Brentford CEO Jon Varney will take questions from Bees United members at the start of the BU Annual General Meeting to be held online at 7pm on March 31st. The first question will come from the guest of honour, BU member Jamie Powell, who has returned to London after medical treatment in Boston partly paid for by funds raised by Bees fans and significant donations by Brentford FC and Bees United.
To take part you need to be a confirmed member of Bees United by March 24th. You can join here
The meeting will be conducted on the Zoom platform. If you are new to Zoom you can download it here
If you already a member you can register for the meeting here and to ask Jon a question email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Bees United,
I wanted to write you a personal email, to thank you for
1. The books that you sent me as a gift on my return from Boston, they were a very welcome and pleasant surprise.
2. For the overwhelming support you have shown towards me. Not only the money you donated yourselves but the platform and publicity you have provided to get me to my target so quickly.
Bees fans really have been truly amazing and to then see that a few weeks after so many have donated to my page we are then 2nd in the #cancerdeadlineday league table! To me that’s just incredible! What a club!
I must admit it’s been emotional being back and I still have to finish 4 cycles of Chemo which really does take its toll, but hey, the sun is shining while I write this and we have just beaten Sheff Weds with Stoke to come tomorrow. Can you believe the whole of the time I was in Boston, the only game we lost was the Tottenham game and I managed to watch every single one of them via Ifollow. It actually really kept me going out there and with the games coming so quickly after each other it always gave me something to look forward too. It’s amazing what that can do for your mental health especially winning so many games like that. So proud of them!
But then again I came home and we lost three on the bounce!! 😂
Anyway, once again I cannot thank yourselves and everyone at Brentford football club enough for everything everyone has done for me.
Much much love, Jamie Powell 💕💕 🐝🐝
BRENTFORD FOOTBALL COMMUNITY SOCIETY LIMITED (trading as Bees United ‘BU”)
Agenda for the Annual General Meeting to be held by Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday 31st March 2021.
- Host’s welcome
- Q&A with Brentford CEO Jon Varney
- Minutes of last AGM
- Matters arising
- Chairman’s Report
- Treasurer’s Report and Accounts.
- Resolutions. The Bees United 2021 AGM hereby resolves:
7.1 Audit: Under the provisions of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, that an audit shall not be required for the current Financial Year Accounts, ending 30 June 2021, hereby electing to dis-apply section 83 of the Act.
7.2 Subscriptions:That there will be no membership subscriptions for the forthcoming financial year (2020/21)
7.3 Accounts:To adopt the Society’s Accounts
7.4 Rules:To adopt the amended Rules proposed by the Bees United Board, dated March 2021 under the provisions of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014
7.5 Elections:To re-elect the following Board Member in accordance with the Society’s rotation policy of 3 years:Jim Walsh.The meeting will then consider any other candidates who have applied for election.
8. Any Other Business
Bees United will be 20 years old this June. BU began as a pressure group, took majority ownership of the club, and then created a partnership with Matthew Benham which led to him becoming the owner. As we approach the anniversary we are more than half-way through the first season in the stadium Bees United campaigned so long to create. However because of COVID it is a rather quiet Brentford Community Stadium and under the Government’s ‘road-map’ out of lockdown it will stay that way until the end of the scheduled League season.The Government expects that after that ’in the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower)’.
Today BU is a 2,250 strong group of Bees fans with a guaranteed seat on the Club board and an important power of veto on key issues.
The BU Board decided that the 2020-21 season would be a good time to do some housekeeping and we have looked at issues such as Conflicts of Interest, our GDPR compliance for your data protection and copyright of our logo. We have also decided to review all our rules in order to take account of the changes and developments over these past two decades. Two board members, Jon Gosling and Don Tanswell, have gone through all the detail of the 120 rules. Their recommendations have been accepted by the BU Board and a new set of 84 rules has been drafted which we believe update, simplify and clarify them.
We are asking you, the BU members, to vote on the proposals at this year’s Annual General Meeting which will be held for the first time on Zoom at 7pm on March 31st . A week beforehand there will be a special Zoom for those members who would like to drill down into the details and comment on the proposed changes. Details of both Zooms will be sent out to members.
Here are the main proposals:
- The ‘Objects’ of Bees United: Rule 2 describes what we are all about, what our purpose is and where our heart is. We’ve taken some old wording and added some words from what we say on our website so that ‘BU Objects’ now reflects what we stand for today, 20 years:
- To safeguard the Club so that it has a stable and sustainable future as a professional football club and is a club which supporters can continue to call their own.
- To note and do everything to preserve the power BU has with a director on the board of the Club and as a special shareholder in the club with the right to veto the sale of the Lionel Road ground if the sale does not meet the following requirements specified in the Brentford Football Club Ltd. Articles of Association;
(i) It is a stadium authorised to host professional football with 20,000 (or greater) capacity of which 75% must be seated and all must be covered;
(ii) It is in one of the 3 local boroughs (Hounslow, Richmond or Ealing);
(iii) The quality of facilities is, overall, as good as or better than the stadium being left;
(iv) The Club has a freehold or long term (99 years or more) leasehold (at no more than nominal rent) ownership of the stadium;
- To strengthen the bonds between the Club, its supporters, the local community and the fan base, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust (BFCCST) and the communities which it serves.
- To provide the Club’s board members and senior executives with oversight and advice on relations with supporter groups.
- To encourage and promote the principles of supporter representation on the board of any company owning or controlling the Club.
