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Bairns Trust History : :

In December 2001, a group of Falkirk supporters met in the Hospitality Lounge at Brockville to see if the various sectors of the support could come together to explore the notion of a Trust. Stuart Adam was the person responsible for the initial soundings, and he had contacted legal firms and Supporters Direct. The initial reaction was positive, and a series of follow-up meetings were held to focus on constitutions, publicity and share options. Gradually, the initial enthusiasm of some of the attendees dwindled, and only a small group continued to meet.

This group became the Steering Group, and a key moment was the formal Launch of the Trust in August 2002.The presentations of the contributors at that meeting proved crucial, and the Supporters' Direct team outlined the ideas behind the formation of a Supporters' Trust. Ian McCall gave a presentation on the playing side of Falkirk and George Craig spoke of the community plans .It was obvious to all present that the club and the Trust would form a powerful partnership in the aim of building a community club.

Everyone present at the launch signed up for his or her initial share of £1, and the mood of the evening was very positive. Since then, there has been a good uptake of full membership, with an almost even split between communal and individual share subscriptions. We now have almost 200 members, and a healthy junior section. The Board of Falkirk F.C. has been very supportive, and members have attended steering group meetings.

The first elections to the board of BairnsTrust were arranged, and it had been hoped to have a ballot to elect members to the nine places available. In the end, only seven nominations were received, and so all seven were duly elected. The BairnsTrust board will now debate the possible co-options needed to allow the board to function properly.

One of the big lessons from the exercise is the need for a very professional approach, especially in matters financial. The Trust is registered as an Industrial and Provident Society, and as such, is subject to strict regulation and control. Both the Inland Revenue and the Financial Services officials scrutinise the affairs of the Trust, and there is a need for accurate and transparent financial record keeping.

The Supporters' Direct movement has given invaluable advice, and all the legal business was conducted through them. The government has allocated money to set up Supporters' Trusts, and the Scottish Executive has now ensured the scheme extends to Scotland. Mike Watson, Minister for Sport, presided at the launch of the Scottish Supporters' Trust Initiative at the National Stadium. Since then, there has been a great development of the movement, and the first gathering of Trusts took place in Stirling in November. There is a great feeling of sense of purpose in the Trust movement, and it is interesting to see the absence of rivalry between club representatives.

At Stirling, St.Mirren fans applauded the efforts of Morton Trust members-now that is unusual! The stories of the Scottish Trusts are interesting, and there are now eight fully registered trusts. Another six are at an advanced stage of development. BairnsTrust was represented at the launch of The Gable Endies Trust, and there was a good turn out of Montrose fans. It was good to see the club captain in attendance, and the players realised the need for Trusts to help ensure the financial stability of the team, both now and in the future.

BairnsTrust has huge potential, and several lessons have been learned at the early stage. The first of these is the need to have determination and resolve.

There will be times when it seems that everything is against you. There are cynics and harbingers of doom who will be waiting for things to go wrong. There will be those who query motives, and who question the need for the Trust to be doing things that "they"(Falkirk F.C. Board) should be doing themselves. The second lesson is the need for compromise and diplomacy.

Football clubs have certain groups or factions who do not always see eye to eye. There are often strong personalities involved, and the Trust needs to be seen as an umbrella group for all of these supporters' groups, as well as for the many supporters who do not form part of supporters' organisations.

Falkirk were placed in provisional liquidation, and since then Falkirk fans have raised almost £250,000 to keep the club alive. If there had been a Trust in 1997, the supporters would now be major shareholders and the club would belong to the community.

The BairnsTrust Board has seven members-Michael White (Chairman), Alastair Ferrie (Vice Chairman), Fergus Caldwell (Treasurer), Kirstie Adam (Secretary), Bill Anderson, Brian Guthrie, and Tom Jamieson. All board meetings are open to members of the Trust, and our website is now online. The BairnsTrust is growing up.