Background to the BRIS Trust

Bristol Independent Supporters Trust (BRIS Trust) is an organisation dedicated to enabling its members, through collective strength, to influence the running of Bristol Rugby Club for the benefit of the wider community.

In short the BRIS Trust is a vehicle that enables supporters of Bristol Rugby Club to band together and pool their resources and their financial contribution, into a recognized and properly controlled body, which represents the views and objectives of the supporters.

In order to achieve this the BRIS Trust is a legally incorporated Industrial and Provident Society, which is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and has a democratic structure. It has a strict principle of one member one vote and all the officers of the Trust are democratically elected by the membership.

BRIS Trust is the first supporters’ Trust to exist in Rugby Union, however many already exist in Football and Rugby League. A government funded organisation known as Supporters Direct helps set these trusts up and provides details such as a model constitution and financial support (in some cases). To date around 90 trusts exist across the country with that figure expected to rise to around 130.

Trusts throughout Football have achieved great things enabling the survival of clubs where otherwise it would not have been possible. In some cases this has actually resulted in the Trust ending up owning the club in question. In almost all of the cases the trusts are entities independent from the club with the express goal of giving the supporters a voice in how the club is ultimately run.

It is the aim of BRIS Trust to give the supporters of Bristol Rugby Club a similar voice. Always remember – the BRIS Trust is here to benefit the supporters and the wider rugby community in Bristol. It does this through its democratic membership and cannot simply hand money over to anyone without the agreement of its membership via a vote.


Trust email back in action

Apologies for any inconvenience but the email service is back up and running now. Thanks for your patience.

Quiz Night

What better way to start off the New Year than with a quiz that puts your team in direct competition with the players and management of Bristol Rugby!! Entrance is £15 per team (Team size 4 to 6 maximum) and there will be some super prizes on offer for the winners and runners up.

There will be a section of questions on the history of Bristol Rugby compiled by Club Historian and Trust Member, Mark Hoskins, so our thanks go to Mark for that.

If you would like to enter a team then please do so by choosing a team name and advising how many team members you will have via email to [email protected] Send this with your entrance fee to:

BRIS Trust

Box 365,

179 Whiteladies Road,


Bristol BS8 2AG

with your cheque payable to ‘BRIS Trust’. Alternatively, come and see me or one of the Trustees in the Bristol Room after the Bedford game on 23/12. Good luck!!

Chairman’s Review

We would like to wish all BRIS Trust members Season’s Greetings and a prosperous 2012 and hope that you like the Christmas card we have produced this year courtesy of Taylor Brothers Printing and HannahKing.com design.

This year has been a quiet but effective one for the Trust. We haven’t had the array of guest speakers that you have become used to but you have had plenty of air time with our new Head Coach, Liam Middleton. I hope that you will agree that our indulgence in the first team has been worth it, however, next year we will undertake to provide a more varied programme of talks.

We have also been hard on the fund raising trail with a successful race night (£400) followed by a monumental Q&A; night where we raised over £300.

Thanks to the efforts of the Trustees and you as Trust members we have been able to donate £3,000 to the Bristol Rugby Academy and £500 to Bristol Schools Rugby and £1,000 to Nick Carpenter who is the first recipient of the Carol Humphreys Memorial Bursary in memory of my late Wife. Considering the tough economic conditions that we find ourselves in this is a major achievement.

Tangibly we have funded 2 coaches/scouts for the Academy as well as supplying some new kit. We have also helped Bristol Schools meet the costs of an important trip to Cornwall to play Cornish Schools in December.

I, together with those of you who were lucky enough to make it to the Q&A; session at the Inn on the Green, was able to meet Nick Carpenter and see what a fine young man he is. Nick wrote to myself recently to thank us for our support and to outline how he was going to spend the money. Nick wrote the following in his letter:

‘Dear Andrew

Firstly, I am very sad for the loss of your Wife this September.

I would also like to say how incredibly grateful I am for this bursary and for the time you have spent organising it for me. It will be of great help for both myself and my parents i.e. rugby kit, petrol for away games etc.

