days, including commentary for visually impaired, will be restarting. A meeting will be held with those who have volunteered to start training, etc. Members who volunteered for ‘Roon the Toon’ were thanked, and will hopefully be able to expand activity next year. 

- Hands free bins are now in the stadium, branded with Trust stickers. 

- Collection cans are available for shops / businesses. 

- Plans for a Trust Board Strategy session. 

- Agreement for Trust to sponsor a Kilmarnock FC Women’s team player.


Wider issues from supporters’ organisations
 
I joined a discussion hosted by Supporters Direct Scotland for clubs which have supporter directors. This focussed on how clubs were managing fan experience in light of Covid restrictions lifting, and the challenges still faced. A future call will look in more detail at the various models of fan ownership and supporter director involvement in clubs across Scotland.
 
In partnership with #HerGameToo, the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA) has released a survey for female fans with the aim to provide better representation and allow clubs to address any current issues that may be present. As of 2019, 8% of Scottish football supporters were female and this number is set to rise. This survey will close on 16 October and the results posted on SFSA website.
Contacts
I can be contacted in a number of ways: 

Email : [email protected]
Twitter: @cathyjamieson
Instagram: cathyjamiesonkillie
Facebook: cathy jamieson 

While I am happy to engage on social media when I can, I’m sure members will understand that I am not monitoring that round the clock, so may not be able to instantly reply, and an email to me is often a better way of dealing with more complex issues.

Supporters Liaison Officer Allen Kyle is also happy to deal with queries from fans and he will let me know of any issues that need to be raised at Board level.

Club staff, the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer and Kilmarnock Football Club Disabled Supporters Association can be contacted directly with details available on the club website.

Best wishes,

Cathy

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