discretionary pot

  • SMISA April £2 spend proposals

    As we are now into April, it’s time for the next quarterly spend from the members £2 discretionary pot.

    The SMISA committee have been busy behind the scenes looking into a number of projects.

    As we have explained in previous emails to members we follow a process before we put options forward to be voted on, intended to make sure your money is well spent.

    Part of that is in making sure any money spent on St Mirren is on a project the club actually needs and wants, but also to ensure proposed projects are fully thought through, costed and financially viable, and consistent with the spending priorities you collectively expressed in our last members survey. Indeed some of the projects proposed below have been down to suggestions made by members at that time.

    The amount available from the January to March subscriptions is £8,249.01. This quarter, we are putting forward three suggested projects which total £8,200 when added together.

    However these are three separate projects and we are asking members to cast three votes – yes or no – for each one, with results decided by simple majority.

    So rather than asking you to vote for Project A or Project B with the result one must happen and one doesn’t, this gives greater flexibility, as – depending on how you vote – all, none, or some of the proposed options could be passed.

    If members vote against any of the projects, the sum of money allocated to it it will stay in the pot for future use. The projects we are asking you to vote on – along with proposed spend – are as follows –

    1) Community season tickets (£6,000)

    Over the years the club have run many free-tickets-for-kids schemes to get more young fans along to games. A couple of our members had suggested SMISA subsidise the cost of this and it was one the committee were keen to look into, although we felt it shouldn’t just be restricted to kids.

    Our research uncovered a simple scheme initially run by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust – where the trust buys a block of season tickets and invites community or youth groups to apply to use them, with a different group getting the block of tickets, free of charge, for each game.

    We propose setting aside £6,000 for this scheme, which would buy a block of 24 adult season tickets for 2017/18 (we negotiated a bulk discount with the club).

    We chose adult season tickets so we could open up the scheme to other groups, for example, charities working with disabled or elderly adults. Even if the tickets were being used by a youth group, a number of adult tickets would be needed for helpers, so this keeps the arithmetic simple.

    We see this as an all-round win – SMISA benefits the Renfrewshire community, up to 19 community or youth groups get a free day out at the football, and the club gets guaranteed income and people through the gate who may come back as paying customers.

    If members voted in favour, we would produce a more detailed application process and criteria, but as a general principle we would open the scheme up to any local charity, youth or school group.

    2) Hall of Fame boards (£1,500)

    As members will know, the Hall of Fame boards around the ground have not been updated in some time. Also, they still carry JD Sports branding, who will no longer supply club kits after this season.

    We have costed the replacement of these boards at £1,500 and would ask members to vote for or against that spend.

    If approved, the new boards would include players added to the Hall of Fame since the boards first went up and would carry SMISA branding, meaning less JD Sports presence around the stadium.

    3) Youth team sponsorship (£700)

    We have also been looking into various ways SMISA could bring the club and local youth football community closer together. While we weren’t able to make all our ideas happen in the timescale we had, there is one we think will work.

    We are proposing SMISA sponsors a local youth team for next season. We would set aside a £700 budget for the team to buy a set of new kit – which would carry SMISA’s logo as the main sponsor.

    If the spend is approved by members, interested youth clubs could put their names forward and we would draw the winner from a hat.

    We would then keep members up to date with our adopted team’s progress over the season – and would involve St Mirren’s staff and players with the youth team where their commitments allowed.

    Voting and next steps

    We are asking members to consider each project and vote yes or no to each. Members have been emailed with a link to the secure online ballot, which will run until Wednesday 12 April.

    The next spend will be in July and there are a few ideas we are already looking into but which weren’t fully developed in time to be included here.

    As always, if there are any suggestions, send them to us via [email protected]

  • November Member Update

    Dear SMISA member

    Welcome to the latest SMISA member update, this one for the month of November. The committee have been as busy as ever and there’s a round-up of the latest below.

    Director election

    As you know, one of the most significant things we are working on is the election of the SMISA director to the St Mirren board.

    The deadline has now passed for members to submit their applications to be a candidate. Each candidate must be nominated by at least ten members to get on the ballot and we are currently verifying the nominations we received.

