Ten Years After
The Brakes Trust was registered ten years ago today on 19th March 2010 – we’ve done a few things since then – here are some highlights:
We held our launch party in June 2010 – showing England v USA in the World Cup on big screens viewed from the Harbury Lane Terrace at the Brakes’ New Windmill Ground.
We held a survey at the New Windmill Ground in August 2010 to determine supporters’ travel activities.
We held our Inaugural Annual General Meeting on 18th November 2010 – electing our first Brakes Trust Board.
In April 2011 we held the first of our highly acclaimed annual Citizen of the Year events at the Assembly – raising funds for national and lesser known local charities,
– and starting the long overdue task of re-connecting the club and its supporters with the wider community.
We purchased our first tranche of shares in the club, starting as we intended to go on by helping the club while at the same time ensuring that any donations have some form of benefit in return. At the same time we also launched our Share in our Club scheme – allowing supporters to contribute however small there donation. See 2011’s April Newsround for more.
In October 2011 we initiated the Brakes Trust Members’ Draw – which takes place at each home game and continues to this day. At half time of each match, a Trust member’s name will be drawn at random, and he/she will win a £5 voucher to spend at a club outlet. The full cost of the vouchers are paid to the club at the beginning of each season.
We held a Question Time themed Open Fans Forum in November 2011 – giving supporters the opportunity to quiz the club, management, players, volunteers, Trust and others on topical issues.
In March 2012 we launched our Show Our Shirt To The Town appeal to ensure that the historical Leamington Town FC shirt donated by Terry Willoughby was preserved for display. After being exhibited at the Leamington Spa Museum as part of the local celebration of the 2012 Olympics and local sporting achievements, the shirt is now on permanent display at the Leamington FC club-house, the New Windmill Ground, Harbury Lane.
April 2012 saw Citizen of the Year 2012 –
Citizen of the Year:
Young Citizen of the Year:
Leah was nominated by Matt Deakin from Warwickshire Young Carers’ Project.
Margaret was nominated no less than five times for her relentless fundraising work in Kenilworth and around the area.
On 12th May 2012 Brakes fans got the opportunity to play on the main pitch against some of the former stars of Leamington FC in the inaugural Copa del NWG.
On 18th June 2012, Thanks to a unique partnership between the Brakes Trust and Warwick Racecourse, football fans from all over the Midlands were able to attend the evening meeting. Where a bucket collection at the exit raised £465.00 for one of the Trust’s nominated charities, the Warwickshire Young Carers’ Project.
In September 2012, thanks to the quick action and generosity of a few Brakes fans, The Trust was fortunate to acquire an old but serviceable LDV Minibus for the benefit of Brakes fans. We quickly applied for the required community transport permit to use it for Home Runs from Town to Ground and Away Trips to away grounds and to make it available to other associated Brakes organisations.
In October 2012 The Trust-sponsored the FA Cup tie v Stourbridge and presented cheques to Warwickshire Air Ambulance and Warwicshire Young Carers Project.
Fundraising for charity is just part of the overall fundraising by the Trust, which also included:
20Jul £1000 Share purchase
03Aug £200 Share purchase – chq from last season cancelled, re-applied
16Aug £125 Members Draw Vouchers for 12/13
23Aug £100 FA Cup match sponsorship
22Sep £60 2 Sportsmans Evening Tickets purchased for a members competition
04Oct £26 Brakes Lottery – 6 months
In November 2012 the Brakes Trust exercised our right as a shareholder to attend the Leamington FC Ltd AGM and published our concerns at that time.
In November 2012, during half time at the Leamington FC v Chippenham Town game, the Brakes Trust presented the Leamington FC Youth team with a £1000 sponsorship cheque for the 2012/2013 season. The donation to the Youth Team was used for the squad’s training jackets with the Brakes Trust badge on the jackets.
In March 2013 the Brakes Trust Minibus Saves Mozza’s Day! When Mozza was let down by a commercial minibus hire company for his stag trip the Trust came to the rescue.
In April 2013 the Trust didn’t hold back when expressing fans concerns and elicited a response from the club from which we were able to go forward positively – highlighting the principle that openness in communications is important. The Trust made positive steps backing the ground improvements.
