Truro RFC Communication Newsletter September 30th 2020
Introduction – Truro RFC Update – General
It has been a couple of months since the last communication newsletter to our membership via GMS, although there has been plenty of communication through other channels, such as our AGM which was held in the middle of September. More about that later.
Also, many will have seen that it has now been confirmed that the return to full competition for the community game will not take place in 2020, and that the earliest possible return now will be January 2021. In the same regard, the expected return of limited crowds to professional sport has also currently been suspended. Whilst both of these pieces of news are obviously disappointing, and will also bring challenges to the survival of some clubs, the underlying reasons for both of these decisions are ones of health and safety and therefore need to be 100% adhered to.
1 of 3 – Truro RFC Update – Social / Welfare
As always with these communications during difficult times, I lead off on a point of social welfare and wellbeing. As cases have been on the rise throughout the country, and also as there have been cases reported in many local educational establishments, the most important thing on our agenda is our members and their families and friends. We hope that all are remaining safe and well and remember that if anybody in the TRFC “family” should require anything then the main contact channel should be through our safeguarding officer – TimBrocklebank@gmail.com
The clubhouse has now been partially opened under limited hours, with those hours based around the highest rugby-based footfall through the club. Those hours are currently 6:30pm-10pm on a Thursday evening and 9:30am-1pm on a Sunday, with some potential Saturday opening depending on whether there is any modified rugby activity taking place. For example, it is planned to open the clubhouse this coming Saturday, (3rd October) from 1:30pm-7pm*.
However, please remember that all of the rules and regulations regarding hospitality venues need to be adhered to at all times to avoid potential sanctions against you as individuals and us as a club.
Those rules have been communicated extensively across every media platform, but as a reminder of the main ones – masks (or face coverings) to be worn on entry and exit and any movement around the building, table service only, discrete groups of a maximum of 6 people, etc. We are operating a manual track and trace system where we will keep data for the required period of 21 days, and we are also displaying our QR code for use with the NHS tracking app.
We know that this is very different to the normal experience of having a social beer in a rugby clubhouse, but they are necessary under current regulations. We hope that members will still support the club during those limited opening hours, otherwise we may have to review our current plans to make the most effective economic decisions in difficult trading conditions.
2 of 3 – Truro RFC Update – Rugby
Most of you will probably be aware that the RFU has published a roadmap for the return to the community rugby game. That roadmap sets out a series of stages, from A through to F, where various conditions need to be satisfied to allow each stage of the roadmap to be opened up, culminating in stage F which is the return to match play at the community level.
We now know that stage F will not be happening until January 2021 at the earliest, and the community game is currently on stage D. This allows for a modified game called Ready4Rugby to be played, which means clubs can host 10-a-side matches, either within the club itself or reach out for matches against other clubs. Although this would appear to breach the “rule of six”, as a regulated outdoor team sport activity, this is still allowed under government guidelines and RFU regulations.
Whilst this is not the rugby that we have all grown up to love (to watch or to play), this still allows an important outlet for people to engage in physical / fitness activities whilst still being engaged with their rugby club.
As such, both our senior and colts sides will be looking to engage with other clubs to play some fixtures under these modified rules. As a pre-cursor, those seniors and colts squads will be divided into appropriate sized squads for a round-robin tournament at the club this coming Saturday (3rd October)*, which is also why we are looking to open the clubhouse that afternoon. Please come along to support this occasion, watch some “rugby” and have a socially responsible beer or two.
The RFU and CRFU are also positively encouraging all other youth age groups to engage in fixtures with other member clubs, which is why you will see a hive of activity at the club on a Sunday morning spilling into early afternoon. Training only at the moment, but we could be seeing those youth teams taking on fixtures in the coming weeks.
Our ladies, girls and touch teams are also very active with playing membership looking very strong in all of these areas.
Back to the senior team and we now know that the 2020/21 rugby season is going to be very different to others in the past. The RFU had prepared for many different scenarios as to how the season may look, and we now obviously know that we are in for a second consecutive truncated season. The RFU will continue to monitor and update the member clubs accordingly.
The RFU is also currently consulting on another potential restructure / reshuffle of the leagues for 2021/22, aiming to introduce smaller more regionalised leagues to reduce cost burdens, both for the cash-strapped RFU and for the good of their member clubs. Again, the RFU will continue their work in this area and update those member clubs of any changes and how it may impact on them.
