Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my latest update on behalf of the AFC R&D Board. Last week I was able to share with you the good news that we have received a £10,000 grant from Sport England. While this is an excellent input to our attempts to resolve the financial impacts of COVID-19, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain that despite the grant the Club still has a significant financial hole to fill and still needs your support.
As you know, as a direct result of COVID-19, all football was suspended from March 14th. This has meant that AFC Rushden & Diamonds has lost an estimated £25,000 in income from the final 7 home games of the football season. In addition, as a result of COVID -19 we lost our main club sponsor, AutoWindscreens, losing a further £18,000 in direct revenue. Including lost revenue from hospitality and other commercial activity which would have brought in further income, this brings our total loss of income to over £45,000.
While our revenue has fallen substantially our fixed costs have remained constant. These include rent and seasonal pitch hire, utility costs, insurance, audit fees, storage and equipment.
We have followed government advice, utilising the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to reduce our employee costs and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme in order to ensure that we have access to enough capital to deal with any further contingencies over the summer period. However, the Club recorded a significant operational loss in the last season which the recent grant award has only covered in part.
Of course, through the fantastic support from our Members, supporters, sponsors and other organisations, buying Membership, season tickets, merchandise and making donations we have made real progress in improving the Club’s financial position. Combined with the Sport England grant we have been able to mitigate some of the impacts of the £45,000 hole and plan for 2020- 2021 financial year.
In doing so, we have put in place several revenue earning initiatives which are important to make sure we have a strong budget throughout the season. I would urge you to continue to support these initiatives to ensure we have the revenue to have a good season. These include:
- The Team Building Lottery, supporting the playing budget with monthly and quarterly winners (see below and here for this month’s winners).
- Club2020, giving you the chance to help the Club and receive excellent benefits in return.
- Commercial and Sponsorship opportunities for organisations and individuals to support the Club across the season or on individual matchdays. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact John Gregory at email@example.com
Although we have not been able to access any of the £25,000 Small Business Grant allocated to Hayden Road, we have found East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) to be very helpful in our discussions over recent weeks. They understand our situation where, like others, we share facilities but are not the business rate payer yet have been adversely impacted by COVID -19 with reduced revenue and relatively high fixed costs. This week we received details from ENC about the new Discretionary Grant Scheme and submitted a formal application on Thursday setting out a strong case for a grant. Once we have any feedback, I will let you know.
Congratulations to Ryan Carter who won £577 in May’s Lottery draw and also to our 1st Quarterly prize winner, Kirsten Keay who won £1472. The winner of the Cineworld Ticket vouchers is Peter Medcalf. If you haven’t yet signed up to the Lottery, all the details you need are here – https://www.afcdiamonds.com/diamonds-team-building-lottery
Some reminders for your diary:
- The election process for new Board Members is now underway. Nominations for the 2 seats available close on Friday June 12th. All the details are here – https://www.afcdiamonds.com/notice-and-rules-of-election-to-the-club-board-2020
- Early Bird Season tickets are still available at a reduced price of £173 for Adults and £125 for Concessions, compared to the normal prices of £199 and £145 respectively. Full details are here
- Sam Brown will be answering your questions on our Twitter account on Sunday afternoon from 2pm in the latest of our ‘Ask the Player’ series. If you’d like to join in with any of our social media activities, here’s a list of where you can find us:
Finally, please keep up to date with all the necessary advice as some restrictions are lifted. The best place to follow the guidelines issued by the Government and Public Health England are updated daily and can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.