Guildford Rugby Football Club
Guildford Rugby Football Club

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Chairman’s Letter – 30th July 2020

Dear Fellow Members

I hope you are all staying safe and doing well.

Hopefully things are getting better for all of you and your families.  

My thoughts and prayers are with all.

As for the Club, there has been a ton of effort this summer on many areas from not only Rugby, but also the grounds and facility, getting the Club ready for opening, trying to fundraise and build sponsorships to help with the financial position, and continued growth in communication to all.

There are many to thank, but I would especially like to point out and thank Jason, Duncan and Skippy for all their hard work and effort they have put in.  Most people don’t realize the effort that goes on behind the scene, especially with the Club being closed in lockdown and people not around to see what is going on.  The effort and time given has been outstanding and well needed at such a time. My thanks also to Liz our book keeper who has helped us navigate through the furlough scheme, cash flow forecasts and various grant applications and also to Adrian who is now partially furloughed to ensure the club house and grounds are secure and in the best shape possible for the restart whenever that happens. I know many members were concerned re our pitch maintenance plans and am pleased to report that through a Sport England Grant and several generous club member donations we have protected the usual off season programme of works to maintain one of our prized assets.

As for Rugby.

Pre-season has been going for a month, with the players and coaches embracing the distancing rules and working to staggered schedules in fixed pods of six. We’re taking temperatures on arrival and the necessary precautions with equipment and training drills. From this season, the Gazelles and the third team have aligned their training with the men on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As such, on training nights the North Field looks pretty full. As the coaches have to concentrate on fitness as opposed to team drills, everyone is looking in shape – for many, this will be the first extended break that they have had from the physical side of the game for many years. 

We’re all waiting to hear when we can start to ramp up the training to full contact, which will indicate the likely start of the season. At the moment, everything is speculation and there seems little point in adding to this. What is clear is that when we are allowed to start we’ll be ready. 

The Senior Management Committee continues to meet monthly and is now focusing on building through pre-season for the year ahead, which includes membership, new equipment, kit and various stash requirements. The Committee consists of representatives from the full time senior teams, together with some standing invites for club officials. These are;

Matt Poole, Ollie Millward, Chris Beer

Danny Windle, Tom Roaf, Matt Rowlandson

Ollie Bancroft, Spencer Hudson, 

Stuart Finlay, Aiden Turns, Darren O’Reilly

Becki Simmons, Sarah Sanderson, Ross Brooker

Topper Warrington (First Team Manager)

Peter Rankin (Membership Sec)

Ellie Finey (Social Media)

I’m also pleased to report that the changing room refurbishment, paid for buy a new sponsor, is well underway. Topper is coordinating working parties on Saturday mornings to great effect. 

I am happy to announce that we have established a new committee called the Sage Committee and the Members of the Committee are Peter Cobbett, Rocky Allen, Karen Seymour and Rob Mitchell.  

As you know, continued growth in communication has been a key goal of ours.   We have opened those avenues to many areas over the last few years by adding committees and trying to give a voice to all areas of Rugby and the Club while at the same time, getting more people involved with the Club.  

This committee was specifically designed to open a line of dialogue and communication with the specific areas that these members come from.  These are members that don’t play Rugby today.  Some are parents of players and many are former players and stalwarts of the Club.  The goal is to get these areas more involved with helping the Club move forward and continue to always try and improve, while at the same time opening up a communication avenue and giving a voice.

I look forward to getting them involved.

As you all know, this crisis has been tough on the financial position of the Club. 

Through hard work of many, we were able to drastically lower the costs of the Club quickly, while at the same time working hard on fundraising and grants that helped secure we got through the Summer and into next season.

However, what we have to realize is that the crisis also took out all of our profits from the Facility from events and banquets that support all of our rugby throughout the year.  Additionally, functions for the rest of the year have mostly been cancelled.  So even if things started to open up and bookings started to come in for events, those events would be booked for next year and the cashflow wouldn’t hit the Club until they took place.

So, in all likelihood, we will have a significant financial hole when Rugby starts to play and we need to do everything possible to continue to have fundraisers, look for any forms of funds we can, and look to build sponsorships. 

On the sponsorship note, I am happy to say we have made progress with new sponsors.  Also, through an RFU grant and donations, we will be installing very soon a Duralock fence on the far side of the First Pitch that will allow us to have our sponsors have a much better presence for their Banner or advertisement.

We have reached out to many in the Club to help with the efforts to bring in sponsors and we have received a great effort bringing in new leads and sponsors. 

If anyone would like to sponsor, help with the effort, or knows anyone who would be interested in sponsoring the Club, please reach out to me personally and I would be happy to discuss.

I would also like to add that the easiest and biggest way every member can help is to simply pay your membership fees as we put membership live.  That will certainly help with cashflow with Rugby opening up and put simply the greater inflow of membership income now the better as this will enable us to better understand our budgets and the ability to further openthe facilities as lockdown eases.   

It is now possible to go on to GMS and pay for membership for the season and we are grateful for those who can do so.

Lastly, as I have said, we have continued to open and grow communication with all.  Every area of Rugby has a committee and voice, and now with the new committee, that voice opens to additional member areas that don’t play Rugby today.  You also receive updates from Skippy, our Director of Rugby, and also myself and others.

If you have any questions or concerns, please always feel free to reach out to any of these venues, and also myself, at any time.

I hope you and your families stay safe.

All the best

Joe

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