Yesterday, the club hosted it’s AGM where amongst other things the clubs new Executive Committee was appointed and we outlined the clubs strategic path forward. While the last 18 months presented challenges on many fronts, we have arrived at an exciting moment for the club, so I wanted to follow up with the clubs strategic plan and to share my perspective.
Appointment of Executive Officers
- Chairman: Mr Paul Tucker
- Vice Chairman: Mr Stephen Foreman
- Chair of Rugby: Mr Paul Tucker
- Honorary Secretary: Mr Christopher McFerran
- Treasurer: Mrs Tracey Wedd
- Members’ Representative: Mr Ben White
- Members’ Representative: n/a
- Members’ Representative: Mr Jack Christy
In his closing remarks President Alan Price thanked Tracey Wedd for her Chairmanship over the last 6 years and Douggie Brown in his role as Treasurer. Tracey will retain a seat on the Executive in her new role as Treasurer; Douggie will take-up a Club Officer role, sitting on the Finance Committee as Assistant Treasurer. Jack Christy was welcomed to the Executive as Members’ Representative.
We are at an important point in our Club’s history. The demands and pressures put on us all in the constant battle against the COVID-19 virus, with commercial restrictions imposed and no meaningful Rugby for nearly 18 months, we now need to shift the conversation as to how we define a “new normal” that strikes the right balance between safety, rugby, and the Club’s economic recovery and growth.
It has been said many times before, but we have moved from a corner shop to supermarket, but in many ways still operate like the former. It is not sustainable and without a rich benevolent supporter we need to operate through commercially focused eyes! COVID-19 has given us the chance to review our current position and refocus our strategy.
The time is now right to consider an alternative way of operating that truly exploits the state-of-the-art facilities of Latton Park, which we will call the “new better.” We know that even before lockdown we were struggling to keep our heads above water, treading water at best. We need to generate additional income to keep the club running, maintenance up to scratch and if we truly aspire to be being the best rugby club we can be, we need to invest and accelerate in the spirit of a “new better.” We need to create commercial opportunities and understand that this is to protect and develop rugby, ensuring Harlow Rugby Club once again returns to its previous lofty heights, but this time with sustainability built in.
There is no question, this is a challenging time and that we will continue to be tested; but this challenge also represents a profound opportunity. The tightrope we must walk is to retain the ethos upon which the Club was built but maximise the commercial opportunity we have.
More than returning to rugby, “new better” thinking says it is about redefining our deliverables, with rugby and our volunteers at the top of the list.
We are working through plans now, fully recognizing our shortcomings; our successes and the parts of our Club that do lead the way. In the coming weeks and months, we will talk more about succession planning; commercial management plans and the consistent standards we need to set and how they will be tailored to ensure successful execution.
The Next 12 Months – My perspective
Reiterating what’s already been said in our outline strategy and reinforcing the why: as a Club with a rich history, we are ambitious on the rugby field, but to support this moving forward we need to have a commercial outlook that is equally ambitious and only by exploring, exposing, and exhausting the untapped commercial opportunities will we truly meet our on-field ambition at every playing level. We are in a wonderful facility, that if managed with a commercial eye, can support the development of rugby at every single level.
We will review all operating and organisationally aspects of the running of the club.
We will put Rugby at the front of all our decisions.
We will support all our teams with a view to realising their full potential.
We will invest in new kit, training aids and personal development.
We will continue to support the community.
We will continue with our school’s development work.
We have momentum driven by our strategic review, both across the Club and within the Executive, and we have an opportunity to evolve further to address the growing needs of our ambitions.
I hope you are as excited as I am by the next 12 months and opportunities ahead.
“Be safe, be smart, be kind!”
Harlow RUFC | Chairman
Latton Park | Howard Way | Harlow | Essex CM20 3FD
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