On Wednesday 30th August the club hosted it’s AGM where amongst other things the clubs executive committee was appointed. With no new nominations for any of these positions the incumbent executive is empowered to nominate members for these roles and as such they nominated the following:
Chairman: Paul Tucker
Vice Chairman: Stephen Foreman
Chair of Rugby: Paul Tucker
Honorary Secretary: Christopher McFerran
Treasurer: Tracey Wedd
Members’ Representative: Ben White
Members’ Representative: Victoria Broad
Special thanks to our third Members’ Representative Jack Christy as after a number of years on the Executive has chosen to step down. Within his opening remarks President Alan Price spoke about the clubs successes, its difficulties, and its challenges. As you can imagine 2022-2023 brought all three of these!
Aside from rugby we have been very busy over the last 12 months and thanks to the hard work of our Latton Park staff we have expanded our hospitality and functions offering. We are now a licensed venue for civil marriages, partnerships and other ceremonies and have four weddings already booked in the diary for next year.
We have undergone many cost cutting exercises, reviewed our catering options and relaunched our sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
We have hosted several successful ticketed events, provide a weekly what’s on post, facilitated additional revenue streams which included hiring out the club and car park to Disney as they filmed in Long Ley.
We have an amazing clubhouse and facility, the envy of most, but it does come with some downsides not least of which is the continued impact of the cost-of-living crisis. For us this means soaring clubhouse and pitch maintenance costs and overwhelming increases in our utility bills – sometimes the club feels like a noose around our neck. Did you know that our total membership income barely covers the costs of our annual utility bills.
Annual sponsorship, grants and charitable donations are also a key element to the funding of all our teams’ activities. We have relaunched our sponsorship packages and have many corporate or personal donation packages available. These include corporate packages for our Men’s 1st XV and Ladies 1st XV, corporate sponsor, or supporter donations for our Men’s 1st XV Shirt Numbers and much, much, more…
However, having spent many hours on the phone with potential sponsors it is very clear that like us many of our local businesses and partners are also feeling the cost-of-living squeeze and all too often I receive the response, we love what you’re doing, we would love to, but unfortunately costs have soared and we have no budget for sponsorship.
Generating revenue to run the club and maintain it to the highest standards is a challenge for us all. This task is all too often left to a few so if any member can help in any way, please let me know.
We often spend too long thinking about the negatives, but we have much to be proud of. I recently reviewed the Rugby Playing objectives we set ourselves in 2018 and whilst it’s taken a little longer than we may have wished, largely because of losing 2 years to COVID-19, it’s a pleasure to note that most of these objectives have now been realised.
- To provide rugby playing opportunities for all, regardless of age, sex or ability, not limiting the rugby to full contact but considering all other forms of the game. Done.
- To have a comprehensive system that meets the RFU Safeguarding and welfare criteria and the needs of the Club. Done.
- Men’s 1st XV to be playing L6 rugby. Done.
- To have a minimum of 1x L2 Coach per team. Done. We also have 3x L3 Coaches.
- To run a full comprehensive school development program supporting local Harlow schools. Done.
- To run 3x Senior Male Teams. Done.
To run 2x Ladies Teams. Work in Progress.
To run 1x Junior Girls Team. Done. We now have u12; u14; u16 and u18 Girls Teams.
To run all age grade teams from u6 to u18. Done.
Over the course of the coming year, it is vital that we review our playing strategy and objectives. It is vital that we present a clear plan on where we want to be in the medium and long term, face the undoubted challenges that lay ahead, not least of which is how we independently fund any aspiration of playing L5 Rugby and above.
It is also clear to me that there is an overwhelming burden of all aspects of running the club being shouldered by a few! We do not mind doing the heavy lifting but, by our own admission the executive is stretched too thin and so I implore anyone with business and/or strategic planning skills to step forward and lend a hand. I have already engaged in a few conversations in this regard and look forward to many more!
Onwards and Upwards!
Chairman | Harlow Rugby Union Football Club Limited