LOFT's Board has held a productive initial discussion with the club's interim Chief Executive, Marshall Taylor, on the possible uses of the Regeneration Fund. We entered into agreement some time ago to work with the consortium led by Nigel Travis in its attempts to purchase the club, with supporters very much at the heart of the new regime with the pledge of an elected Supporter Director on the football club board. Using the fund to help the club rebuild under the new supporter-led ownership therefore falls very much within the remit given by members when the fund was set up.
The club's new ownership believes as we do, that it would not be appropriate to use any of the fund to supplement the first team budget. From the club's perspective, the consortium has a fully-funded budget in place for the first team, while from our perspective we are mindful of the donations from all around the world from fans of many clubs, who donated to help us rebuild the football club from the damage caused by its previous owner.
Both parties are therefore looking at non-first team uses that would help the club regenerate and recover. These include helping boost the youth academy capability, the women's team and community facilities/capability.
We don't have further details at this time as the discussion was very much an initial one, also the club is understandably focussing on preparing for the new season as it had to start so late. We will of course hold further discussions with the club in due course and report back after these; there will also be an opportunity for members to discuss the fund's use with the Board at a forthcoming members' meeting (to be arranged).
In light of the positive nature of the discussion and the alignment of the club and LOFT's Board in possible uses, we have therefore taken the decision not to accept further funds to the GoFundMe element of the Regeneration Fund and to remove the PayPal option to donate to the fund. We will continue to add the proceeds of planned events to the funds, and will then calculate and report back on the final total. We will almost certainly be looking to fundraise in the future however, where there are recurring annual costs for those projects/activities eventually funded.
Any donations received over and above the £1 minimum membership fee will now revert to how they were treated before the fund was set up; namely, as 'ordinary' donations to LOFT to help cover our running costs. In fact, such costs will be higher in future with a much increased-membership and (once agreed with the Supporters Club) potentially the costs of electing a Supporter Director.
We therefore remain extremely grateful to those members who donate extra when joining or who pay their membership monthly by recurring payment (both standing order and PayPal); such donations enable us to offer the absolute minimum cost for membership to all.
Our thanks once again to all who have donated to the Regeneration Fund, from the Orient family and beyond - our aim is for your generosity to have a long-term beneficial effect at this great football club!
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