Newcastle United fans asked to approve £200,000 to four Tyneside charities
Three months after the Newcastle United owners took control of the club, January 2022 saw the Newcastle United fans ‘1892 Pledge Scheme’ brought to an end.
With Mike Ashley approaching 14 years in control of the club, NUST set up the 1892 Pledge Scheme to raise cash from supporters, in the hope that if the club was ever sold, new Newcastle United owners would allow pledge money to be used to buy a collective stake in NUFC, no matter how small.
However, in an email to members on 12 January 2022, NUST said that following informal talks with the new Newcastle United owners, the pledge scheme would now be brought to a close and the cash raised so far (over £200,000) be distributed to charities, so long as the NUST members vote in agreement.
That vote saw 83% of the Newcastle United fans (NUST members) backing the option of ending the scheme and distributing the funds to charity.
With the consortium and the ownership set up, it was always very difficult to envisage how exactly a share of the club was going to be allowed for the Newcastle United fans and so it has proved.
Now NUST have asked members to give final approval in terms of how the £200,000 will be donated, with four charities nominated to receive varying amounts (see below).
The Newcastle United fans (NUST members) who are eligible to vote, have a week to do so.
NUST statement to members – 12 September 2022:
Thank you for your patience.
The 1892 Pledge Scheme was halted in January this year on your direction with 83% of you voting to end the Scheme and distribute the funds to charity. The takeover of Newcastle United in 2021 has transformed the fortune of the football club and members agreed there was no longer the requirement for this Trust to collect funds in attempt to safeguard the future of Newcastle United.
Since January this year the Pledge Committee made up of Trust Guardians and members of the Trust Board have worked together to present a suitable destination for the £200,000 Trust members raised between April 2021 and January 2022.
The North East of England has many deserving charities and how to best distribute the funds was a question not easily answered. The Pledge Committee wanted to support multiple charities yet provide selected charities with enough money to make a significant difference to the lives of the people the charities support. It was also important to the Pledge Committee that the Pledge Scheme money be used on projects members could recognise and see the positive effects of, rather than be paid across for general running costs.
Our Pledge Guardians came together and asked the Pledge Committee to consider supporting four charities that Trust members know and recognise. Four charities that have links back to our great football club:
Newcastle United Foundation
The Alan Shearer Foundation
Newcastle West End Foodbank (better known as the Newcastle United Fans Foodbank)
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation
Minutes of the meeting between the Pledge Guardians and Committee that took place on 21st July 2022 can be found HERE
George Caulkin, on behalf of The Pledge Guardians, has written the following for members to explain their decision making:
How best to describe the 1892 Pledge scheme, now it’s winding down? How about: beautiful failure? Or what about: beautiful success? It’s a failure because the original intention was to help save Newcastle United in the horrific (but all-too plausible) event of the club dropping down the divisions and it’s beautiful because, for reasons we all appreciate, that safety net is no longer necessary.
It’s beautiful, too, because the notion of fan ownership is one worth fighting for, then and now. It’s beautiful because as a result of the takeover, the second part of the Pledge comes into effect, which is that the funds you helped raise will be distributed to worthy causes across our region. And it’s a success because as we have seen at St James’ Park over recent months, the force of a united Newcastle can make big things happen. You did that.
As guardians of the 1892 Pledge, we had two main tasks; to act as a lock on the money – to ensure it was only spent on the things it was meant to be spent on – and then, once the decision had been taken to give it away, to advise the NUST board on the charities it could be given to. This was a weighty responsibility, but our guiding light was this; if we could not save the club, we would use the prism of the club to help save and improve lives in our city and beyond.
We believe our choices fulfil that remit. Each of the Newcastle United Foundation, the Alan Shearer Foundation, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Newcastle West End Foodbank has an umbilical connection to our club and each do vital, life-changing work. Our money will fund infrastructure projects or have a lasting effect over the coming years. The Pledge scheme may have ended, but these relationships are only beginning. They will bloom and grow.
I’m so proud of our beautiful failure, our beautiful success. I’m so proud of us, so proud of you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.
George Caulkin, Lee Humble, Ian Mearns MP, Warren Barton
The Pledge Committee has spent several months speaking to charities and learning about their needs and funding requirements. Charities were asked to provide funding requests for the Pledge Committee detailing why money was needed and what projects it would be spent on. You can find the proposals submitted by each organisation by clicking on the links below:
The Trust Board requires the consent of Trust members to make the payment of money to the charities as outlined below:
The Alan Shearer Foundation – £83,500
The Newcastle United Foundation – £30,000
The Bede Foodbank – £27,500
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – £59,000
We are asking you to vote ‘yes’ on this proposed division of the 1892 Pledge Scheme funds.
NB: Voting will open on Monday 12th September and close at Midnight on Tuesday 20th September.
In order to vote, you must hold an active NUST membership and will need to know your NUST membership number. If you do not know your membership number please go to https://nufctrust.co.uk/support/ and select “I Don’t Know My Mem No”.
Any support requests for membership numbers must be made by Midnight on Sunday 18th September in order to ensure you receive a response in time to place your vote. Requests for membership number information cannot be made by email.
The vote requires a 50.1% majority of eligible members who vote one way or the other to carry.
What happens if?..
The ‘Yes’ vote wins…
After communicating with members, the results of the vote, the money would be paid to the charities as soon as possible. It is expected it would not take more than a week to do this.
Trust members will be emailed to inform them that the charities had been paid in full
The charities will provide updates in the coming months and possibly years for Trust members to demonstrate that the funds have been spent on the projects that they were requested. These updates will be delivered by the Trust through emails and social media.
The ‘No’ vote wins…
The Pledge Committee would meet to decide next steps and another proposal to members would be put together in the coming months after feedback was taken on why the current proposal for the selected charities was rejected
If you have questions about the proposal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘1892 Pledge vote’ and someone will respond to you within 24 hours.
Pledge Guardians are willing to attend an online meeting with members before the vote deadline if there are questions that cannot be answered. If you would like to put questions to the Guardians or Trust Board, please email the Board at the above email address if you would like to take up this option and a suitable time will be sought.
Please be aware that the decision to stop the Scheme was backed by a huge majority of voting members and neither the Trust Board by email or the Pledge Guardians can change that decision.
The 1892 Pledge Scheme was a remarkable achievement by Trust members to try and safeguard our football club as it seemed destined to slide toward relegation and beyond. Instead of having to continue to do what we should never have to do we are able to come together to make a remarkable difference in our community in within this city.
£200,000 will leave a legacy with deserving charities that have helped people within this city and beyond. Each charity has been served by the supporters of this football club whilst also helping Newcastle United supporters in the most incredible ways.
The Trust Board and Guardians sincerely hope you believe our work in months gone by has been effective in choosing deserving charities with deserving projects. Please vote ‘yes’ and with your consent we can get this huge sum of money to where it is needed.
Newcastle United Supporters Trust
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