- To encourage an interest in the heritage and values of Brentford Football Club and specifically the role of Bees United and supporter activism.
- To provide information to members and to conduct the affairs of the Society in accessible and appropriate ways;
- To be a fully inclusive organisation welcoming all expressions of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation as specified in the Equality Act 2010 and shall include reference to any statutory re-enactment and/or modification.
2. Benefit of the Community
As a ‘Community Benefit Society’ we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure that we do benefit our community. So we already have a rule (No 6) which requires that any profits should not be distributed among our members.The Board believes there should be an additional ‘Community Benefit’ rule which is one used by other sports societies:
‘The Society’s purpose is to be the vehicle through which a healthy, balanced and constructive relationship with the Club and its supporters and the communities it serves is encouraged and maintained. The business of the Society is to be conducted for the benefit of the community served by the Club and not for the profit of its members.
The current rules link membership to shares which were paid for. We’ve tidied this up to recognise the fact that membership is free. Our new member definition reflects our data protection obligations.
The rules about meetings have been simplified and modernised to allow for virtual AGMs and any other BU Member meetings. The advantage of using platforms such as Zoom is that it allows all our members to take part, wherever they are in the world as we now have members as far away as New Zealand and California.
5.,Other tidying up
The BU main geographic “area” will now be the same as our “Special Share” definition which is the London Boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Ealing..
Dear fellow Bees,
I just wanted to give you a short update on my progress as so many of you have shown such incredible generosity and support towards me and my family during these difficult times.
As you’re probably aware, I am now in Boston and today I received my 19th treatment out of 39 in total. After a rough start in which I had to be admitted to hospital for just over a week due to my last bout of chemotherapy, I was very well looked after by the staff at MGH and soon made a quick recovery in order to start on my proton treatment.
Everything I’ve seen so far from my treatment plan looks very positive and I really feel that I’m in the best possible hands. It is however a long process and it won’t be until further on down the line that I’m back in the UK and had a few more scans that will give me my final results.
I feel good, strong and positive, although sometimes a bit tired, I still manage to log on and watch all of our games through ifollow and with so many being played at the moment it provides me with a welcome distraction. It is very humbling to hear the commentators talk about me in such a kind way.
I do obviously get the odd down day when I feel low, but when that happens I just look at my webpage and start reading all of the wonderful comments and messages of support that I have received from the club, players, staff, everyone who has gone out of their way to promote my story and most of all the fans, as together you’re the ones who have given me this chance. When I read these It makes me feel so much stronger, happier and even more determined to beat this. Everyone involved has been incredible and the support overwhelming. I honestly do not believe there is another club like it in the country. I really don’t.
So I would like to thank you all again so much for all your support you have shown me.
This just leaves me to say, out of the 4 tiers we now find ourselves in, if we can just get ourselves into tier 1 then I think we’ll all be in a much happier place ☺
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas Bees fans,
All the Best Jamie Powell.
- Each club starts off on 2nd December in a particular ‘Tier’ based on their location. So clubs in Tier Two, such as Brentford, will be able to allow 2,000 people to attend home games. But on December 16th the Government will review which area is in which tier, this means that some clubs could change tiers and those currently in Tier Two could then have more fans or no fans at their home games.The tiers are reviewed every 14 days after that creating yet more possibilities of movement between the tiers.
- In normal times a season ticket-holder (STH) can go to every game. Now they will have to go into their club’s ticketing system to try to book a ticket and it is most unlikely they will be able to attend every game.
- Clubs are surveying fans in advance to see if they want to attend these games. That is mostly to help with planning. There could be a variety of reasons why fans don’t want to attend at all; they might be shielding or can’t travel because of the tier they live in or they may not want to watch a game in a stadium which is only 15% full.
- Normally if a season ticket-holder exercises their right not to go to a game that has no real impact on anybody else, but in a limited attendance game every ‘no show’ is a wasted opportunity that another fan could have used.
- Groups of fans who normally sit together won’t be able to do that, only fans who are in the same household. Clubs have the address of every fan at the date that they bought a season-ticket but fans may have moved since then. Some may have changed households because of the pandemic, either moving back to their family home or moving out.
- Trying to accommodate household groups sitting together in a stadium means that the whole seating plan has to be changed. There is no way that STHs can assume they will be in the same seat or even in the same stand that they bought their season-ticket for.
- Within a household group there will be some fans who are long-term STHs and others who are more recent. That means that at the very first game there may be some fans in a household group who have bought their very first season ticket. .
- All this is a big challenge for ticketing systems. Brentford’s system has never been used before for a limited attendance game.
- Championship clubs are in different tiers: 13 clubs are in Tier 3 meaning there can be no fans,9 are in Tier 2 with up to 2,000 fans but none are in Tier 1 which allows for up to 4,000 fans. The two Welsh clubs, Cardiff and Swansea, are subject to the separate rules of the Welsh Government.
- All Championship clubs make money on normal match days from selling tickets to non-STHs, including away fans, plus selling them food and drink. At these games there won’t be any non-STHs. But clubs will still have to pay the stewards and other match day staff. The bottom line is that it is likely that clubs will lose money on each game.
Bees United has asked Brentford FC to exercise as much flexibility as possible while dealing with fans’ requests in these difficult circumstances. In return BU asks that we, the fans, should treat Brentford FC staff with respect remembering that they are trying to enable us to watch a game in the stadium most of us have not yet visited.