27th November 2018 - Annual General Meeting Minutes

WFC Enables AGM

Tuesday 27th November 2018

Held at The Staff Room, Vicarage Road Stadium

Present:

WFCE Officers

David Butler              Chairman

Phil Nightingale       Vice Chairman

Iain Lamb                  Hon Treasurer

Philip Linnegar        Secretary

WFC Officers

Dave Messenger      WFC

Shelly Newman       WFC

1. Welcome

David welcomed everyone to the meeting, and thanked Dave Messenger and WFC for hosting the AGM 

Attendees were noted as per the attendance list.         

Apologies received were noted.                                       

2.  Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes had been published and appeared on the WFCE website.  The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.

3.  Matters arising

Kiosk queues - Half time queues continue to be very difficult navigating.  Dave M suggested an alternative - LGT Concourse by lift may provide an option

Action:  Andy

Chater Parking - David Butler noted car parking charges increased but not for WFCE Members.

4.  Chairman's Report

Accessible Stadia Guidelines – This season WFC met and exceeded the guidelines after the EHRC threatened legal action for non-compliance with ASGs.

Regrettably in adding the extra 40 wheelchair places demanded our club lost over 300 seats!

We were fully justified in our arguments about not have the disabled supporter demand.  After 5 games this season we have utilised 58% of wheelchair positions and 71% of ambulant seating!

That wheelchair number includes 10 spaces the WFC Trust has available to give away free at each home game.  

Where ever possible these changes have being made as flexible as possible to accommodate increasing numbers of ambulant supporters to avoid empty wheelchair areas.        Enough  said.

Membership – 184, a few less than last year, although you could add another 20+ as assistants.

There is a continual need to promote of Enables Membership as we are striving to represent all WFC disabled supporters. The more members we have the stronger the Enables voice, so please promote us at every opportunity.

I am proud to have created and now Chair the Premier League Disability Advisory Group and we held our second meeting at the Emirates Stadium where 14 Premier League DSA Chairmen attended along with Sam Cook Head of Investigations from the EHRC and Jeremy Wilson, football correspondent from the Daily Telegraph.

I have had many disparaging comments from our own travelling disabled supporters about the poor facilities at other stadiums for away supporters so one of our projects is an Away Survey on the DAG website (www.pldag.co.uk).

This is an exercise, approved and with input from the PL, by questionnaire to assess Away disabled facilities and I had this created for each club's own DSA members, covering the four main  disabilities  - wheelchair users, ambulant disabled, Visual and hearing impairment -  to complete after visiting an away stadium.

In this way we will have an unbiased and practical assessment of the disabled facilities of each stadium’s away section with an objective to identify best practice and highlight inadequacies for improvement.

It is planned to review the outcome for each club with the PL mid-season.  We have already had an impact at Wembley and Crystal Palace.

So if you attend an away game please do complete a survey  - even if it’s the best you have visited, please still tell me!  When I read the horror stories about other stadiums it really does make you proud to be a Watford supporter!

5.  Secretary's Report

There was no report from the Secretary.

6.  Hon Treasurer's Report

The Hon Treasurer’s Financial Report was presented for the financial year ending September 2018 and had been signed off by WFC Financial Director, Emiliano Fussi.

7.  Election of Officers.

Under the Governing Document, all Officers shall be elected/re-elected annually at the Annual General Meeting.  The WFCE Officers were re-elected en bloc.  The Fund-Raising Officer and Membership Officer posts remained vacant. 

Representatives from Watford Football Club are nominated.  WFCE Officers were confirmed as Dave Messenger, Supporter Liaison and Disability Access Officer and our new Disability Liaison Officer Shelley Newman.

8. Election of Independent Examiner

The Hon Treasurer proposed WFC Financial Director, Emiliano Fussi, who had agreed to undertake this role.  The Members approved the proposal.

9. WFC Update Repor 

Dave M gave a report on developments at VR from Club perspective

More work was planned to get over 150 spaces particularly for the Away end.  Remodelling LGT concourse had really made a difference.  The members discussed the situation and Dave M agreed to visit the area at the next match, to make sure everyone is happy with the changes.

Members explained that sometimes, particularly when it rains or after half time, able bodied fans come and hover or sit on the platform.  Stewards need to be aware that this needs attention and enforcement to keep the platform clear, after half time.some able bodied supporters have refused to move when asked by WFCE members.

Members felt stewarding cover is inconsistent in the new areas.  Dave M asked WFCE members to note ineffective steward ID numbers and report them back to him.                            Action:  Andy

Club has been building the database of WFCE members, to include those that sit in different areas of the stadium.  This was noted for information. 

10.  Notified Business

10.1    Alteration to the WFC Enables Constitution.

The proposals circulated beforehand by the Chairman were discussed. WFC Supporters Trust representation was removed, all agreed.  The requirement for fewer meetings, majority agreed. 

David explained if something came up requiring more meetings that would be possible.

The alterations to the Constitution were passed.

The changes proposed and now enacted are copied at the end of these minutes.

