Dear Club Member.
This poster heading from the Great War may seem a bit historical and many of you may not have seen it before. However, my appeal is no less necessary in these troubling times.
I have been a member of Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club for many years. Firstly as a Junior or Age Grade as it is now known, then through the Senior teams and now as Chairman. You too have all supported our Club over the years, the teams and the various functions within it and have made many friends along the way. It has become an extension of all of our families and now it needs your help.
Families look after one another and I hope that you and your immediate family are well and surviving this crisis without too much stress. We live in hope that things will improve soon.
As a Committee we are working hard to ensure that, when that change does come, Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club will be ready to welcome you again. There are two things that will help us to get there; time and money.
Can you help with either or both?
As you know all our staff are on furlough. The 1001 jobs that they have done daily or had planned for the summer are also on furlough.
Sadly, we’ve already had damage done to fences, hockey & rugby goal posts, grandstand seating etc. These all require fixing before the new season starts. We have a loyal band of volunteers that do great work during the year but the scale of what needs to be done when this crisis is over is more than they can handle.
I want to ask you to help with these challenges. We don’t yet know when the lock-down will be lifted, so the start date is uncertain. However, if you think you will be able to help please let me or any member of the Committee know (contact details are on the website). We can then plan a recovery programme and get back to you.
Money is our immediate challenge with income streams drying up as matches and functions have been cancelled until further notice. Many weddings in the summer months have been cancelled or postponed. Our tenants also have problems, one contract has been cancelled, seven others have been frozen and at least two more are uncertain. Our rental income has been reduced by over a third.
This means that despite the actions listed below and costs already incurred, we will be in the region of £23,500 in debt by the end of April. This is forecast to grow by around £8,000 per month, possibly until the new season. So far we have:
• Stopped all buying unless contractual obligations apply or they are absolutely necessary – rented equipment, utilities, insurance and security are the main areas.
• Put all our staff on furlough which pays 80% of their wages.
• Negotiated an increase in our overdraft to ease our immediate cash flow issues. However, this is a short term facility and will need to be repaid.
• Applied for grants and loans from the RFU, Sport England, Huddersfield Common Good Trust and the Leonard Cowburn Trust. However, it is too soon to say what the outcome will be.
• Postponed payments of VAT until 2021 and taken a rates holiday.
• Negotiated longer repayment terms – as most suppliers are in a similar position to us this option has had limited success.
Unfortunately we don’t qualify for most of the Government aid schemes:
• Cash grant of £25,000 – our rateable value is above the maximum level permitted.
• Interest free loan scheme – because we own property.
• £10,000 rent grant – as we own property and don’t pay rent.
We recognised that the payment of our debts will be next year’s financial problem as well as this year. Budgets are being set and we will “cut our cloth” accordingly. The Budget will be set quarterly as the situation is still very fluid. Let me assure you that all but essential costs have been cut to ensure our Clubs survival.
Our financial situation is extremely challenging. I realise that in the current circumstances for many, supporting the Club financially is not an option. For others it may be more possible.
I am making this appeal therefore, if you can help your sporting family with a donation of time or money or both.
Please give as generously as you can.
Donation payments to the Club can be made through the following:
Bank transfer to:
Account Name: HRUFC Ltd
Account number: 34240839
Sort Code: 40-25-10
By cheque payable to: HRUFC Ltd
Please use reference: COVID-19 on your transactions
Until we meet again, please keep safe everyone.
Mark H Birch
Chairman – Huddersfield RUFC