I have already made some purchases for things that I needed earlier this season i.e. weight lifting shoes, which England said that I needed.

Without the generosity of the BRIS Trust I would not have easily been able purchase extra, essential equipment such as this.

Again, many, many thanks for this bursary and I’ll keep you updated with my progress.


Next year we need to have a major fund raising push and we are planning to follow up the success of the Thames Kayak Challenge with a Kayak Challenge closer to home but no less gruelling! Thanks to George Campbell we are going to Kayak 200 kilometres around Bristol Docks in 24 hours! We have yet to set a date for the event but it will be in April or May. We aim to maximise the funds raised by getting as many local companies involved entering a team to either do the whole event or just one lap. If you own a company or know one that would like to get involved then please email us at [email protected] and we will be in touch. Watch this space!!

We will open 2012 with a Quiz Night on 18th January and hope that you can join us to make it a success.

Those of you who are eagle eyed will have noticed that we are player sponsors of Matty James and James Letharby. This is a spin off from our financial support of the Academy and we would like to thank the Club for accepting our idea and acting on it so quickly.

In the meantime enjoy the rugby, keep supporting the team and enjoy watching our young talent develop.


Transcript of Players and Coaches Q&A

Bristol Rugby’s coaching staff faced supporters’ questions at the BRIS Trust Q&A; on Wednesday evening.

Hosted at the Inn On The Green in Horfield, the event saw Head Coach Liam Middleton review the season so far, while Academy Manager Mike Hall outlined his plans for the Club’s young crop of talent.

Following BRIS Trust Chairman Andrew Humphreys introduction, Middleton was first to address an audience of over one-hundred supporters.

“It’s good to be top but there is still plenty to do this season,” he said. “There have been lots of positives, particularly the way that we’re scoring tries and the number of bonus-points we have achieved. The RFU Championship is incredibly competitive so we can’t rest on our laurels, a couple of defeats can see a team drop down into mid-table.”

When asked about goals for the remainder of the campaign, Middleton responded by explaining that he was focusing on processes rather than outcomes.

He commented: “The most important thing is that we are where we want to be after the twenty-second game of the season. We have achieved some of our pre-season objectives and I am confident a top-five finish is still realistic.

“Now we are focusing on starting games well and improving our defence. We’ve gone from the tightest defence in the league to leaking tries. We know why we’re conceding them and we know what’s working and what’s not. We’re working incredibly hard to improve our defensive displays.”

The Head Coach paid tribute to the new additions to the Club, highlighting the benefits they have brought to the squad.

“The new players have fitted in with the culture right away,” Middleton explained. “They’ve been able to pass on their knowledge and experience to the other players. Jason Harris-Wright showed he can handle pressure well with his performance against Cornish Pirates, while Ruki Tipuna has a good number of years in top-class rugby and he will bring extra quality. On the whole, recruitment is now complete. We remain open-minded about the right people coming in but the squad is certainly taking shape.”

Academy Manager Mike Hall provided an overview of the Academy and the depth of talent across the local schools and clubs in the city.

He commented: “The full-time Academy members have really benefited from the B&I; Cup this season. It’s a big squad but individuals are knocking on the door for first team action. The U15s and U16s age groups have performed well, while the U18s have produced three players (Callum Braley, Steve Uren and Nick Carpenter) who were invited to an England training camp.

“It’s a testament to the quality that the Academy has through the age groups. During my time with the Club, myself and Matt [Sherratt] have received enormous support from local clubs and schools – it’s been really appreciated.”

Academy lock-forward Ben Glynn told supporters he’ll be undergoing surgery this week to have scar tissue removed – delaying his comeback to regular first-team action for another four weeks.

Chief-Executive Steve Gorvett rounded off proceedings by telling supporters Bristol were financially stable and planning for the long-term.

“The investors looked at the league table and spotted an opportunity this season,” he said. “We are financially sound and living within our means. We have a long-term plan and our investors are backing us.”

Trust on Twitter

If you would like to be tweeted about Trust updates/news then thanks to our new Trustee, Wyn Tingley, you can at @BRIS_Trust. Thanks Wyn.

