Hello to all of our members, supporters and friends.
I hope that all are as well as can be, the trials and tribulations of Covid-19 notwithstanding. Indeed, as the country’s vaccination program I hope that there may be a new-found sense of optimism that it may not be too long before our community begins to open up once again.
As we arrive at the anniversary of the first Covid lockdown, other more pleasant anniversaries are now in our thinking. That in turn may give us all a better focus concerning the reopening of our Club and before long a return to rugby.
With that in mind, I am writing to our friends to highlight what it is hoped will be better times ahead. Whilst Season 2019-2020 was cut short and Season 2020-2021 a write-off, it is hoped that Season 2021-2022 and a key Club anniversary will bring happier times and possibly greater things.
Season 2020-2021 is, of course, the one in which we celebrate the Club’s centenary. This is a very significant milestone by any standard. So Covid-19 restrictions and RFU guidelines permitting, we aim to re-open the Club, look to as normal a pre-season as possible before kicking off our Centenary year in style at the beginning of September.
The Club is already working to put together a program of suitable, socially distanced, celebratory events for the Centenary year. More details of proposed events will be published in coming weeks. I sincerely hope that all will join us for a truly memorable season. However, before all that, there is much work to be done as regards reopening the Club and in that I invite your help and support.
Sadly, Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on the Club’s financial health. Closures during the lockdowns of the past twelve months have cost the Club dear. Normal income streams have completely dried up. It is no exaggeration to say that lost income runs to six figures. Whilst ‘mothballing’ the Club, prudent financial management and timely applications for grant support have all helped us, the Club has had no ‘normal’ income for more than a year and we have had to eat into reserves. Put simply the cupboard is now bare.
For that reason, the Club has just launched our Crowdfunder ‘Rochdale Rugby Recovery Fund’. The purpose of the ‘Rochdale Rugby Recovery Fund’ is to:
- Recover after the Covid-19 pandemic and make good the financial damage done to the health of the Club
- Rebuild our Club membership so badly affected by the pandemic
- Recruit new Club users, members and supporters
- Refresh the rugby and local community culture and spirit within the Club AND, in short:
- Return the Club to the happy place it has been for the last 100 years and prepare it for the next.
In doing so, we sincerely hope that perhaps we can spread a little more happiness with our Centenary celebrations.
As I write this, I have been amazed to see that the Clubs supporters have already and very generously donated more than £3,750 towards drinks, hospitality and sponsorship packages for the coming season. And that is before we have officially opened the ‘Rochdale Rugby Recovery Fund’.
However, with your help and the help of Rochdale Rugby Union F.C.’s many friends we can drive through our target and ensure we are rugby ready for a bright and happy future. So please take a little time to visit ‘Rochdale Rugby Recovery Fund’ and please help in any way you can.
Thanks for your support, now and for the future.
Iain R. Coates, Chairman – Rochdale Rugby Union Football Club