Welcome to our latest newsletter, although it is close season there is still lots going on as we start to prepare for the new season.

Real Ale Festival – First of all a big thank you to all those who came along to our first ever Real Ale & Cider Festival at Blundell Park on June 1st. The feedback we have had has been very positive and this is certainly something we will repeat again next year. We have identified a number of ways we can make it even better for next year and also if anyone who did attend has any suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Community Open Day  – The next date for your diary is Sunday 28th July when we have the annual community open day from 10am until 3pm. We have been working with the club and the sports and education trust to ensure that this year’s will be the best ever. Hopefully, unlike last year, the weather will be kind to us but if it isn’t, we have put together a much better plan to still have a great event under cover. Centre stage as ever will be the players doing a light training session followed by the chance for autographs and photos. We will also be doing a group photo with the players for all those turning up in replica shirts. As well as the players we also have a fantastic line up of entertainment and activities such as giant inflatable darts (using footballs), speed football, target football, climbing wall, face painting, kids workshops, singers, dancers, steel band, piper and didgeridoo. We also have various charity stalls as well as full bar, hot drinks, hot dogs, cakes and amazing Indian food from Masala Masters. As you can see there is lots to do whether you are a football fan or not so please spread the word and bring along family and friends, everyone is welcome! Oh and it is FREE entry.

Manager Q & A – The manager has once again agreed to do another Q & A night just before the season starts. We have a provisional date of Thursday 1st August for this, but we just need to get that confirmed before we start selling tickets. This will be free for members and a small cover charge for non-members.  As well as Michael and Anthony we also plan to have a couple of players in attendance. We should be able to confirm final details within the next week or so.

 Family Excellence- Another thing we have been working on with the club is improving the matchday experience for families. This includes a number of initiatives including, special ticket for family section in main stand, improved facilities in main stand for families pre match and half time, review of catering to include healthier child friendly offering, pre match and half time activities, non-match day activities and alongside ourselves forming an official junior supporters section. To drive this forward the club will be appointing a part time family co-ordinator (approx. 15 hrs per week) and this post will be advertised shortly.  We will update on progress over the next few weeks.

Common Ground – We are also involved in the Common Ground Project currently taking place which is being led by the Sports and Education Trust. The key aim of this is to ensure Blundell Park is a welcoming place for everyone irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs etc. This involves reaching out to those groups who do not attend games at moment as well as training staff and showing fans how to accept and embrace diversity. For those attending the open day you will see a very wide range of cultures as well as some initiatives around the ground to promote diversity.

Fans Zone – Feedback from fans has shown that they would love to see a fans zone on matchdays where fans, both home and away, can come along early and enjoy a few drinks, food, activities and entertainment. Ideally this needs to be outside the ground which is difficult given the lack of space but we think we may have found the ideal location which is actually inside the ground but could be constructed in such a way that it is effectively outside with supporters still having to go through their normal turnstiles to gain entry. The space is the constitutional corner next to turnstiles that in the past were used by away fans, this area has now been cleared and is an ideal space to be used for a Fan Zone. As ever the cost of making good, fencing and providing shelter will be an issue and so we are currently investigating various avenues for funding support to enable this project. Again, we will l keep you informed with progress.

Fans of the Future – Watch out for this initiative by a group of independent fans which we are very happy support. Please follow futurefansgtfc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and you will see details emerge over the next few days.

Ground Improvements – When you come back to Blundell Park next season you will see a number of improvements not least of which see additional disabled, ladies and baby changing facilities in the main stand. We have helped (£3k) towards the cost of these improvements and we thank everyone who contributed.  Some work we would like to see done that isn’t yet scheduled is replacing the missing panel at the end of the Pontoon Stand. Again, we are looking with the club at ways of funding this and hopefully we can come up with a solution soon. All suggestions welcome.

   As you can see there is a lot going on and we are only a small team of people trying to make a difference and so as ever if anyone feels they can help in any way either as a full board member or just helping with a project or admin then please do not hesitate to contact us at enquiries@marinerstrust.co.uk. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone willing to take on management of our website and help with design of communication material, such as posters, leaflets etc.

  Don’t forget if you are a member and buying a season ticket to claim your 5% Mariners Trust discount. If you have any doubt as to the status of your membership, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

 Finally, a plug for the guys doing the Tower to Tower bike ride next weekend. Dave Smith, Dave Moore and Paul Groves together with 9 fans are covering the 170-mile route in aid of the Youth Development Association. They are expected to reach the Dock Tower around 4.30pm on Sunday 23rd and then on to Blundell Park for some well earned refreshments. Please go along and give them the welcome back that they deserve. Paul Groves in particular, does not get back to the club very often and so please take the opportunity to go and show your appreciation and have a chat.

  As ever thanks for your support.

 Up the Mariners!

Mariners Trust Board.