The Trust makes a difference again with some focused investments

In the close season the Trust has been busy reviewing various requests for funding and we are delighted to advise that the first two items that we have approved are:

– £3,000 to continue our funding of the Academy coaches/scouts who Liam Middleton has recently advised are instrumental to the continued success of the Academy

– £1,000 bursary to support Nick Carpenter in his development for both Bristol and England at U16’s. Nick is the most promising centre in the country at England U16’s and Bristol through and through!!

Report from Supporters Group Meeting

Steve Gorvett (CEO) and Rob Clilverd (Director) represented the Club. The Trust, Supporters Club, Former Players Society and 2028 club were represented. Rob handed out a press release that contained a statement from Chris Booy’s this was subsequently released the following day.

Steve and Rob said that the Club was planning to be much stronger next season and competitive on the field. They asked that we emphasise the importance of the success of the Chairman’s Club to the Clubs ability to recruit and strengthen the squad for next season.

They raised the idea of a match day raffle to run next season. They have noticed that most Championship clubs run a raffle and it would provide useful income for the Club. They require up to 12 volunteers to run it and asked that the supporter’s organisations consider running it.

Finally the Trust made the point that the Club had given a confusing message re the Academy being supported by the Chairman’s Club next season since the Trusts current focus is on the Academy. We agreed to discuss this with Steve Gorvett and Liam Middleton to plan how the Trust can best contribute going forward.

The Club said that they were actively considering recruiting top players who would be prepared to play on a part time basis. To support this they asked if we knew of employers in the area that would take on these players on a 4 day week basis to supplement their playing salary. We said that we would need to understand the skills on offer to match to potential employers, however, if you have a business or work for a business that would be interested in employing a Bristol player next season then please let us know via email.

Steve said that the Club would be running an annual dinner at Filton College in May and that details would be published in due course.

We finished by thanking Steve and Rob for the great work that they continue to do for the Club (This obviously goes for the Chris as well).

The BRIS Trust donate a further £1,500 to the Bristol Rugby Academy for Judo lessons

At the presentation on the Academy on 17 January 2011 Andrew Humphreys, Chairman, presented a cheque for £1,500 to Academy Manager Liam Middleton. This means that the Trust has hit all of its targets for the 2010/2011 season and wish to thank everyone who contributed. However, please keep on giving generously as we are sure to have a lot more to support next season!

The BRIS Trust donate £2,500 to the Bristol Rugby Academy…

The BRIS Trust are delighted to support the Academy as Partner Sponsors for the 2010/11 season. We have been set some stretching fund raising targets and are well on our way to achieving them by funding 2 new coaches/talent scouts Mike Jones and Alex Guest who will be able to spread Bristol Rugby’s net to spot promising young players.

We have also donated 50% of the money required towards new playing kit for our Academy squad to play their fixtures which we are hoping will last a couple of seasons. However, it is a rough game and so we expect wear and tear to be high! So far this season we have donated £2,500 to achieve all of this which is largely thanks to the efforts of the 4 men who kayaked the Thames in 3 days.

Andrew Humphreys, BRIS Trust Chairman, says,

‘We were asked to provide financial support to the Academy in April and have set to it with relish. We are delighted to support the future of Bristol Rugby and would ask that any Bristol fan who wants to help either joins the Trust or donates. It doesn’t matter how large or small the donation as it all counts’.

Liam Middleton, Academy Manager says,

‘The support that BRIS Trust has provided to the Academy this season has been outstanding. The Academy projects which have been funded by BRIS Trust go a long way in supporting the pathway of players in the Bristol area. By funding the recruitment of two EPDG Coaches/Scouts we have already been able to expand our provision of coaching support to the EPDG as well as identifying several new young academy players. Last Friday we played an Academy game in the new kit which has been supported by the Trust. It goes without saying that the assistance that BRIS Trust provides to our Academy, and in turn the future of the game in the area, is invaluable.’

They’ve done it!

