I am writing to provide an update on various matters concerning the rugby club.
As you are aware, the club is currently closed and will be for the foreseeable future and the RFU has announced that there will be no more rugby played this season. We are going to take this opportunity to carry out remedial work on the pitch in preparation for next season. Completing this work earlier than usual will allow us to take advantage of the pitch being available to use during August (if normality has returned by then). From an income generation perspective, being able to use the pitch will be invaluable.
This week, the Board has applied for a government grant that has been made available for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. The grant application is processed by Sefton Council and this may take some time given the high levels of demands for such funding. Alongside this, we are exploring funding that has been made available by the RFU to support community rugby clubs during the closure period. If we meet the criteria, we will certainly pursue an application for RFU funding. Further support has been made available to businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We are hopeful that we can utilise this government funding stream to furlough all of the club’s employees, meaning they will continue to be paid 80% of their wages during the closure and are guaranteed employment when normal business resumes. Providing these safeguards to the club’s employees is a very important element of our response to the current crisis. This situation will of course end and the staff are key to getting us back to normal, playing rugby and sharing each other’s company over a pint.
To further reduce costs, we have negotiated with several of the rugby club’s suppliers (for example, the cleaning contractor) to ensure more favourable terms whilst the club facilities are dormant. We will continue to advise on the financial health of the Club as we assess the impact of the changes.
I am very grateful to the members who have joined the 200 Club since my last plug. As a result of new members, the club will generate an additional £840 but we still only have 88 members. If you are able to do so, please join the 200 Club to help bring in much needed funds. The additional income is needed to help us not just through the closure period but, given the longer term uncertainty that the Coronavirus will create, when reopen and throughout next season. If you are able to join, please visit the club website by clicking here.
Whilst affairs on the field have become secondary in recent weeks, I would also like to bring you up to date with men’s and women’s rugby. Using a formula determined by the RFU, all leagues below the Premiership have now been settled. The men’s First XV has finished in fourth place. The final league standings are attached. While it will be frustrating to some to come so close to promotion, it is an achievement to the credit of all who have played, coached and supported the team, and represents considerable steps forward from the previous season. I am sure that the coaches and players will have their sights set on promotion in 2020-21 and as a Club we will look to support them.
The women’s section has recently reapplied for a place in the Tyrells Premiership for the next three seasons, delivering its pitch to the RFU a fortnight ago. I am very grateful to Christine Braithwaite who has led on this process which has proved to be very competitive. The outcome is due to be announced early next week.
Finally, I would like to offer you all my best wishes and urge you please to get in touch if there is any way we can help during this unprecedented and very challenging time.