Dear Frome RFC Member,
Chairman’s Message to Members – The Covid-19 Crisis and Frome RFC
I extend my best wishes to all of you, my fellow Frome RFC members, your families and friends. This is a very difficult time. It is a period in our lives that, in just 4 weeks, has erupted from nowhere but has impacted us all, well beyond any anticipation. We are all dealing with the challenges that this situation has brought, keeping our immediate loved ones safe and well, and many of us have been handed a financial challenge that, being so hard to overcome, leads to uncertainty and magnifies our stress. But as has been said by many people, we will get through this, it will pass. What I would like to do now is explain how the management of Frome RFC, in its widest sense, is rising to the challenges that the national response to Covid-19 has presented to it.
Overall, our consistent response, from the outset, has been completely in-line with the government advice. Dave Winduss, our Treasurer, has written to our local MP highlighting our important and extensive position in the community and the value of the club to Frome in general.
The high level of uncertainty and lack of clarity, that always accompanies such dramatic changes of fortune, make if difficult, even now, for us to plan anything in fine detail or even in broader detail with complete confidence. Nevertheless I want to let you all know, first that despite everything, I and all involved in the running and management of our club are thinking constantly about how to navigate our way through this crisis, and second that the club is still being managed and cared for to the very best of our abilities.
The General and Finance Committees have been working on several initiatives and I will now summarise these for you.
The club will remain closed until we are advised it can reopen.
Before the complete shutdown of the public venues, we managed to treat many of our members to a delivery service where we were able to enjoy a beer in the comfort of our own home and help generate income which will prove vital. It was tremendous that members pulled together so quickly, and I thank the individuals who gave unstinting help so quickly to make it happen. We reduced our stock levels significantly and as a result we are now in a much better position with little stock being held. I understand that the barrel stock we have remaining will be uplifted by the brewery soon and this will further reduce our stock liabilities.
All non-essential systems in the club have been shut down.
We have placed the regular employees of the club on furlough, in-line with government advice, and we have arranged for our payments to our digital TV providers to be reduced or suspended.
You will have heard about grants being created for establishments that have been shut down over the last few weeks. We have made all the enquiries that we can, and we are now waiting for the appropriate local authorities to respond with the information regarding eligibility and procedures for making claims and applications.
The grants are based on our rateable value and we believe, with reasonable confidence, that we qualify for the higher grant of £25,000. We are waiting for this is to be confirmed. The importance of the grant cannot be underestimated. Receiving this grant would enable the club to remain viable until the start of the 20-21 season assuming this happens at the usual time.
Following the directive from the RFU the Frome 7’s will not be taking place in 2020. All sides will be informed and offered the opportunity to transfer their payment and booking to next year’s event.
Senior League Positions
The community game league tables were published by the RFU at 1800 yesterday (Friday 3 April). The First XV were deemed to have finished in second place in their league and have been promoted. This is a tremendous news. It is a very fitting reward for the hard work put in by the team and all their support team. I am sure you will all join with me in passing heartfelt congratulations to all those involved throughout the year.
We are planning for our 2020 – 2021 season as normal. Naturally we will be financially focussed, whilst still providing all the benefits we can, and we hope that these will be most of our provision under normal circumstances. But we will have to watch every penny, every purchase, and exercise tight cash control. But we should still look forward to the season ahead.
My Personal Message to You All
I have given everyone a general overview of our club’s position. When I have further information, I will share it with you all as soon as that can be managed.
Through all this, we remain a members’ club, reliant completely on its members’ support. There will not be any increase in membership fees this year and I ask that we treat this year as any other and that we make our payments for membership in the normal way at the normal times.
Given the season ended so abruptly we haven’t had chance to award and congratulate teams and individuals. But rest assured when we start to return to normal this will be addressed in a planned and cohesive manner.
Please take time to reflect on this difficult year but then please look forward to the future with renewed enthusiasm. I hope beyond all else, that despite having been through difficult times, we are
all looking forward to continuing with our support for this fine club. Let us now work to make it greater and stronger both on the field and off it.
I thank everyone in the broadest sense at this key moment in our history. From our youngest age groups to the most senior of VPs, from all our players to our administrative and support staff, from our clubhouse staff to our committee members and finally to our sponsors, I thank you all.
Take care of yourselves, your families and friends. Stay safe! With my very best wishes
Chairman Frome RFC
Friday 3 April 2020