What is a Supporters Trust?
Supporters Direct (SD) has existed since 2000 to help football supporters gain influence in the running and ownership of their Club. In 2009, SD began working in Rugby League and since this time they have helped the establishment of nearly 20 trusts, six of whom now have majority control or own their clubs e.g. Rochdale Hornets, Bramley Buffalos, Hunslet Whilst London Broncos, Swinton and Salford City Reds have Trust representation on their board. Other clubs with active Trusts include Warrington, Whitehaven, Halifax, Oldham, Barrow and Widnes.
Basically a Supporters’ Trust is an independent, democratic, not-for-profit, community-based organisation that seeks to give fans a collective voice in the running of the club. In our case this would build on our existing Aims and Objectives and add aims to take an ownership stake in Widnes Vikings RLFC and to seek to be represented on the club board.
Community Benefit Society (CBS)
A Trust is a legal entity regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called a Community Benefit Society (CBS).
A Trust is owned by its members. Every member, regardless of their financial contribution, will be issued with a single £1 share; these shares cannot be traded or transferred. Each shareholder gets an equal say in the running of the Trust; one member one vote. The membership has to be renewed annually to retain the right to vote.
As a regulated entity the full force of the law can be brought to bear on anyone who misappropriates the funds and liability of Trust members is limited to £1. The Trust can own shares or property, and can sign contracts with the club for shares received and set the terms of the deal. It has powers to employ and manage staff within a democratic structure.