Hello again and thank you for taking the time to read my 14th weekly update on behalf of the AFC R&D Board since the Covid-19 lockdown started. Over the weeks I have had to share with you some difficult issues which we’ve been working through however, this week I am pleased to be able to talk about several pieces of positive news.
As I mentioned last week, the Club had applied to East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) for a Discretionary Grant to cover the adverse financial impacts of Covid-19. We were advised on Wednesday evening that the application had been successful and that AFC Rushden & Diamonds has been awarded a grant of £10,000 by ENC. On behalf of the AFC R&D Board, Members, supporters, players, and everyone connected with the Club, I would like to thank ENC for their generous support and the speed in which they evaluated and responded to our application. It is worth remembering the ENC team will no-doubt have been extremely busy over recent weeks, so to be able to inform us within a few days is very welcome. The grant will make our plans for the new season and for delivering against the Club’s community-centric objectives more achievable. Steven North, ENC Leader said: “As a Council, we have a responsibility to help those businesses in need across the district and everyone at ENC is working hard to ensure that businesses get the advice and financial support they need especially at this difficult time.”
As we continue to make plans for the new season, I am delighted to be able to say that this week we have launched an exciting football scholarship collaboration with Moulton College. Beginning in September, the partnership will provide AFC Rushden & Diamonds Under 19 Scholars with a full-time educational package within Moulton College’s world-class sports facilities at their Pitsford Campus. Students will be supported by UEFA A and B Licensed coaches both at the College, and through links to professional services available through the club. Extensive coaching and playing opportunities will be made available to scholars across the Club’s professional development phase, with the partnership providing the pathway into semi-professional football via specialist coaching at U18 and U21 level.
In preparation to ensure everyone’s safety when football can return to Hayden Road, the Club Shop will be open today between 12.00 and 16.00 so that operational plans reflecting Government advice can be trialled. As with other retail outlets, visiting the shop will be different to what you will have been used to previously. If you plan to come down, please pay attention to the new measures which are in place. Some key points are:
- Please follow the advice given about social distancing and cleanliness
- Please pay by contactless if at all possible
- Please note that there will be no provision of bags or paper receipts.
A big thank you to Matt Parker for making this trial possible and to all those who have worked with him to put appropriate measures in-place.
Sales of the new, unique Home and Away custom shirts are progressing very well. Remember, you only have just over a week left to make sure you get your name in the shirts for the 2020-2022 seasons. The shirts also make a great Father’s Day present and you can pre-order using the following here; OR, pop down to Hayden Road today to make your purchase. We have several options available for Adults and Juniors including:
- Adult Shirt plus Name: £100.
- Adult Shirt Gift Package, ideal for Father’s Day: £120.
- Framed Shirt: £300.
- Name in the Shirt only: £50.
If you are thinking about purchasing a Season Ticket, now is an excellent time to buy one. Not only do you benefit from the discounted prices currently on offer, you will have a better chance of securing access to the ground if the authorities require us to reduce Hayden Road’s capacity as the lockdown eases. The discounted season tickets are:
- Adults for only £173 compared with £199.
- Concession for only £125 compared with £145.
Finally, as the lockdown restrictions are now changing please make sure you keep up to date with all the necessary current advice. 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.