    The plan is for voting to start on Monday 7 November and run for two weeks. We will email you with details of how you can vote via secure online ballot once everything has been finalised.

    All candidate statements will be posted on the SMISA website along with the job description, which lists in detail the responsibilities of the role.

    It also lays out the skills and experience we feel someone will need in order to be effective as a fan representative and as the key link between the trust and the club.

    The choice of SMISA representative on the board is obviously of crucial importance for the future operation of both the club and the trust, and we would encourage you to read all of that information fully before you cast your vote.

    Latest membership numbers

    The membership numbers at end October are 1,340, a very slight drop on September but a figure that continues to give us a healthy monthly income and keeps us on track to achieve the long-term goal of fan ownership of St Mirren.

    In the last month we lost a few members and gained a few – it will be important we continue to pick up new members to offset any drop-outs.

    We are working on some schemes which we think will help do that – but would also appeal to all members to keep spreading the word to any fellow fans who haven’t yet signed up to #BuyTheBuds about the benefits of membership and what we are trying to achieve.

    People can sign up online and read five reasons to join SMISA on our website.

    Disabled platform update

    As you are already aware, SMISA plan to spend the contents of the members pot (containing the £2 proportion of your monthly membership) every three months.

    We agreed for the first three months’ worth to part-fund the building of a project which featured prominently in our survey of member spending priorities – the disabled platform at the back of the main stand.

    Work is already well under way and the platform is expected to open in the next couple of weeks, meaning disabled fans will be protected from the worst of the weather by the time the winter fixtures kick in.

    The aim of the members pot is for your money to be spent on projects which make a visible difference to the club and community, and for you to decide where that money goes.

    We are not aware of any fan group in Scotland doing anything else like this on such a regular basis, and are excited by what St Mirren fans will be able to achieve through this fund in the future.

    Millennium champions event

    When we launched the #BuyTheBuds campaign back in April one of the benefits offered to the Plus (£25 per month) members was an invite to an exclusive SMISA-run event every six months.

    The first one will take place on Friday 2 December when we host An Evening with the Millennium Champions in the hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

    The night will look back on one of the most memorable seasons in St Mirren’s history – the 1999/2000 title win, in the company of Tom Hendrie and members of the squad, helped by some video highlights from key games.

    Our Plus and Premium members have already been emailed with details of how to claim their free place for the night, but all remaining tickets will go on sale to all members from Monday 14 November at a cost of £10 (all money raised will go to youth development).

    It is shaping up to be a great night and we would encourage you to make sure you don’t miss out.

    Stadium clean-up

    Over the past few weeks a hardy group of volunteers from within SMISA’s membership have been down at the Paisley 2021 Stadium cleaning up the Family Stand.

    While the fronts of the seats are cleaned by the club each year, the backs are not, and our guys have blasted them with power-washers, as well as cleaning the stairs, banisters and the backs of the advertising boards.

    Anybody sitting in that stand for the Dumbarton game on Saturday will be able to able to see the difference – there are some pictures on our Facebook page.

    Our thanks go to volunteer squad members Bert Downie, Ian Mclaren, Ken Docherty, Gordon Black and SMISA committee member Jim Crawford for all their hard work.

    The guys are keen to expand their numbers and if anybody has a few hours to spare and would like to join them, your help will be hugely appreciated.

    The guys are now tackling the West Stand. If you would like more information about getting involved, email [email protected]

    Youth academy dinner

    The annual St Mirren youth academy dinner takes place on Friday 25 November at the stadium. Full details for the event are on the club website.

    This year’s speakers include broadcasters Alan Rough and Peter Martin and as always, funds raised will go to support the club’s youth development.

    As in previous years, SMISA has agreed to take a table for ten at the event and will meet half of the £500 cost of this from existing funds.

    That means if any members want to come along, they will be able to buy a seat for £25, rather than the usual £50.

    If you would like a seat, please contact [email protected] and we will put your name down on the list.

    Next few games

    The defeat at Morton on Tuesday was a particularly depressing one for us all – a poor performance by the team, and one they will know themselves they need to improve on.

    Looking at the fixture list for November and December the team is heading for a season-defining run, with home games looming against the teams directly above us in the league.

