This week at AFC Rushden & Diamonds, work has begun on planning for the new season as we make sure that the Club is ready to hit the ground running when football is eventually given the go-ahead once more. As you know, success for AFC R&D is about more than just first team football. The Club is a hub for the community which it serves, with over 500 local children and young people participating in sport through AFC Rushden & Diamonds on a regular basis. Without the financial support shown by Members and supporters over the last few weeks, we could have lost our Club as a hub for the community, so I want to thank everyone who has contributed once again for all of their help and support. There is still a lot of work to do as we make and implement plans for the future, and I know the many hard-working volunteers who give up their time for AFC R&D on a regular basis will continue to do everything that they can to make sure that the Club comes out of this current crisis in good health.
Over the weekend we embarked on the budget process and this has confirmed the overall funding gap of around £20,000 which I mentioned in last week’s update. As a Board, we will continue to work to minimise that gap, but it is important that anyone who can help comes forward as soon as possible. If we fail to generate the extra income, it will mean that difficult decisions may have to be made about where we direct our resources.
The Club is actively seeking new sponsors by contacting a range of local, regional and national companies. Thank you to those members and supporters who have been in touch in the past week about potential sponsors. Remember, if you know of anyone who may be able to sponsor the Club please contact John Gregory either by phone on 07788 102430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All converted leads will be rewarded with a £30 AFC R&D Voucher.
Unfortunately, we have not received any updates regarding financial support from the football authorities or from public funding. Indeed, the recent disappointing Southern League announcement that they have lost their sponsor is a major blow, and the Club has been informed that this will impact the League’s ability to help their member clubs financially. We are also awaiting a formal response from our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan application, and are not yet expecting a response from our Sport England funding application, as they take the necessary time to review all submissions.
To those of you who are able to do so I would like to take this opportunity to appeal for donations to Club. Any amount which you can spare, however small, will help immensely in plugging the funding gap in our budget for next year. Donations can be made here, via cheque in the post or via BACS transfer to: Account Number: 91508903, Sort Code: 40-39-15, Account Name: AFC Rushden & Diamonds. You can also help by renewing or taking out a Membership and buying Season Tickets, Team Building Lottery Tickets, End of Season Draw tickets and merchandise, at greatly reduced prices, via the Club Shop here.
We will continue to do everything we can do to raise awareness of how much help is needed. We are very grateful for Jon Dunham’s support with publicising the Club’s position in the Northants Telegraph. We have also kept BBC Radio Northampton informed and I have been interviewed on Talk Sport, as well as for BBC Look East, broadcast on Monday 20/04 – see here. You can also help by spreading the word on any social media platform which you use, such as Twitter or Facebook. One example of this comes from Mike Paul (@mikepaulvox), who is raising awareness about the Club’s position and money by starting a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of sponsoring our 20-21 shirt sleeve on behalf of the charity CALM.
As we all strive under the current difficult circumstances, let’s continue to work together to make sure AFC Rushden and Diamonds comes out of this crisis stronger than ever before.
In the meantime, please stay safe and follow the guidelines issued by the Government and Public Health England; updated daily and can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.