Football is back! The Championship flag has been unfurled and we are off and running in the SPL with five wins out of five. It has also been another productive month at the Foundation and this month’s blog includes news on members’ fundraising initiatives, our first overseas ambassador as well as some of the other FoH activities in July.
July was the last ‘non footballing’ month of summer for the FoH and we are delighted to report that contributions and member numbers have held up during this period, despite previous experience suggesting there may be a degree of attrition. As at July our member count were just under 8,100 and total contributions were just under £130,000. This, together with the generous bequest we reported in last month’s blog, means we continue to be well on track with our agreed payment plan.
In July the Foundation hosted an extremely fruitful governance session with representatives from the club. The afternoon started with presentations from club officials on their role at Tynecastle, further deepening the FoH board’s understanding of the inner workings of HMFC. The agenda then turned to an open forum on fan ownership facilitated by Professor Andy Adams from Heriot-Watt University in which different examples of innovative ideas and best practice were highlighted. The meeting was hugely useful to the FoH board and underlined our intention to work ever closer with the club as we move toward fan ownership.
FoH leading the way
Successful fan ownership continues to be the number one objective at FoH and as a result we continually look at other models of ownership both in the UK and abroad. We have learnt a great deal in the last 18 months and are increasingly being sought to offer advice to other fans’ movements considering a similar model. In recent months representatives from Leeds United, Rangers, Motherwell, Raith Rovers, St Mirren and Newport Country have contacted the Foundation for advice. We are proud to be blazing the trail for fan ownership and our stance will always be to help other fan movements as best we can.
Hearts fans in York and two breweries in the north of England raised funds for the Foundation in July. The York Hearts Supporters Club worked with Tyne Bank Brewery in Newcastle and Brass Castle Brewery in Malton, North Yorkshire, to produce a Tyne-Castle beer, called Hearty Ale. The breweries agreed to give the Foundation 10p from each bottle or pint sold. All 1,200 bottles and 30 casks have now sold out, raising £336 for the Foundation.
Gavin Aitchison, secretary of York Hearts, said: “This started as an idea in the pub one day, and we’re really grateful to the two breweries for making it possible. We’re delighted to be able to help the Foundation in this way and we enjoyed being able to add to the proceeds in a few of our local pubs down here.”
The Foundation are hugely grateful for the efforts of York Hearts in making this initiative happen.
Proud to pledge pin badge
Last month we released the first FoH pin badge and since then hundreds of you have picked one up at our match day reception. We have raised well over £1,000 in voluntary donations for the badge and we still have a limited number left. If you want to get your hands on one, they will continue to be available at our matchday reception for the rest of the season until they are sold out. The Foundation would like to thank Merchiston Hearts Social Club whose members bought the badges in large numbers in July.
Can’t make it Tynecastle on a matchday? Please send a stamped, addressed envelope with your address details along with your voluntary donation to the address below and we will be more than happy to send you a badge.
FOH Pin Badges
Heart of Midlothian Football Club
Second FoH director to join the club board
We reported in the June blog that Ian Murray had taken the decision to step down from the FoH and HMFC boards effective from 30 June 2015. On behalf of Ian, we would like to note our thanks to all members for their heartening messages of support that we have received over the last few months.
Brian Cormack has assumed the position of Chair of FoH and attended his first HMFC Board meeting in June. Members will no doubt be aware that our agreement with BIDCO stipulates that, at this stage, two members of the Foundation board should represent the Foundation on the club board. We are pleased to confirm that Donald Cumming, our legal specialist on the Foundation board, has now joined the HMFC board. Donald is heavily involved in the design of the future governance model for the Foundation and the club. Through his membership of the club board, he will experience first-hand how the club operates which in turn will assist greatly in devising a governance model for the future.
First Overseas Ambassador appointed
We were delighted to welcome our first Overseas Ambassador to Tynecastle for the opening league match against St Johnstone. Alec Peck is based in Bahrain and will be one of the network of (unpaid!) ambassadors who will promote the Foundation in their region with the aim not only of adding to the number of pledgers but also to sharing news and views and bringing fans together. Overseas fans have played a very significant role in their support of the Foundation from its outset and we have been keen to recognise this and to ensure that their perspective and opinions are built into the fabric of the Foundation as we move forward. Alec and future ambassadors will be playing a central and constructive part in making this happen. Thanks to the response to earlier coverage of this initiative, we are building up a strong network of potential ambassadors worldwide and we will be formalising this shortly. Thank you to everyone who has already been in touch and if you’d like to contact us about the scheme, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be delighted to hear from you. In the meantime, an interview with Alec is now on our website at http://www.foundationofhearts.org/news/overseas-ambassador-interview/
As ever, all feedback and comments on this month’s blog are welcomed. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.