As everyone will have read, the Rugby Season for nearly all levels of Rugby Union is over for the 2019/20 Season with Covid 19 causing significant changes to all our daily lives and seriously hitting all sport in the country.
As we all self isolate in different ways, the country is united on tackling the virus and trying to eventually get back to some form of normality in our lives although it is hard not to believe that the long term effects will provide changes for all of us, many for the better.
We know that for many, the financial burden is very difficult and worrying with widespread ramifications. We wanted at this time to write to you about the actions being taken at the club to protect our ability to continue next season.
With the cancellation of the season now upon us, plus the fact that our clubhouse and grounds cannot be used for any events, the loss of revenue is significant and whilst we have looked at our cost structure for the remainder of our financial year, we are also acutely aware that our staff, both for Club and Professional, need to be looked after and treated fairly wherever possible and fortunately the government's grants schemes have been very helpful to this end.
In more detail, we have contacted our suppliers and creditors to negotiate any deferral of payments wherever possible, although these do not go away and will have to be paid in due course.
We have taken advantage of the government's Furlough scheme going forward to nearly all PAYE staff who will be paid 80% of their salary from the end of April and in addition, we have paid all staff, players and coaches for their work up to the end of March.
The GoFundMe scheme has been supported tremendously by our membership and our appreciation of the nearly £18,000 raised is immense, thank you to everyone who contributed and this coupled with several other very generous donations will bring us to a figure nearing £25,000. In addition we are applying for a small business grant which we believe to be available. We must give Jamie Robinson and his team a huge vote of thanks for these actions.
The press have been full of the financial crisis in sport resulting from loss of income, and in particular Rugby at the top four levels, undoubtedly many clubs are going to suffer particularly those that already have deficits even before the Covid 19 struck. However, in large part because of our previous financial management, we are very confident that we at Esher will come through this very difficult time ready and able to start next season, whenever that will be ! It will undoubtedly be a difficult spring and summer but with everyone's support we will be there ready for the kick off.
Once again, our thanks to everyone involved in the fund raising and to all our members and supporters and sponsors, please help where you can and finally please stay healthy and safe through these difficult times.
Ross Howard and Bob StrattonEsher Rugby President and Chairman