We are delighted to confirm that Alex Guest, Ian Kirley, Matt Perriman and George Campbell landed at Trafalgar Rowing Club in Greenwich at 10:05 yesterday morning.

Despite never having paddled before 4 months ago these Ian, Matt and Alex lead by experienced kayaker George completed 162 miles along the Thames, in atrocious weather conditions, and with no downstream current, in 70.5 hours which is an awesome achievement.

All of this has been done through the BRIS Trust to raise valuable funds to support initiatives with the Bristol Academy, Bristol Schools Rugby and Bristol Mini and Juniors to support our future young players with their development.

The guys (Except Matt who cannot be hear today) will be parading at half time carrying a kayak and bucket collectors will be around the ground as we attempt to meet our £5000 target. So please give generously as these guys have!

Progress report for day 3 – We’re still waiting to hear if they’ve made it to Teddington!:

Watch this space!!

Progress report for day 2 – The going gets tough!:

Once again the boys started the day in atrocious conditions and had to go 49 miles and through 20 locks to hit their target.

They started off at 8am and took a break at 6pm to speak to Radio Bristol. They then ploughed on but at 11pm had to call it a day with 8 miles to go.

Tomorrow morning they start the push for Teddington Lock and the final run down the river on Saturday morning. It is now a massive 58 mile stretch and will be a huge test.

So think of them at 8am when they set off again.

Good luck boys, we are behind you!

Progress report for day 1:

The boys did well today in atrocious conditions paddling the required 29 miles in the first day. Due to the river being lower than expected (Can you believe it given the past 24 hours!) they had to go through locks instead of portage the boats around them adding valuable time onto their journey.

Tomorrow they will have to go 49 miles and go through 20 locks which is going to be particularly tough. So think of them at 8am when they set off again.

These lads are doing their bit for the Academy and Bristol Schools Rugby so why don’t you by donating online at www.brist.org.uk or sending us a cheque payable to the ‘BRIS Trust’ at PO Box 365, 179 Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS8 2AG. Any amount will help us towards our target of £5,000.

Also listen to Ben Prater on BBC Radio Bristol drive time at around 6pm each evening as he will be phoning the lads for a progress update.

£2,342 target reached and £2,658 go!

Following a postponement in July of the Thames Kayak Challenge for logistical reasons we are now set for it to start on 25th August and finish in London on 28th August the day before our first home game! So watch out for Tiny George and the players from the Bristol Combination on match day!! To put this effort into perspective they will have to kayak:

– 54 miles per day

– 12 hours per day at 4.5 mph

– Whilst carrying their 40kg kayak around 53 locks en route!

Well done to George and the Combination players for their forthcoming efforts!

We are delighted to announce that the main sponsors of the Thames Kayak Challenge 2010 are management consultants, Adventus Limited and designers and manufacturers of canvas products, Kingswood Canvas as well as Taylor Brothers Printers and Bespo’ke Male Grooming. Please take a look at the sponsors page for more details. We would like to thank both organisations for their support.

BRIS Trust becomes Partner Sponsor of Academy and EPDG!

The BRIS Trust is delighted to confirm that we will be a partner sponsor of the Academy and EPDG. We met with the Academy coaches last week and agreed that we will aim for a minimum fund raising target for next season of £5,000. This will be used to purchase a full set of playing kit for the EPDG squad, judo lessons for all Academy players and funding a Development Coach and Scout for the Bristol area. We see this as a great opportunity to cement a strengthening relationship between the Club and the Trust and look forward to being a part of Bristol Rugby’s future. Obviously the more we raise, the more we can help the Academy and EPDG.

Email addresses

Recently we have had to notify you of changes to meeting details at short notice. It would be helpful if we could do this via email to speed up communication and reduce costs. Therefore, we request that you share your email address with us by writing it on the membership renewal form or emailing it to us. Thanks in advance.

Hilts signs for the Trust as a Co-optee!

We would like to welcome Dave Hilton as a co-opted Trustee to the Trust and we look forward to the insights that Dave will provide with respect to investment in young player development and links with Combination clubs. Welcome Dave.