'Back in February 2018, the Killie Trust was celebrating reaching a huge milestone when ‘Trust in Killie’ reached the £100,000 funding to secure a place on the Club Board. Following a process involving the Trust Board and Club Directors, I took up the role from 1st June 2018.
Initially, the role was very much about ensuring that the voice of Trust members and wider support was conveyed to the Club, building credibility for the Trust as “part owner” of the Club. Since then, the Trust membership has made further investments in the Club, which has seen the safe standing areas and disabled viewing platform completed, a significant contribution made to the Club when the Covid pandemic shut down football, and partnerships developed with the youth academy leading to the current arrangement where the Trust now sponsors the Women’s first team as well as the boys’ and girls’ academies. In addition, there have been many smaller projects which have seen equipment purchased for academies, and support given to Killie Community programmes.
We are therefore now very much a part of the fabric of the Club, having influenced season ticket pricing, particularly around the successful youth pathway, establishing the schools supporters groups and the Junior Trust, prioritising our future fanbase. Thanks to the commitment of Trust members and ‘Trust in Killie’ subscribers, investment has continued year-on-year, increasing the Trust’s shareholding.
While we can be pleased with the progress, we always need to look to the future, which is why the Trust has spent time reviewing its aims and objectives, and the Trust Board as a whole will be meeting with Club Directors to agree priorities for future investment by the Trust.
The Trust Board is now beginning the process to identify the next Trust Club Director when my term is completed at the end of this season.
It is important to say that the role has developed over the time I have been involved, and will continue to do so. As one of three Club Directors, the Trust does have a substantial say, and the next Director will be starting from a different point than we were at five years ago. Whoever takes on the role will be representing the views of the Trust Board and members but also taking their share of responsibility for the future strategy of the club, ensuring it will be in safe hands for the future.
An essential part of that means being able to take account of members views and represent those in a constructive and cooperative way, sometimes having to compromise to get the best possible outcomes for the fans and the good of the club, and recognising the financial realities of trying to compete at the level we aspire to.
While there is always more we can do, there has been progress in how the club overall listens to and engages with supporters, and we now have a well-established Supporter Liaison Officer who helps resolve issues, as well as a more open approach from Club staff at all levels, so the necessity to deal with individual complaints has markedly reduced.
We have a role description for the Trust Club Director, which I would encourage anyone interested to look at and think about how you would meet the criteria, and what knowledge and experience you could bring to the role. It does involve a time commitment for both Trust and Club Board meetings and activities. Turning up to matches is the tip of the iceberg…but of course you would likely be doing that anyway! The term of office will be three years, with the possibility of being re-elected for one further three-year term.
At this stage, the Trust Board is simply seeking “expressions of interest” – in other words you can put your name forward, without any obligation, and get more information about the role and the process for the election, and decide if you are keen to pursue further. The Trust can provide training on the role of Director, and the Trust Board and I will be available to support the induction and transition period.
With the Trust’s 20th Anniversary coming up later in the year, it is an exciting time to be preparing for the next steps in our journey!
This article first appeared in the Club's monthly magazine.
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