By Maria Horner
Like I’m sure for most of you; life has been a million miles an hour and the past six months has passed in a blur, albeit with significant football highlights, including L.I.S.A.
While it feels we are still into the new school term and early in the football season as I write this I’m aware we are racing towards Christmas and 2018! Like Lincoln City FC, the board, the Cowley’s and the team; L.I.S.A has made a solid start with lots to build on and look forward to. I promised an update on the members’ forum/ meeting we had on 20th September. I know I’ll get red writing on my late homework!!
As our events get underway your committee stands with bated breath...... but on a mid-week school night around forty of you came and supported L.I.S.A. I know more of you would have attended but life is a juggling act. So I’d like to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU for all your support and to summarise and update you.
We had the sad news and started the evening with a toast to Edna Staniland who passed away last month. Edna was an active L.I.S.A supporter who rocked it to ‘Sweet Caroline’ at our social in July. Many of us only knew her for a short time but she had a big positive impact on us. We’ll miss you Edna x
Edna, like you, helped us achieve the following in just six months;
Almost 1,000 Facebook members
154 paid members sporting L.I.S.A badges with our logo designed by our very own L.I.S.A, Jane Chamberlain
We have an active committee of seven people, Maria Horner (founder/ Chair), Lindsey Warwick (Vice –Chair), Jackie Atkins (Secretary), Gemma Jones (Treasurer), Jenny Wray (Social media/ Membership), Heidi Langham (Social magician) and Martin Ryder (Website) – although we all do a bit of everything.
We have (Martin has) built this website from scratch and there is an area for members only access and also the facility to purchase membership and event tickets online. We are on twitter (@Ladyimps) and Facebook, our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve hosted four events at the Travis Perkins suite at the club. Thanks to Ian McCallum and his team who have been brilliantly supportive and without their financial and general support we would not be where we are. We had the first meet and greet in April, the social in July, the members meeting in September and the October social. More to come ...
We raised £56 for the 617 Crowdfunder at the social in July.
L.I.S.A supported the Imps in the Community Summer Festival of Sport in August and raised £76.50 for them. As a committee we have decided that we will actively fundraise for Imps in the Community and all the fabulous work they do – we also gave them £100 (50% of raffle takings at the July social). We have forged good links with the Red Imps Community Trust.
L.I.S.A is an affiliated member of the Football Supporters Federation. All supporters groups from league clubs are invited to join as long as the group is constituted (we are) and works with the ethos and values of the Federation. The FSF’s Diversity and Campaigns Manager, Anwar Uddin, has been brilliant. Not only encouraging the development of L.I.S.A but offering financial support to get us up and running. The FSF and the Kick it Out campaign also subsidised the L.I.S.A social in July so we could keep ticket prices low. We look forward to future links with both organisations.
Lincoln City FC itself offered a warm welcome to L.I.S.A, when Alan Long met us for the first time in April. We couldn’t have wished for a better start to our relationship with the club. We were delighted to have the new CEO of Lincoln City FC, Liam Scully at the event in September. It was a great opportunity for members to hear from him. He discussed his busy start and hopes for the future, taking the club forward. There is a lot to do, it can’t all happen at once and there is an element of having to work with what we’ve got in terms of structure; for now. He is listening to supporters about their experiences and I’m sure you’ll agree positive change is happening fast. The loos are also under review!
Alan Long, now in his official role as Supporters Liaison Officer also entertained us with a few behind the scenes stories from last season.
You saved the best till last... we got a brilliant discussion going involving the whole room about what you like, what you want to happen and other ideas for taking L.I.S.A and the club forward.
You mentioned the age of members – some are members with teenage daughters and want to be L.I.S.A’s together – membership is now 14+ (under 18’s at social nights must be accompanied by an responsible adult member). We discussed encouraging girls football, transport to away games, L.I.S.A posters. Your ideas on the suggestion sheets included;
Family events - We are planning a joint Christmas event with Junior Imps on December 3rd, details soon. We are approaching the club about a family picnic event in the early summer ... watch this space, we decided against a firework display (too complex for us right now)
Award ceremony/ L.I.S.A sponsoring a player’s kit or Man of the Match - L.I.S.A has been lucky to have jointly sponsored a match and match ball thanks to Curves who invited us to join in their day – two lucky L.I.S.A winners have enjoyed a VIP match day experience hosted by Karen and Stigs Dixon. Hopefully another one will happen in the New Year.