In summer 2013 we continued to wave the flag for the Brakes at several community events and give the fans something to do in the close season:
- Leamington Peace Festival
- Warwick Races
- Whitnash Community Fun Day
- Hook Norton brewery trip
- Lillington Fete
- Royal Priors, Leamington Spa
In July 2013 we actively engaged in the debate about potential investment in the club by MyFootballClub.co.uk and made our concerns known.
October 2013 saw the Citizen of the Year 2013 awards recognise yet more local heroes and raside more money for national and local charities.
In February 2014 we introduced the Club to locally based Co-Operative Energy and launched an energy saving initiative for our members. This initial contact was instrumental in sealing a longer term sponsorship relationship for the club.
March 2014 saw the possibility of the NWG being sought for use as a Travellers Site by Warwick District Council – we have actively engaged with the club and Warwick D.C. from this point onwards.
May 2014 saw another successful Copa del NWG 2014 with fans of all ages gracing the NWG and raising £310 for charitable causes.
June 2014 saw the Trust take advantage of the Localism Act 2011 to register the New Windmill Ground as an Asset of Community Value – this means that the land or property is of significant importance to the local community. If it ever comes up for sale, communities will be able to gain extra time to bid for the ground or asset. A valuable step in safeguarding a home for the Brakes.
We supported the club’s ‘Pride in our Club‘ campaign to get the NWG ready for the 2014/15 season.
In September 2014, despite a growing lack of support and volunteers, we launched what was to be the final Citizen of the Year awards, but it turned out to be a great night of celebrations.
Congratulations to our 2014 winners:
Young Citizen of the Year – Mia Beresford Ruck
Joint adult Citizens of the Year – Chris Johnson and Margaret Moore.
Autumn 2014 also saw the breaking news that, in exchange for making the NWG available for development as a travellers site, Warwick District Council, as part of its Local Plan, would engage with the club to develop and make available at favourable terms a community stadium at Gallows Hill. The Trust engaged with fans and its membership to gauge the reaction and continue to keep an objective and cautious eye on developments – while endeavouring to keep as much information as can be gleaned in the public domain.
In December 2014 we ran a survey to determine fans views of th proposed move to a community stadium. We then balloted our members to determine how to vote in the EGM (89% in favour) and issued a statement after the EGM – which included: ” The Brakes Trust remains optimistic about the potential plans, and welcomes the club’s commitment to further engagement, as and when, with all of the stakeholders in the club – including the Trust. “
In January 2015 we applied to the Dept for Transport for a new minibus under their Community Transport Minibus Fund – we originally heard about the fund on 1st Dec’14 as members of the Community Transport Association and registered our interest then. At the end of March 2015 we heard that our bid has been successful, in a letter from the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin. He wrote: “I am pleased to be able to support organisations such as yours to help you continue to deliver services which can be a vital lifeline to communities … My officials will contact you shortly to explain the process for procurement and delivery of your new vehicle”.
Summer 2015 saw more community engagement by the Brakes Trust:
- Leamington Peace Festival
- Whitnash Fun Day
- Warwickshire Pride
- Leamington FC Community Fun Day
- Lillington Fun Day
On 30th July 2015 we held another open fans’ forum based on the BBC Question Time format, allowing fans to discuss issues with representatives from the various parts of the club.
In October 2015 we took items made available by the club (framed signed match shirts) and the Brakes Trust (DVDs and the restored Leamington Town shirt) to the display at Leamington Art Gallery and Museum will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Leamington Football Club reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup. A video made at the time by Brakes Videos documenting the cup run was shown on a loop.
In February 2016 we took the difficult decision to voice concerns about disillusionment with the club’s progress on and off the field of play – seeking a positive response. The outcome of which was for the club to arrange an open meeting on Friday 4th March, and which again reinforced the need for open and honest communication between all concerned. Our report followed.
In June 2016 we again put up big screens at the Harbury Lane terracing for Euro’16 – enabling fans to watch England v Russia in a family friendly atmosphere, offering:
- Watch the game on large screens from the terrace or in the bar.
- Family friendly with food.
- Minibus from town – Parish Church bus stop – from 6pm, every 15-20 mins until 7:30pm.
- Minibus return trips afterwards.
At the earlier open meeting it was agreed that the Trust would survey the existing memorabilia at the club – in June 2016 we initiated a fund raising scheme to restore and display items held in storage.