    Sometimes bad results breed bad results and the players are clearly lacking in confidence at the moment – so now more than ever they need your support to break that cycle.

    We would encourage all fans to get down to the Paisley 2021 Stadium for the next couple of games and give Jack Ross and the team the backing they need to help turn the season around.

    As always, if anybody has any questions or issues they want to raise, please do so via [email protected]

    The SMISA committee

  • October Member Update

    Welcome to Jack

    The club this week confirmed the appointment of Jack Ross as the new manager and the SMISA committee would like to welcome Jack to the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

    SMISA's man on the club board David Nicol was obviously involved in the recruitment process and we know Jack really impressed the board with his vision for the club and that they see him as a good fit for their long-term plans.

    It was also encouraging to see him talking up the benefits of fan ownership in his interview on the official website today - for those who missed it, there's a good insight into his approach here.

    It goes without saying supporting St Mirren hasn't been easy over the past few years and maybe the atmosphere hasn't always helped matters on the pitch.

    But we now have a new manager, a new board and a new opportunity to move forward as a club. We hope all members and fans will give their full support to Jack and the team, and hopefully better days lie ahead.

    Latest member numbers

    Current membership numbers as of the start of October are 1344. That is slightly down on last month but we always expected that over time numbers would tail off and we budgeted on that basis.

    Of the handful of cancellations, the feedback we have from those who wrote to us is that their reasons were purely down to finance.

    We have been given no indication anybody has left because they are unhappy with the job we are doing or because of results on the park.

    As always we would stress the work to take the club into majority fan ownership is a long-term project which will take years to save up for, and that means we need a long-term commitment from as many members to stay the course as possible.

    First £2 pot spend

    One of the key ways we will be keeping everybody engaged is by spending the £2 proportion of your monthly membership, which we plan to do every three months.

    We wrote to you last week with the results of the survey we ran on your priorities and the feedback from that will be used to inform future spending decisions.

    As we explained in that update, the bulk of the £8,500 raised through the first three months of #BuyTheBuds money will be used to make up the shortfall (estimated at £6,000-7,000) on the club’s planned disabled platform at the back of the main stand.

    But we asked the members to vote on where the remainder of the money should go – either into youth development or to be left in the pot for future investment.

    Voting closed earlier in the week and the results were as follows:

    Option 1 (Spend on Youth Academy)
    43% 325

    Option 2 (Carry funds over)
    57% 430

    Director election

    As you know, one of the key points of the #BuyTheBuds campaign is that you the members can elect one of your own to represent you on the club board.

    SMISA committee member David Nicol has been doing this role for the past couple of months but it was always our plan to hold an election to be concluded before the club AGM at the end of the year.

    We have now produced a set of election rules, along with a timetable detailing how the process will unfold over the next couple of months.

    The first stage of that will be a nomination period where any interested members will be able to put themselves forward to go on to the ballot.

    The full set of election rules, including details of how to nominate yourself, will be sent out later this week, along with a job description outlining the expected duties of a SMISA rep on the club board.

    Volunteer call to action

    Something both the SMISA committee and Gordon Scott are keen to investigate is how to harness the membership’s collective power to volunteer on projects which will help the club and community.

    The club have approached us with a couple of projects which they need some extra pairs of hands on and have asked if SMISA members are willing to provide them.

    The first project involves the possibility of the club installing an electronic advertising billboard on land at the north end of the stadium, which could be a very lucrative income stream.

    However the companies who operate these boards will only install one if they know there will be a certain amount of traffic at that location each day.

    So to find out if this idea is feasible, the club is looking for a number of volunteers to work in shifts to help electronically count the vehicles at that spot over the course of one day (note - this is likely to be a weekday).

    If you were able to spare an hour or two and would like to register an interest in this or any future volunteering opportunities, please send an email to [email protected] and we will be in touch with more detail when we have it.

    If there was sufficient interest, this could be the start of a SMISA volunteer pool of people who use their collective skills to work on various club and community projects as and when required.

    This could be ideal for members who are perhaps retired and willing to give up some time to, or those who are looking for something to add to their CV.

