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Members update regarding the Trust's change from a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) to a Community Benefits Society

Some of the Trust's long standing members will know that the Shrimpers Trust was one of the first Trusts to be formed when the movement started around 15 years ago. The recognised model at the time was CLG and we have until recently felt it right to stay with this model.

The shape and challenges faced by our organisation has of course changed over the years, and it would be true to say that as a supporters' organisation the Trust doesn't have typical 'company' characteristics. So as to ensure that we are best placed to respond to any challenges that lay ahead the decision was therefore taken to look at updating our structure.

In terms of day to day activities the Trust works closely with Supporters Direct who provide ad hoc advice, support and governance to supporter movements both in the UK and across Europe. One of the reasons for proposing the move to a society was so that in re-aligning our working practices we would be able to continue to make best use of the excellent services provided by Supporters Direct. They really are a great help to us.

Following lengthy discussion, as we wanted to be sure that the change was right for the Trust, a resolution was passed in November 2014 by the existing Board and Executive Committee, with a motion put to our membership at the 2014 AGM that the change should go ahead. Following a formal vote this was carried unanimously, with Southend United Supporters Society Limited being registered with the FCA on 2nd July 2015.

So what has changed?

A key change is that our regulatory body has moved from Companies House to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The organisation is now known as 'Southend United Supporters Society (LTD)'. We will still however trade as The Shrimpers Trust.

Whilst we are now a type of co-operative society, our society's purpose (objects) are to benefit the community. So whilst we now have shareholders, (our adult members all hold a £1 share), the organisation will not run for profit to benefit the shareholders, with any “surplus” used in the same way as before IE to fund our 'donations'. So we will continue to allocate funds on behalf of our members in support of specific projects primarily in and around Southend United Football Club.

The Society Board - This has replaced the current Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Our rules provide that we will at any time have a maximum of 12 directors constituting our Society Board. This excludes the secretary post which isn't on the board as it's seen as more of a governance role.

When the new Society was proposed (at the 2014 AGM) all existing officers stood down with all subsequently re-elected.

The current Society Board is comprised as follows:
  • Paul FitzGerald - Chair
  • Paul Yeomanson - Vice Chair/Membership Secretary
  • Darren Posnack - Treasurer
  • Tom Brooks - Supporter Group Liaison
  • Clare Chapman - Travel Co-ordinator
  • Shane Chapman - Club Liaison
  • Richard Coxell
  • Rob Craven - Press Officer & Youth Team Representative
  • Jon-Paul FitzGerald - Newsletter Editor
  • Kay Fogg - Junior Blues Secretary
  • Alan Perry - Fundraising
  • Alec Trott

The period of office for Board members is 3 years with one third of these standing down for re-election each year.

We have included the option to co-opt up to two external directors to the Society Board. So as necessary we can strengthen the team in mid-term.

Society Secretary - the Society Board has appointed Lesley Hicks to the post of Society Secretary.

It is believed that the Society Board structure will deliver a focussed model for our organisation going forwards. The Society Board members between them have a considerable spread of skills, knowledge and experience, with all working together as a team. All are committed to the cause being involved in operational activity.

Committees of the Board - under the new model the Society Board may delegate its powers to Committees of the Society Board and we feel that the addition of such Committee groups will provide us with much needed flexibility to meet the requirements of specific projects /initiatives etc. including giving additional focus to fund raising.

Model Rules Supporters Community Mutual - we also have new model rules which outline how our organisation runs going forwards. These provide guidance as to day to day operations as well as appropriate governance. A copy of this document can be viewed in the Members Area of this website by clicking here.

In addition we have five documents which support our new Society rules. These cover key processes and will supplement the model rules. All are available to members at any time on request.

Standing Orders For General Meetings - details the process to be followed re holding general meetings including the AGM.

Standing Orders For Society Board Meetings - details the process to be followed re holding our Society Board Meetings including frequency of meetings, board quorum, protocol re agreeing agenda and the running of meetings. This also details how the Society Board Committees will work.

Election Policy - covers the process for the election of the Society Board supplementing the content in the model rules.

Board Membership and Conduct Policy - covers the constitution/mechanics of the Society Board and the conduct required of a board member. Also this includes the process to be followed for resolving any connected issues.

Disciplinary Policy - details the process for dealing with any misconduct within the Supporters Society.

I do hope that you have found this summary helpful. In the event that you have any questions regarding the changes we have put in place, please feel free to contact me ( ).

Paul FitzGerald
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