I am writing to you to bring you all up to date with the situation at the Club, and the various actions taken/to be taken as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Clubhouse and Grounds
The entire premises are closed and will not reopen until we are advised that this is safe. Certain officers of the club will attend the premises to ensure safety/security of the premises on a regular basis. All bookings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Whilst the grounds are closed we are expecting the developers of the back pitches, Chappelows to undertake some work on the fields, which is part of the contract to complete the refurbishment of the back pitches. They will only undertake this work if it is deemed safe to do so.
The RFU have mothballed all AGP facilities and as a result no activity, including maintenance will take place during this period.
The three members of staff employed through our PAYE scheme, (Rachael, Martin and Alan) have been formally placed on furlough in order that we can access the funding of 80% of salaries provided by the government. By placing them on furlough they are not allowed to undertake any work at the club during the furlough period. (this is currently 2 months and for review after that period)
As you will be aware all rugby activity has ceased and will only recommence when we are advised that it is safe to do so. The season has been ended and the RFU are advising promotions/relegations by Friday this week.
Steps have been taken to protect the Club’s financial position during the closure period and all non-essential expenditure has been halted. As mentioned above we have taken the necessary steps in order to claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and we are waiting to see if we will be eligible for a grant under the support for business scheme. However as this is linked to the amount of business rates payable and we do not pay rates due to our CASC status there is no guarantee that this will be available.
Overall the steps which have been taken will ensure that the Club is in a position to ride out the financial situation to the end of the lockdown, unlike many other clubs who are not in as strong a position.
The RFU have furloughed many of their staff and are working on a skeleton basis. They believe that the outbreak and the loss of Twickenham income will produce a £50m loss for this coming year. On this basis there will be little support available for clubs going forward although they have put a package of aid for clubs together. The most badly affected will be those clubs higher up the pyramid with their wage and running costs and the lack of any rugby related income.
The RFU have also suspended all payments to clubs under the AGP schemes.
I’ll continue to keep you updated as matters progress and in the meantime please stay safe and keep well.