Away from this season’s activities and the bureaucratic issues facing the RFU, the 2019/20 TRFC season was formally put to a close by presentation of the season’s awards to those who caught the eye over the year. The award winners were:
Most improved player – Matt Pooley
Captain’s player (GOAT of the year) – Daryl Riches
Coaches’ player – Luke Tidball
Players’ player – Tom Spiers
Clubmen of the year – Graham Trescothick / Phil Sleeman
President’s shield – Darren Symons
Plus of course there was the presentation of the plaque for winning the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, that plaque received by Ross Denning on behalf of the entire squad.
Congratulations to all of them for their individual rewards, but also congratulations to the entire squad for what was an excellent bounce back season.
3 of 3 – Truro RFC Update – Governance / Finance / Business
The club’s AGM has now been formally conducted, and the formalities completed regarding proposal, seconding and adoption of the club’s accounts, the constitution of the Managing Board and Management Committee, etc.
The accounts, as presented, show the club to be in a decent financial position with regards the year’s performance and its balance sheet position (cash / working capital / reserves) at the financial year end, 30th April 2020. However, we should not forget that the club benefited from CV-assistance by way of the small business grant that was made available at the beginning of lockdown. That was a one-off which, although gratefully received, will not be repeated.
As the months have passed, ongoing governmental assistance through the furlough (CJRS) scheme has also reduced, placing a burden on businesses to cover more of the employment costs themselves, despite very limited income streams.
Also, as we have returned to some limited other commercial use of the club, which is a mixed use site with many activities throughout the week, we have an increased requirement in many areas to adhere to far stricter regimes regarding hygiene & other social distancing controls and measures. Those regimes have meant cost increases of many thousands of pounds and led us to the unfortunate but inevitable increase to our membership fees. We have limited those increases to approximately 10%, which will recover around 1/3rd of the increased cost, and we hope to recover another 1/3rd by increasing other rates for commercial rentals. The final 3rd will be managed by internal cost savings and efficiencies.
Despite the financial pressures on clubs such as ours, TRFC has not stood still and has continued to invest in the fabric of the club. Throughout the summer months, a major project was undertaken, under the leadership of Luke Trescothick, to improve the drainage and playing surface of the 2nd pitch for this season. Initial signs are very positive and we hope to be able to return that pitch to full action very soon.
We are also currently in the early stages of looking at clubhouse developments that would fundamentally change the members’ and visitors’ experience in the future. This is a multi-faceted improvement that is being planned, which we would then look to implement over time using a modular approach. More to be communicated on that when we have more news.
One of the rights of members and sponsors alike would normally have been the entitlement to apply for Autumn and Six Nations Internationals at Twickenham. As we now know that any pilot spectator plans have now been put on hold, and that any plans for the return of partial or full crowds to grounds have also been suspended, it would seem highly unlikely that TRFC will see any international tickets for the 2020/21 season. Things may change of course and, if they do, then we will keep the membership updated accordingly.
We appreciate that it is a difficult time for many people, as it is for many small business and (in particular) sports/leisure clubs and the hospitality industry.
However, we have to believe that the world will come through this CV-crisis, and therefore have continued to invest in TRFC to get it through to the other side. We continue to make decisions and take actions that are designed for the long term and not just the CV-focussed short term, with those decisions and actions for the good of the club as a whole and all of its stakeholders.
We hope that our membership and sponsors appreciate this longer term view, buy into the “vision”, and will continue to invest in us, as we have continued to invest in them, even if this 2020/21 season is going to look very different to a normal season.
The Management Committee has been expanded through proposal and nomination at the AGM, and there are moves to expand the Managing Board too. I will not mention all names now, but maybe I will ask them all to include a very brief resumé in our next communication. I welcome all those into their new positions of responsibility within the club, whilst also thanking all those who are remaining part of the group of volunteers helping to run the rugby club.
Finally, for those who have been part of our “100 club”, we are proposing to conduct a “mega-draw” in the next few weeks to make up for some lost time. TRFC thanks you for your continued membership of, and monthly contributions to, this “100 club”, so good luck to those whose numbers will be going into the barrel.
Truro RFC continues to try and operate as your amateur club run in a professional manner, so in the meantime, if there are any queries, please contact the club through the contact details on its website and we will endeavour to answer them ASAP.
Carl Price, Truro RFC Chairman / Truro RFC Board of Directors