  • Results of April £2 spend

    Results of April £2 spend

    As you know, a ballot has been running over the past week and a half on the April £2 pot quarterly spend and voting has now closed. A reminder of the proposed projects is here.

    A total of 845 people voted and results were as follows:

    Project one – community season tickets – 673 (80%) voted yes and 172 (20%) voted no.

    Project two – hall of fame boards – 589 (70%) voted yes and 256 (30%) voted no.

    Project three – youth team sponsorship – 610 (72%) voted yes and 235 (28%) voted no.

    The vote is structured in way which gives a decisive answer over whether members are happy with what is being proposed – and again, each project has met with the approval of a sizeable majority.

    The SMISA committee will now take forward all three projects and will keep you updated on progress.

    As always, we welcome any suggestions for future projects and would ask these be sent to [email protected]

  • SMiSA Members Discretionary Spend Ballot

    Dear members

    As you know we wrote to a few weeks back with a link to an online survey asking where you would like to see SMISA invest the £2 proportion of your monthly membership fee.

    The plan is to spend the pot every three months and what you told us in the survey will help inform future decisions over how we do that.

    The survey is now closed but more than 550 of you took the time to fill it out – and your feedback was hugely helpful.

    There were a couple of questions – the first one asked you to rank a number of areas by importance and the second to submit any ideas you had for specific projects.

    We’ve now been through the results and you can see the full answers to the first question through this link

    As you can see, the youth academy was your top priority, but there was also broad support for investment in club facilities of different kinds.

    On the whole, members are happy to see money spent on St Mirren-related community projects although other areas were given higher priority.

    Investment in the first-team squad was the one area which split opinion – 31% of you didn’t feel it was a suitable use of the money but almost 70% did, with 44% calling it important or very important.

    Clearly we won’t be able to keep everybody happy on that point, but we could in future suggest first-team investment alongside other options and ask members to vote – that way the membership as a whole decide if the money goes there or not.

    The second question saw some interesting feedback and some really good ideas and we have already had an initial chat with Gordon about how some of them might work in future.

    We grouped the answers to those questions together to pick out key themes and three came out as the most mentioned.

    As you might expect, youth development and the first team budget were two, and the other which repeatedly came up was investment in disabled facilities.

    Leaving the money in the pot to allow bigger investment in the future was another suggestion some of you made and that may be an option we offer at various points.

    But for now we have the question of what to do with the first three months of money – there is £8,500 available from the July, August and September income.

    As part of the process we asked the club where they wanted investment – and their number one priority is for us to make a contribution towards the disabled platform they plan to build at the back of the main stand.

    Currently, wheelchair-bound fans are housed at the front of the stands, and there is a lack of shelter during bad weather – a long-standing issue the new board have committed to fix.

    This work would also allow the stadium to regain UEFA Gold Licence status – an honour it lost when the criteria for a raised disabled platform was added.

    The club has the necessary permissions in place and has managed to secure some of the funding for this project but not all.

    The total project cost is yet to be finalised but they reckon the shortfall will be around £6,000-7,000 and have asked if SMISA can meet that.

    All things considered it seems the obvious place for this first tranche of #BuyTheBuds money to go – we want member money to go into visible projects which will make a difference to fans and this strikes us as a perfect example.

    There will be points in the future where we will offer members a choice of projects and ask you to pick between them – but in this case we felt that wasn’t needed when there was only one thing the club asked us to fund and lots of our members are telling us they want that very project.

    So we are proposing to make the full £8,500 available to the club to cover as much as they need to complete the platform – however we would like the members to decide what should happen with however much of that is left over.

    There are two choices we would invite you to vote on –

    1) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and put any leftover sum into the St Mirren youth academy budget

    2) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and keep any leftover sum in the SMISA £2 pot for spending at a future date.

    You will be able to cast your vote via secure online ballot and you will receive a separate email with a link allowing you to do so. If you have any issues accessing the ballot or didn't receive it please contact us.

    Voting will close at midnight on Sunday 2 October and we will email members with the results.

    We and the club will be working behind the scenes to cost some other projects for possible inclusion in future spending rounds – the next one will likely be in January.

    As always, if you have any questions you can contact us via [email protected]