On 5th July 2016, after months of detailed discussion and specification, we took delivery of our new minibus from the DfT’s Community Minbus Scheme. Complete with custom graphics extolling our aims:
- For the Fans
- For the Club
- For the Community
In October 2016, after careful consideration, we issued a joint statement with the club regarding supporter behaviour: ” Following a number of incidents of spectator misconduct over the course of this season we ask Leamington FC fans to fully consider their actions and the impact it has upon the good name of the club and their fellow supporters when at a game. “
In November 2016 we made a donation to Side By Side Theatre Group as a result of the fundraising by the float we entered with the community teams at the 2016 Leamington Carnival.
In March 2017 we conclude a deal whereby Phillips 66 and its fuel brand JET provided a year’s worth of free fuel for the Trust’s 17 seater minibus. Unfortunately, after the closure of their Warwick office, Phillips terminated this deal rather abruptedly on 17th Dec’18 – but we thank them for their support and their continued support for the club.
On 7th April 2017 the plans for the proposed new community stadium at Gallows Hill were announced jointly by the club and Warwick D.C. We made this public immediately and the following day the Brakes Trust issued an initial comment, including: “One of the Trust’s main aims is to bring the club and community closer together – the community stadium proposal appears to be an excellent opportunity to achieve this for the fans, for the club and for the community. ” We attended the council meeting where this proposal was passed. We then balloted our members for their opinion on how the Trust should vote with its shareholding at the subsequent club EGM at the end of May 2017.
The EGM was held on 31st May 2017 and the Brakes Trust voted in favour in-line with the result of its membership ballot. We reported on the outcome the next day.
In August 2017 we were able to rescue the Harbury DofE Group with the use of the Brakes Trust minibus for their Gold Award trip to Snowdonia – they had been let down by a double booking of the Southam community minibus.
On Weds 1st Nov’17 Warwick District Council’s Executive Committee passed recommendations based on an update report on the progress to acquire and develop and at Europa Way for the community stadium and enabling development following the report approved on 12th April’17 – we published what we could glean to keep our membership informed.
In November 2017 we published an update on progress with the Memorabilia – subsequently the restored items were unveiled on the clubhouse bar walls in April 2018.
In June 2018 we reported on the outcome of a meeting with club director Russell Davis on progess with the proposed community stadium, where: ” Russell gave a broad outline on the state of play at the moment. There’s no headline news as such, and hence no open meetings or shareholder meetings. But things are progressing behind the scenes. Russell explained that there was a joint team in place, with representatives from Leamington FC Ltd and the council. An Officer (i.e. Project Manager) is to be appointed, employed by the council and reporting to the joint team. “
On an October 2018 Sunday, in support of the WW1 Commemorative Day presented By Leamington FC in partnership with Warwick District Council the Brakes Trust ran our minibus to and from the event.
In November 2018 we reported on the open meeting held on Weds 21st at the club to describe and discuss the progress on the proposed new community stadium. The ‘master plan’ and proposed project timescales and palns were revealed. Club chairman Jim Scott opened the meeting and introduced Paddy Herlihy (Programme Manager – Cultural Services) from WDC.
On 7th December 2018 we reported that the proposed new stadium outline plans were approved by Warwick D.C.
In November 2019 we published a reflective post “AP Lockheed Lest We Forget” written by club historian Paul Vanes detailing the Lockheed Brakes Sports and Social Club War Memorial – listing the service personnel who lost their lives during and just after the Second World War.
And finally we are happy to publicise and offer our support to Brakes supporters who have sponsored two guide dog puppies with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. The sponsorship was organised by Paul Sandison via the Facebook group Leamington FC Brakes Banter Unofficial: www.facebook.com/groups/LeamingtonFCBrakesBanterUnofficial/
The dogs are named Archie and Skye and, of course, one is gold and one is black!
Now, in March 2020, we face a new challenge as we all come to grips with the effect on our lives and activities of the corana virus outbreak. With the postponement of all football matches this will have an impact on our own club, the Brakes – so if you can afford to we encourage you to donate to our ‘Share in our Club‘ scheme so that we can help the club’s cash-flow through the crisis.
But most of all we hope you can stay safe and well.
It all goes to show what can be acheived with the will an dedication of our members and volunteers – here’s hoping the next ten years will be good for the Brakes – club, fans and community.