The aim of this project is to replace income that Lymm RFC will lose through 2020/21 due to the impact of Covid-19 on vital revenue streams.
by Andy Leach in Lymm, England, United Kingdom
Who are Lymm RFC?
Lymm RFC, a registered charity, was established in 1960 and is a true community club. Having played in the 5th tier of English rugby for the past 10 seasons, we are among the top 100 rugby union clubs in the country.
Covid-19 has already significantly impacted our income streams and is likely to do so for the whole of the 20/21 season, taking time beyond this to recover to historic levels. The purpose of this project is to repair, in some part, this damage and to ensure that our community club survives, prospers and endures for generations to come.
With rugby union as our core sport, we currently also support hockey, squash and touch rugby, and most recently, have added tennis to our offer. In addition, our facilities are utilised from time to time in the provision of yoga, pilates and “boot camp” fitness activities. We are a club open to all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or physical ability, supporting those who are financially less well-off where help is needed.
Our membership is currently over 1,000 with very strong junior sections (4-18) in all the sports we support. As such, we play a role in our community in promoting health, fitness and well-being from an early age, as well as mental health and the disciplines that playing team sport instils.
This ethos is embodied in our strap-line “Your Club, Our Community, Their Future”
We have a strong tradition of supporting good causes which resonate with our community and/or sports. As far back as 1985, we were raising funds for the David Niven Motor Neurone Disease Appeal; in the past we have supported fund raising initiatives such as for research into Kabuki Syndrome, Myeloma UK and many others. In 2012 we raised £70,000 for the RFU’s Injured Players’ Foundation and each year we make donations to the Parents’ Associations of three local primary schools. As recently as 31st May this year, we supported the “Leave No One Behind in Lymm” campaign which supports disadvantaged families impacted by Covid-19, by organising the collection of food and similar donations from members.
In 2019, when former player, Adam Cox, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer sarcoma on his spine and given a very short life expectancy, members raised £10,225 in 5 days to provide the materials, and a task force of players the labour and skills, needed to convert his garage into a wet room so that he didn’t need to go to a hospice several times a week to shower.
Sadly, Adam passed away later that year.
We are fortunate in that we have excellent pitches, including an Artificial Grass Pitch (part of the RFU’s investment programme) and a large site. We regularly allow local schools and other organisations to use our facilities free of charge, such as the annual Warrington Primary Schools’ rugby league festival and Dallaglio RugbyWorks, an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, aiming to get teenagers outside mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.
How are we run and financed?
We are run and organised by volunteers with any financial surplus we generate invested in our facilities, our coaching and improving the experience for our membership and our community.
As a community club, we have always "made ends meet" through regular fund raising events and generating sponsorship, predominantly from local businesses. Key among our events are our annual Pantomime, which has now been running for over 30 years, written and performed by club members playing to an audience of 1,500 over 8 performances, and our Summer Marquee events, held in the second half of June. Collectively, these two events generate a surplus of around £70,000 each year which is vital in allowing us to balance the books.
How has Covid-19 affected us?
Covid-19 has driven a coach and horses through our funding plans, reducing social income significantly as the season was cut short by 2 months and forcing the cancellation of our Summer Marquee events. In addition, in the 2020-21 season, the chances are that the Pantomime will have to be cancelled, social income significantly reduced and sponsorship considerably more difficult to attract. In all, as a consequence of Covid-19, we are facing a c£100,000 shortfall in income.
What actions have we taken to mitigate this impact?
Whilst we have done all we can to reduce our costs and been supported financially to the tune of £26,000 by our members through our “your Club needs you” initiative, with a potentially massive reduction in our income streams, it is clear that we are facing an exceedingly challenging 2020-21 season until, hopefully, fundraising and sponsorship revenue streams return to historic levels. Certain costs cannot be eliminated entirely and some expenditure will be necessary as we build to the new season. Given this, we need to do more to bolster our finances to allow us to meet some of our core costs which cannot be deferred or curtailed.
Launching this crowdfunding project will go a long way to achieving the solution we are seeking.
How will this crowdfunding project help?
Throughout the summer we have endeavoured to minimise expenditure but as we head into the autumn our ability to continue to meet these costs will be severely tested as there will be a range of costs which, at present, we will struggle to fund. These include:
What does this mean to us?
With your support, you can help us ensure that we are able to cover these essential areas of expenditure and that Lymm RFC will be able to provide safe and appropriate playing and social facilities to support the pursuit of all our sports in our community now and in the future.
Thank you in advance for your support.
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