Coronavirus - update from Devon RFU
Understandably in the current situation everyone’s focus is on the wellbeing of themselves and their family and friends. The implications of the restrictions placed on non-essential activity will emerge steadily over the coming weeks.
On Wednesday (25/3) the Devon RFU Management Committee had a virtual meeting to assess how we can best advice and support our member clubs through any difficulties they might encounter as a result of the game being closed down until further notice. Set out below are some of the agencies that might assist you in securing the financial stability of your club.
The UK government has announced a number of measures to help small businesses, employers and employees. These have included frequent revisions and additions so it is important to monitor any statements carefully. A further announcement in respect of self-employed people is expected today (26/3). The most recent advice posted on gov.uk site can be accessed at https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/ .
On Wednesday evening (25/3) the RFU released a statement with details of a support scheme for member clubs. Some of the detail has yet to be confirmed but the overall package can be seen on the RFU and Devon RFU websites.
This includes a final payment to Devon RFU for season 2019/20 and, where activities from the Local Rugby Plan have not been possible, it will mean that we have some reserve funds to provide additional emergency support where other sources cannot.
All clubs are unique so some of the measures that are suggested will not be relevant to all. However, all clubs have members and their support in many ways will be invaluable in dealing with the problems that will inevitably arise.
With committee meetings probably conducted on a virtual basis, it may take some time to establish a complete picture of where your club stands. In general terms, common sense tells us that we need to reduce expenditure as income dries up. In the position we find ourselves in, there is a lot of good will so it is vital to contact business and commercial partners at an early stage to manage existing commitments.
Telephone, power and waste removal companies, local authorities and any of your own employees, caterers etc. will appreciate you having an ongoing dialogue with them as circumstances demand.
The rugby family will undoubtedly set an example of how to confront and solve problems as it has done before. Let us ensure that we keep in contact with our players and volunteers to support them through this crisis so that they are fit and ready to return when conditions allow.
Devon RFU will continue to do all it can to help clubs and will be regularly reviewing what will surely be an ever-changing situation. Stay well and keep talking to each other.
Geoff Simpson, Chair, Devon RFU