Firstly, we hope you are all well and dealing with this strange situation we all find ourselves in.
You will all be aware that we had to cancel our Sevens tournament and that the Penicuik on Parade day has been similarly affected. Both of these events are normally significant days for bar takings and club income. Given this and the fact that we are unlikely to be able to get together for our usual AGM anytime soon, we wanted to provide a brief update on club finances.
Over the last few years, we have been working to make sure that the club’s finances are healthy. This started by us arranging to pay off our existing debts and working hard to increase turnover at social functions. At the same time, we have also taken a good look at expenditure and how best to manage the costs involved in running the club. We changed supplier for our draft beers and spirits and this has resulted in a significant increase in the margin we make from bar sales which had previously been in a steady decline over the last few years. We also renegotiated contracts for our Gas, Electricity and Water and have invested in better control systems so that we can reduce our consumption. All of this plus an increased number of social activities and use of the club and some excellent and effective fund-raising events has meant that we have managed to make the club sustainable. As part of a long-term ambition to fund some major refurbishments, we have built our cash reserves steadily over the last few years whilst still spending on playing kit and replacing any items and building facilities which had reached the end of their useful lives, for example the shower boiler and pumps and the cooling equipment in the cellar.
In short, we believe that the club finances are in a good state and we have sufficient reserves to withstand a period where there is little or no income being generated by the bar and where SRU funding to clubs may be reduced or absent. There are no immediate concerns that the club will become insolvent. However, as we’ve said, the cash reserves we built were also earmarked for other investments under consideration. These would involve both hugely improving the clubhouse and its facilities and also enabling and encouraging even more people to enjoy the sport of rugby and the great social benefits that go along with it. Whilst we will probably press on with some of the smaller projects, it is the larger-scale future plans that will now likely be delayed for some considerable time after we return to ‘normality’ – whatever that may be.
Obviously, a major source of income for the club is membership dues, so it will be enormously helpful if they can be paid reasonably promptly when the time comes later in the summer. We recognise that many of our members will have been impacted by the current crisis so we’ll be looking for ways to make it easier for everyone to continue their membership this season despite any financial hardship which they may be experiencing. After all, it is the members that make the club, not physical things like buildings, pitches or strips.
Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the support that we have received from our club sponsors over the past years. Whilst we are in a position to weather the storm, our sponsors may now be facing more existential worries. Many of them are small, family-run businesses in our local area. We owe them a lot for their past generosity so we’d also encourage you to support them wherever you can now and after we have emerged from the crisis. We’ll be highlighting them on our social media. Please take note and use their services if you have need and if you can.
We hope you all manage to stay safe until we can meet in person. In the meantime, if you have any concerns about club finances or any other aspect of the running of the club, please contact me (Andrew Mitchell) at firstname.lastname@example.org or any other member of the club committee and we will hopefully allay your fears.