Chairman’s Update – March 2021

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read the March update from the AFC R&D Board. We are now entering a traditionally busy planning time within the Club’s administrative calendar. This year is busier than normal as we navigate through the effects of COVID-19 while at the same time planning for the new campaign.

Since my February Update we now have confirmation about the ending of the 2020-2021 season and how that impacts AFC R&D. As a result, all the first team fixtures have been cancelled and the next league campaign will start in August, preceded by an exciting series of preseason friendly matches. In line with the government guidelines football does return from Monday for other parts of the Club including the development activities of the Under 21, Academy and Scholarship teams. Currently spectators are not allowed at any games other than for safeguarding reasons.

As I have mentioned previously, AFC Rushden & Diamonds would not have been able to survive over this last year without the significant grants we have received from East Northamptonshire Council, DCMS, Football Foundation, and Sport England. These grants have been used to cover specific ongoing fixed costs and we are very grateful for all this support and will continue to work with all our stakeholders to build on these positive relationships.

Last month I told you that we had applied for a for a grant from the DCMS’s Winter Support Package and I am pleased to say we have received a grant of £15,000. This has allowed some essential maintenance work to be carried out at Hayden Road to ensure it is ready for the return of football – benefiting both AFC R&D and Rushden & Higham United.  As you read this, update work is currently underway on the following projects:

  • Conifer Works
  • Pitch Boundary Maintenance
  • Pitch Maintenance
  • Spectator Lighting
  • Mower Gate Repairs
  • COVID-19 Preparation.

The Club has also received a further discretionary grant from East Northamptonshire Council towards our ongoing fixed costs.

Now that there is some certainty over the next steps of football returning, budget planning can be finalized for the remainder of this season and next. The aim is to complete this over the next few weeks and one of the most important steps in this was to confirm our approach to dealing with season tickets from the curtailed season. As we anticipate that grant support will significantly reduce it is important that the Club can generate as much revenue as possible for next season. It would really help out AFC R&D if current season ticket holders are able to transfer their season tickets to next season or donate. However, if you would prefer/need a refund this can be arranged. Full details of all the options can be found here.

Details of season tickets for 2021-22 will be released in the near future but, in the meantime, there are still ways that you can contribute including:

  • Joining the popular Team Building Lottery supporting the playing budget AND giving all participants the opportunity to win Monthly and Quarterly cash prizes. The next Monthly Draw, for just under £600 will be made 5th April.    
  • Participate in the Co-op Local Community Fund at stores in Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Finedon, Irthlingborough, Wellingborough and Wollaston, and help raise funds for our Club by nominating AFC R&D as your good cause. You can sign up at your local store and then earn rewards for every £ spent on Co-op goods which go into your membership account to spend in store. The Co-op also donate 2p for every £1 you spend towards your nominated Alternatively sign up here –

“This month our Rushin & Rantin podcast team interviewed Fernando Bell-Toxtle. You can find the episode on the link here,or your favourite podcast platform.

As always please be careful going about your daily routines and keep up to date with all the national and local Covid-19 guidance here –