L.I.S.A merchandise - We are seriously looking at what will be popular and cost effective as we get started.. You mentioned L.I.S.A seat pads, t-shirts, we’ve had a Facebook poll – and you want hoodies, car stickers and mugs – I really want to design some pretty/sexy/ comfortable match day ‘lucky’ pants!
Promote L.I.S.A with posters, a calendar with players and L.I.S.A champions around the ground - We have discussed having a L.I.S.A meet n greet at the ground - watch this space for a small step start by the club. You suggested the L.I.S.A logo on Poacher and dialogue and contact with visiting female away supporters (great idea!).
Review facilities for those with disabilities - It’s an issue the club were already examining and of course the issue recently made news headlines. The club are taking this seriously and I’m sure there will be improvements soon.
Loos! - Big issue! The club are looking to refurbish the loos to have decent hand driers, locks and sanitary bins. We might be able to do more to add a bit of style! The flushing issue may be a significant engineering problem.
Refreshments - You want good food and a variety of drinks (served in our seats might be a hope too far unless Deliveroo get in on the act!). The Fanzone was eagerly awaited. It looks amazing. It’s a work in progress and I think we’ve seen some great ideas already
Social events - You suggested dancing, a party, a ball! A social event for the more traditional supporter, Gary Hutchinson to host a quiz night (ace idea is Gary’s up for it?)- you talked about bringing a variety of fans together.
You mentioned bidding for the Lincoln City Knight .. See below ..
Women only sports events - Imps in the Community are developing some events geared specifically towards engaging women in active sport. Gemma Bell on our group is also keen to get us active, and into grassroots football in all kinds of roles – there are opportunities we can signpost you to.
Away travel and L.I.S.A / Juniors away coach - We are aware some people would like the security of knowing they have a seat on a more ‘family friendly’ coach, or who want to meet people via L.I.S.A to arrange to travel together. Our understanding is there is a ‘family friendly’ coach – we can look at the issue of communicating details about travel arrangements.
More variety in the Match Day Programme to encourage children to read and also use it to promote L.I.S.A
Stadium Tours for grass roots teams - love this idea for wider audience too..
A L.I.S.A chant! – over to you ....suggestions please
And since our gathering ... L.I.S.A member Adele Would brought our Knight home. Adele was on a two woman mission with Jan Hope to raise money to take to the auction of the city’s knights to bid for the Lincoln City Knight. She approached L.I.S.A to raise money at our meeting in September, of course we said... Yes!
Jan also walked miles with buckets for cash at Sunday football matches, there was a crowdfunder online – fans also donated to the bucket collection at the Barnet match. Adele then persuaded local businesses to pledge money for the bid....and on that rare warm night in our Cathedral ....Adele waved our card 313 and secured our hero for £6000. He officially arrived ‘home’ last weekend and we know he’ll be an attraction for the club in the future.
L.I.S.A has hit the news headlines – early on when we were new and our existence was questioned for apparent sexism and being divisive. We’ve promoted the group in the local news sites and on BBC Lincolnshire. We want women to feel comfortable celebrating Lincoln City however they choose; 617 styleeee, knitting and cheering, and everything in between. We have never wanted or asked for L.I.S.A segregated seating, but we do want to celebrate lifelong female supporters and also hold out a welcoming hand to new ones ... there’s room for every style of supporter... and our Facebook pages show the brilliant variety you bring..
We know from the FSF that clubs around the country are interested in what we are doing. We can show what can be achieved by working together and hopefully encourage other women supporters to become visible in their club community.
So where now?...
I don’t want to forget our core reason for starting our group... supporting you to support our club. We’ll continue to drive the group forward but we can also support YOU to help YOUR ideas happen. Adele Would’s Knight campaign was a great example .. If you want something to happen, and we can help, we will. If you have an event idea or a ‘thing’ you want to see, please get in touch. We can’t promise to achieve them all, but great ideas often have a way of making themselves happen......look what we started six months ago....