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Sonstrust Seeks a Vision for the Future

April 11, 2013

VisionStrategyPicWITH everyone at Dumbarton FC working hard to maintain the team’s place in the SFL First Division, the Sonstrust will continue to work collaboratively on off-field developments and improvements.

That was the message coming out of the recent Trust AGM, which endorsed further work on a ‘Vision Strategy’ process first unveiled last year and discussed among members and at the Trust Board.

The aim of the process is to encourage creative proposals for continued, cooperative progress towards a Club that is owned, sustained and run in the primary interests of the community and of supporters.

The components of the strategy are being worked on over the course of the year, in conversation with the Club, fans, other Trusts, supporter organisations, teams which are supporter-owned, and  local commercial and charitable partners.

Community ownership is about securing the interests of supporters and local people. It does not imply one model of proprietorship, but can be furthered in a variety of ways: for example through democratically-run Community Interest Companies (CiCs), Provident Societies, private investors seeking to work for social benefit, fan owners, ‘community shares’, use of provisions for encouraging localism under devolved powers — or a combination of these approaches and others.

The Sonstrust AGM also talked about the big changes facing Scottish football at the moment, and the need to look at creative ways of sustaining relatively small, part-time clubs like Dumbarton over the long haul, through partnership, participation and planning.

Discussion about the Sonstrust Vision Strategy at the AGM was aided by a constructive engagement with guest speaker Paul Goodwin, CEO of Supporters Direct Scotland (of which the Trust is a member), who reminded the gathering that Annan Athletic, Clyde, East Stirling, Stirling Albion and Dundee are all fan owned senior sides; that Clydebank, Gretna 2008 and Clachnacuddin are non-senior fan owned, and that Motherwell and St Mirren are working towards fans ownership.

In some countries, like Sweden and Turkey, supporter ownership has become mandatory. Germany requires a 51 per cent fan stake, with exceptions allowed for historic works sides such as Bayer Leverkusen and Volkswagen’s VfL Wolfsburg.

Simon Barrow made the presentation on the Sonstrust Vision Strategy process at the 2012 AGM, and is chairing the Trust Board working group developing it. You can contact him about it here.

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