10.2    WFC Accessible Stadia Project - covered under Item 9.

10.3    Additional concourse and VR Loop Systems

Dave reported all kiosks at VR have an induction loop system, and ticket office has fully accessible counter.  Shelley reported that accessible counter arrangement was much better.

10.4    Utility of WFC disabled facilities

David is encouraging all Clubs to record Accessible Stadia utility numbers honestly Club by Club, which will illustrate whether qualifying seats are available and being used.

10.5 Wheelchair poncho 

Members noted that ponchos were being handed out to anyone who asked for them at the first game.  This situation was corrected, so that they were offered only to wheelchair users.  It was noted that 500 were produced. 

Bill asked that the Club take a supply of ponchos to away games for supporters which everyone agreed was a very good idea.                                                                                                          Action    Dave 

10.6  Away facility survey

Members were asked to be aware of the Away Facility Survey.  The questionnaire could be found at www.pldag.co.uk

10.7  Any Other Business  - Points for Discussion

10.7.1 WFCE Stand Representatives

David and Dave tabled the proposal of seeking from each stand, a representative for the wheelchair platforms and public access areas.  Members Gary, Gina, Suzie, and Phil Nightingale agreed to take up these roles. 

Members agreed it would be good to get representatives for the other areas and nice to encourage them to join WFCE and link in.  This was agreed.

10.7.2 Social Event

David and Dave tabled the proposal of a Social Event at late January 2019, with some players coming along if available in the new bar.  Possible dates to include “Volunteer of the Year”.  Other social events may include former players.

Dave and David to discuss with the club.                                                   Action:  Dave & David

10.7.3  Meet the neighbours - Watford Sheltered Workshop Ltd

The Chairman and Members welcomed Ronnie Jacob, a Trustee of Watford Sheltered Workshop.  Ronnie explained that the organisation has changed over the years, and now provided services which employ and train people with a range of disabilities, and more recently independent living skills. Up to 60 service users are signed up, most from Watford area, and some further afield.  The organisation is located near furniture village, rent free.

It is possible that some of the service users were not Watford supporters, and there was some interest.  Dave explained that the Club were keen to optimise the utilisation of the disability spaces and seats at Vicarage Road Stadium, from any community organisation.  This would usually start with some complimentary tickets.  Parking arrangements, if required, would need to be looked at if available.

10.7.4 End of Season Mascots

Members really liked the wheelchair mascots at the last game of the season. Perhaps this could occur again?

10.7.5 AOB: Questions from the floor

AOB  Hospital Parking

Q.  Are supporters allowed to park in the hospital?

A.  No.  Anyone identified as a WFC supporter may be ticketed or clamped.

 

AOB Christmas Transport

Q.  Over Christmas period needed 6/7 outreach coaches, as there are no normal services. 

A.  Dave will investigate again with Arriva.

 

AOB Allotments

Q.  What is situation regarding the allotment?

A.  Planning permission applied for as a residential development with a multi-storey car park which may offer some supporter parking but early days!

 

AOB Vinnie Jones

Q.  Were Members aware of “An evening at Vinnie Jones” at W/Coliseum, February?

A.  Information available on Coliseum on-line box office.

AOB Sampdoria Game

Q.  Was Club aware of access problems at the pre-season friendly match?

A.  Things were learned because of that game.  The stand seat sales are made in succession, as each stand fills up.  The Club is more aware of the accessibility problems, but at that particular match there were some buildings works which caused problems.  The hot weather was also unprecedented for the summer, which added to the situation.

10.8    Watford FC Sensory Room wins award

 

Watford Football Club won the ‘Best Interior Fit-Out’ category at the Stadium Business Award 2018, for its pioneering Sensory Room, which enables children on the Autism Spectrum to access matches.  Other winners in these awards included the new Cricket Stadium in Perth and the MCG, while, the San Francisco 49ers Stadium and Wembley Stadium were nominated in the same category as WFC.

The meeting congratulate the club on winning such a prestigious award.

11. Thanks and Close

David closed the meeting at 21.00pm and thanked everyone for coming and taking part.

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Constitutional Changes Approved

4. Constitution –

Current Rule :-.

The WFCE shall be managed by a committee of up to 14 people which will include a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, at least 2 representatives of WFC, 1 representative of the WFC Supporters Trust and up to 7 other committee members elected from the membership.

All officers shall be elected/re-elected annually at the AGM.

Proposed change :-

At least 1 representative of WFC.

Delete “1 representative of the WFC Supporters Trust”

5. Management.

Current Rule :-.

The Committee shall meet bi-monthly, of which one meeting should be the AGM.

Quorum:  Business of the Committee may be transacted by not less than six members (including one from WFC).

Proposed change :-

The Committee shall meet as and when required but at least twice a year which can include the AGM.

Quorum:  Business of the Committee may be transacted by not less than four members (including one from WFC).

8.  Alteration of Rules: 

Current Rule :-.

Changes to the rules may only be made by the majority agreement of the Committee.

Proposed change :-

Rules changes may only be made or changed by the majority of members (including Committee Members) attending a General Meeting.

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