Article in Forest programme

For those that missed it, this article on the Trust's role, purpose and achievements appeared in Saturday's matchday programme.

From the COVID-19 pandemic to the failed European Super League project, the last couple of years has seen football face huge disruption and challenges, and this has brought a renewed focus on supporter groups. The Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust was born out of a meeting of fans in 2016 and is an independent, not-for-profit, democratic organisation which is here to give fans a voice in the running of the club.

In legal terms, trusts are constituted as a body known as a Community Benefit Society and elections are held to form a board who work on a voluntary basis. All board members buy their own tickets and do not receive any benefits from the club.

Anyone can be a member of the Trust, which is £12 per year for adults and £6 for juniors, which allows adult members to stand and vote in elections.

Developing a dialogue with the club

In order to meet our basic functions as a Trust it is essential that we have an open, honest and constructive dialogue with the club, representing our membership. While it may be expected that we “hold the club to account”, that does overstate our authority somewhat. We are not a regulatory or an investigative body. However, a relationship based on mutual respect across all levels of club staff allows us to share feedback, questions and discuss ideas for the benefit of supporters. This is done through regular meetings and more informal communications, rather than by tagging the club on social media – and difficult questions absolutely are asked when required.

The Trust is one of the few supporters groups to have this relationship formally underpinned by a memorandum of understanding. What’s happening on the pitch isn’t within our remit, but most other things are. We do not seek to represent the views of all supporters, but this season we have fed back fan questions on:

– Stadium maintenance
– Kit pricing and sponsorship
– Stadium planning application
– Online ticketing
– Catering
– Remembering Dylan Rich
– The academy and much more

You may have seen our recent YouTube Q&A with club chairman, Nicholas Randall QC, in which he answered questions sent directly by fans. We’ve facilitated a number of surveys and also ran a focus group for supporters with disabilities and their carers. Feedback from this session was collected into a formal report which we have submitted to the Supporters Services department. In addition to this, experienced chartered accountants on the Trust board review the club’s annual accounts and share their analysis with members. This year, we discussed financial matters direct with the club via the video Q&A.

In the coming months, we hope to build on what we believe is one of the most open, effective and constructive relationships across all supporter groups in the country.

Forest – a community asset for everyone

The board believes that the local community benefits when Forest is active in the local area and representative of the region. We have forged good links with HOPE and the Nottingham Forest Community Trust to promote and facilitate food bank collections. We also partnered with the Community Trust to promote the Tricky to Talk mental health programme and our activity in this area led us to winning the Football Supporters Association’s Lockdown Heroes award.

In the words of rather famous ex-manager, our board believes that football belongs to everyone, and that’s why we will be launching the My City My Shirt initiative this year. Inspired by the Football Supporters Association’s Fans for Diversity project, this simple idea will see supporters from a range of ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, genders and disabilities photographed around the City Ground and the Nottingham area in the latest home shirt. A lot of work is going on behind the scenes and we can’t wait to share more. In addition to this, we have sponsored Forest Women defender, Grace Walters, for several seasons.

The big issues

The Trust is part of the Football Supporters Association network and this gives us the opportunity to attend meetings and take part in projects to discuss wider issues and challenges facing football in this country. The Trust supported calls for a fan-led review from the Government, which is taking place now to address critical issues facing the sport.

How to join

We can’t exist and do all of the above without members, so please join today at: nffctrust.org/membership

You can find out more about the Trust and its aims at nffctrust.org and we can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

COME ON YOU REDS!