22/04/20 | General

COVID-19 – Bringing out the best of us!

Author: Andy Leach


Dear members and friends of Lymm Rugby Club,

In 2020, Lymm Rugby Club has reached its 60th year – and it’s fair to say that, over that period, we have endured some difficult periods when our finances have been very challenged and survival has been the “name of the game”.  On every occasion though, through the support of our members and the endeavour of our volunteers, we have pulled through and, undoubtedly, emerged stronger and better for the experience.

The current Covid-19 crisis is, almost certainly, the most challenging situation that our country has faced over those 60 years. Closer to home, it is having a direct impact on the Club, our members, their families, our community and our day-to-day lives.  We will all be feeling the effect in many ways as this serves to disrupt employment, education, our ability to socially engage with friends, support family members and generally impacts the many things in life that we had seen as ‘constants’.  However, as has been often stated over the past few weeks, it is times like this that brings the best out in us as individuals, communities and the country.  I am personally confident that this is the case and we will emerge stronger.

Balancing the books

The immediate impact on Lymm Rugby Club has been quite severe.  The quarter from the end of March to the end of June is normally when we generate a significant part of our annual revenues.  With the rugby season ending some 6 weeks early and our Summer Marquee Events being cancelled, we have missed out on a surplus of around £50,000 – money which we rely on each year to “balance our books” and make sure that we start the new season in September in a healthy position, with capacity to continue to invest in our facilities and our coaching for the benefit of our members, our players and the wider community.

Once the severity of the situation became apparent and rugby activities were suspended, we took steps to significantly reduce our cost base.  In particular, our two employees have been furloughed under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, the clubhouse has been closed down, the AGP has been closed for all activity, fixed costs have been reduced to a bare minimum and our spend on grounds maintenance over the summer, usually a period of heavy investment, has been substantially reduced.  We will also benefit from the deferral of a quarter’s VAT (c£1,000) that the Government has put in place and one quarter’s repayment of an historic loan from the RFU (c£1,500).

Overdraft of £20k

However, notwithstanding these actions, given our shortfall in income and the base level of costs which we continue to have to incur, we are forecasting that without any incremental cash inflows, we will be starting the next season in September with an overdraft of c£20,000 – which compares with our usual opening position of around £20,000 ‘cash in the bank’ – an adverse swing of c£40,000.

Whilst we have the overdraft facility in place to accommodate this, we do not believe that this is a healthy position from which to be starting a new season – especially when it must be likely that, going forward, sponsorship income will be harder to secure – as local businesses, historically strong supporters of the club, will, undoubtedly, be more financially stretched – and the return to a normal level of social and events income might take some time for us to achieve.

Action stations

Given this, we are exploring all avenues to generate additional cash inflows over the next few months. To this end we have:

(i) applied for, and received, the local authority grant of £25,000 available to businesses operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors;

(ii) applied for a grant of £3,000 from the RFU – if this is unsuccessful, we will apply for a similar level of grant from Sport England; and

(iii) launched our ‘Your Club Needs You!’ campaign.

Your Club Needs You!

Now, more than ever, we all need to help where we can and the ‘Your Club Needs You’ campaign will comprise a number of incremental initiatives as these are developed, and rolled out in the next 12 months..

The first of these, launched in early April,  was a suggestion that members ‘pre-load’ their club loyalty cards.  This effectively establishes an interest-free loan to the Club, which would be ‘repaid’ through purchases over the Club bar, including a 10% discount, over the coming season.

Whilst, in reality, from the Club’s perspective, this would be effectively bringing forward cash inflows (and hence creating an equal cash shortfall next season) this is very valuable short-term boost to our funding needs.  In the month since this initiative was launched, it has raised just over £10,000 from members, as well as generating £1,000 in donations as the profile of our situation was highlighted.

A good start but that is all it is!

To top-up your Membership Card, or indeed obtain one, and wish to make a payment directly into Lymm Rugby Club’s bank account via BACS/Cheque or cash please email  finance1lymmrugby@outlook.com and we will provide bank details to ensure your contribution is allocated to your account.

To read the full story on how you can help please follow this link: https://www.lymmrugby.co.uk/latest-news/your-club-needs-you/

500 Club Draw

The second strand of the campaign is the re-promotion of our 500 Club Draw, with the launch of a completely on-line signing-up capability – previously the process was purely paper-based.

To recap, the 500 Club Draw has a top prize of £500 and is held four times a year:

  • March
  • June
  • September
  • December

The cost is £15 per draw  and the Standing Order is set up with £15 taken in mid-February, May, August and November.

Additional cash prizes awarded in June 2020 included:

  • 1 x second prize of £200
  • 3 x third prizes of £100
  • 6 x fourth prizes of £50

50% of the money collected is retained and at present we have around 170 members contributing around £5,000 per annum to Club funds – but we would like to add significantly to this number if possible.

Join the 500 Club

To join and support the Club in this way, and have the capability to set up Standing Orders through your Online Banking, then the process is very simple:

  1. Follow this link https://www.lymmrugby.co.uk/club/500-club-draw/, and complete and submit the online form.
  2. You will then receive an email with your reference number.
  3. Then set up the Standing Order through your Online Banking, identifying it with the reference number provided.

If on the other hand you would prefer to use the historic paper-based system, then please email me at treasurerlymmrugby@gmail.com and I will provide you with the necessary forms.

We recognise that these are uncertain times for everyone and that you may well have other priorities just at the moment.  However, the extent to which you are able to support our club in any way – financial support is just one readily identifiable need at the moment – it would be greatly appreciated and gratefully received.

Stay safe.

Kind regards

Andy Leach

Treasurer, Lymm RFC


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