As you know we wrote to a few weeks back with a link to an online survey asking where you would like to see SMISA invest the £2 proportion of your monthly membership fee.
The plan is to spend the pot every three months and what you told us in the survey will help inform future decisions over how we do that.
The survey is now closed but more than 550 of you took the time to fill it out – and your feedback was hugely helpful.
There were a couple of questions – the first one asked you to rank a number of areas by importance and the second to submit any ideas you had for specific projects.
We’ve now been through the results and you can see the full answers to the first question through this link.
As you can see, the youth academy was your top priority, but there was also broad support for investment in club facilities of different kinds.
On the whole, members are happy to see money spent on St Mirren-related community projects although other areas were given higher priority.
Investment in the first-team squad was the one area which split opinion – 31% of you didn’t feel it was a suitable use of the money but almost 70% did, with 44% calling it important or very important.
Clearly we won’t be able to keep everybody happy on that point, but we could in future suggest first-team investment alongside other options and ask members to vote – that way the membership as a whole decide if the money goes there or not.
The second question saw some interesting feedback and some really good ideas and we have already had an initial chat with Gordon about how some of them might work in future.
We grouped the answers to those questions together to pick out key themes and three came out as the most mentioned.
As you might expect, youth development and the first team budget were two, and the other which repeatedly came up was investment in disabled facilities.
Leaving the money in the pot to allow bigger investment in the future was another suggestion some of you made and that may be an option we offer at various points.
But for now we have the question of what to do with the first three months of money – there is £8,500 available from the July, August and September income.
As part of the process we asked the club where they wanted investment – and their number one priority is for us to make a contribution towards the disabled platform they plan to build at the back of the main stand.
Currently, wheelchair-bound fans are housed at the front of the stands, and there is a lack of shelter during bad weather – a long-standing issue the new board have committed to fix.
This work would also allow the stadium to regain UEFA Gold Licence status – an honour it lost when the criteria for a raised disabled platform was added.
The club has the necessary permissions in place and has managed to secure some of the funding for this project but not all.
The total project cost is yet to be finalised but they reckon the shortfall will be around £6,000-7,000 and have asked if SMISA can meet that.
All things considered it seems the obvious place for this first tranche of #BuyTheBuds money to go – we want member money to go into visible projects which will make a difference to fans and this strikes us as a perfect example.
There will be points in the future where we will offer members a choice of projects and ask you to pick between them – but in this case we felt that wasn’t needed when there was only one thing the club asked us to fund and lots of our members are telling us they want that very project.
So we are proposing to make the full £8,500 available to the club to cover as much as they need to complete the platform – however we would like the members to decide what should happen with however much of that is left over.
There are two choices we would invite you to vote on –
1) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and put any leftover sum into the St Mirren youth academy budget
2) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and keep any leftover sum in the SMISA £2 pot for spending at a future date.
You will be able to cast your vote via secure online ballot and you will receive a separate email with a link allowing you to do so. If you have any issues accessing the ballot or didn't receive it please contact us.
Voting will close at midnight on Sunday 2 October and we will email members with the results.
We and the club will be working behind the scenes to cost some other projects for possible inclusion in future spending rounds – the next one will likely be in January.
As always, if you have any questions you can contact us via [email protected]