David, our Chair, welcomed everyone to the first meeting for the New Year. Numbers were lower than usual but we recognise that there is still much apprehension among our members due to the current Covid situation. We were still joined by a gathering of around 80 members.

We informed our members that KCOM had made a most generous offer to provide us with free tickets for two people to attend each of our remaining matches. We hope that this will be particularly encouraging for those members who have for one reason or another given up their club membership. Today it these tickets are to be raffled off to those members present who would be delighted to attend a match during January. Members were invited to fill in a simple slip to indicate their interest and the ‘winning’ ones would then be drawn at the end of the meeting. Over the coming months, we will be exploring a special relationship with KCOM who have already funded the cost of setting up our new website with the enhanced memorabilia section. They will be hosting special Teaching sessions to help our members learn internet skills, all provided free. Unfortunately, James Fairbank, from KCOM, had been unable to join us at this meeting.

Barbara briefly updated members on the upcoming Outings, mentioning that she had 2 spare places for the Chocolate factory trip on January 20th and 3 for the visit to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at Spilsby on February 17th.

David then introduced our speaker, Catherine Bishop, the Chief Executive of the Tigers’ Trust (TT). We already have a strong partnership with TT and look forwards to this growing ever stronger. Catherine opened by showing a short video presentation that introduced two young men who had found their involvement with TT to be life-changing, life-enhancing. Catherine had been in post for almost 3 years and on arrival found the TT to be a “sleeping giant” and explained some of the things which had brought it very much alive. The trust is already 30 years old with a role to engage with people using the presence of football. Although they were affiliated to the football club they are also separate from it – as is the case with similar trusts across the football world.

In 2016 they moved out of their offices at the stadium and into the nearby Arena, at a stroke providing so much more opportunity. Then came the Pandemic and with closed doors, it has put a stop to most of their fundraising opportunities. The Allam family have ensured, however, that they had the means to continue along with the support of their Trustees. They are not a small venture and currently employ 39 people, some full-time, others part-time.

One area they have expanded into is a partnership with the NHS, exploring healthy well-being opportunities. They also work with 11 of our local Secondary Schools and provide support to young people as they prepare for employment. They likewise give support to many of our Primary Schools. They also work in partnership with several charities, like MIND, who are working to help people through difficult situations. Last year, despite the challenges of Covid, they still gave some support to 28,516 people. They connected with almost 15,000 primary school children and hosted 1,850 children & young people for the holiday Football Skills events. They provide support for some of the more vulnerable adults, 1,360 calls last year, helping those suffering from issues of loneliness.

Like many other football club Trusts, they are involved with the National Citizen Service (NCS) but the TT is believed to be the biggest provider in the country. Last year 357 young people took part in the NCS, through the TT. Our involvement in the Primary School Programme is also the largest in the country. Our Tigers Trust are not just average but very much the role model.

Healthy Holidays initiative provides activities for children and hot meals whilst their Kicks programme will attract up to 120 children on a Friday evening in North Hull. Some of these young people will later join the NCS employment programme, others will be offered Apprenticeships with the TT, many going on to employment with the TT or in other places. “Dylan” was mentioned as a young lad who grew up in care and then joined the NCS programme. He found life skills, listening opportunities and signposts that have enabled him to find employment – he’s on his pathway to a bright future.

The Trust has an annual turnover of £1.4m and by using that money creatively they can help prevent children from dropping out of school or leaving the dole queues. For that amount, they have estimated that they have provided £20m. Value into the community.

Catherine received a very strong and rapturous round of applause – and she fully deserved it.

After a break, there was an opportunity for members to put questions to Catherine.

What is your background? Certainly not football! She has worked for the Charity & Not for Profit world and gained so much experience along the way.

How dedicated are your team? “They are AMAZING!”. They don’t do it for the money but are motivated by seeing the benefits coming to those who they can get alongside.

Your main challenges?

What can we do to support you? Finance. Some will come from the Premier League and the EFL but it is not easy money and never enough. They have to raise funds too and Covid has not been at all helpful.

How did the Butterflies come into being? Butterflies had started before Catherine joined the TT and some of their team have developed strong links with the Butterflies. Our support at Senior Tigers will be increasingly valuable.

Will the new club owners be committed to the TT? Time will tell but they are hopeful of being given their support. They are Media people and will be aware of the value of Good News stories – we can tell them many.

What plans are there for the Arena? It is 20+ years old and has some issues which must be dealt with. However, the Dome will soon be coming and will be built alongside the Arena. Although this will be for the club’s Academy it will be required to have some community availability. The Dome will receive a 3G pitch and the one that was fitted in the Arena will revert to a normal sports hall and become much more useful.

So Catherine had given us tremendous insight into the Tigers’ Trust. We are very grateful.

The Raffle was drawn, having made £123 from the sale of the tickets. Some excellent prizes were on offer, including an outing for 2 to Middleham Stables, viewing the gallops included. This was kindly donated by our own Paul Bryan. Winners of 2 tickets for one of our January matches were Josephine Hill, Alan Dalton, Roy Bly, Margaret Ware, Howard Thompson, Steve Graham & Colin Hill.

Finally, we received an update on the Memorabilia site from Tony Conway.

Four years ago there was no ambition from the football club but when we held that Memorabilia Day in February 2018, it really opened eyes to what was waiting to be collated. This was followed by the Hull Daily Mail offering us complete access to their Hull City photo archives. The following 4 years have seen a team of faithful people undertaking a massive task to undertake a labour of love to create a professional result. Tony gave special thanks to Helen Carter, Stuart Tomlinson, the Becks, Rob Wilson and David Jackson. With the sponsorship of KCOM, it has ensured that soon we will be able to roll out the new website with Memorabilia Archive. It will include everything that was previously there and so much more! It will not be restricted to the first team but cover Reserves, A-Team and the Juniors. Hopefully, we will see it launched in the next few weeks. Tony also mentioned that we have received a 1921 football – we just need some way of blowing it up!