It’s now been a month since the RFU suspended all rugby activity and just over two weeks since the government imposed measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a club, we have not been exempt to the challenges this presents, so would like to spend a few moments outlining what we have been doing as a club and to assure everyone we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure we are in a strong position to get ourselves up and running as soon as we can, once the restrictions and measures begin to be lifted.
We are first and foremost a community club with a passion for delivering a great rugby experience to all of our members, players, spectators and casual visitors alike. Once the possibility of restrictions were announced, I convened a series of emergency committee meetings to discuss the best way forward in safeguarding not only our club but our staff too.
Our modern and spacious club facilities are the envy of many and something we can be very proud of. These facilities as I am sure you can appreciate, do come with significant costs and overheads even in its current enforced "hibernation" period.
We have worked with and will continue to work with suppliers and partners to ensure we maintain the great working relationships we enjoy whilst ensuring outgoings are kept at a level that is both workable and acceptable to all parties. These relationships will be vital to us when we can reopen.
The clubhouse has been effectively "mothballed" with everything other than essential power and utility supplies being powered down. We can also confirm all remaining food in the club was taken to a local foodbank.
Our Events Team have been liaising with customers with existing bookings providing them with the option of re-booking or cancelling their event with no penalty. This has been well received with several events being rescheduled for later in the year however, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak our annual MKRuggerfest event will unfortunately have to be postponed until June 2021.
After a period of consultation with all our staff, we took the decision to furlough the team which means they remain employees of the club, but will be temporarily stood down. We remain committed to all our staff and would like to thank all our team for their understanding and commitment to this process, they have all been magnificent as you would expect.
I remain in regular contact with other County chairs via Video Conference where we receive information, advice and guidance from County and National bodies as well as discussing best practice. I am glad to report that as a club we appear to be well ahead of the curve... County and the RFU have stated their intent to ensure that all 16 clubs in Bucks come through the current restrictions and that Rugby can return as soon as possible.
Despite the current difficulties there is still plenty to celebrate and for us all to be proud of at Milton Keynes RUFC. Our senior squad rounded off a brilliant season with 2 trophies and promotion to Level 7. A huge well done to the players and coaches in all our senior squads. You have made us all very proud, congratulations.
Our U16s concluded their "Junior” careers before moving to Colts with a league win.....well done again to all the players and coaches for a fantastic achievement.
MK Council is rectifying some of the issues regarding the clubhouse that we inherited all those years ago. Hopefully nobody will have to endure a cold shower again.
Some of the pre-planned groundworks are now completed resulting in a larger top car park to enable our plans to move our disabled parking bays which will ensure easier access to the clubhouse...The patio area will need some "beautification" and we are open to your ideas.
Two of our coaches Neil Forton and Mark Taylor have completed the RFU "Leadership Academy".... we will be looking to select two more candidates for next season.
Our regular "TRY-solation" sessions on YouTube are working fantastically well and keep us all off the sofa and fighting fit whilst keeping us connected.
Gary Spinks has rescheduled our annual fundraising cycle ride "Ring of Fire" until September, with riders covering 222 miles over 2 days with a visit to Twickenham en route, plus dare I say it the odd pub or two.
Our end of season awards will be rescheduled, possible in conjunction with the club registration event, Our Youth Chair and coaches are quite rightly keen to ensure we celebrate another great season of minis, girls and junior rugby at MKRUFC. We will communicate more once we have a better understanding of when measures and restrictions are lifted.
Our AGM will be rescheduled just as soon as we can in line with our constitutional obligations with the appropriate notice period given to our membership.
We are all disappointed we cannot continue with our plans during these difficult times, rest assured we will be throwing our doors open just as soon as it is safe to do so to ensure you can continue to enjoy your club.
We are committed to work closely with the RFU to put together a summer programme of events and to get everyone actively enjoying rugby. I would suggest a party is probably a great starting point to enable us all to reconnect with each other.
The committee is working on your behalf and in the best interests of the club, we will come through this interlude, refreshed, re-invigorated and refocussed with your support.
On behalf of the committee, staff and volunteers, thank you for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you all very soon.
With My Best Wishes,
Club Chairman- Milton Keynes RUFC