Coronavirus Update: Letter from RWBTFC Chairman

Thursday 21st May 2020

Please read here an important letter from Royal Wootton Bassett Town Chairman Andy Walduck to all club members regarding the Coronavirus situation:

Dear all,

On behalf of the club, I hope you and your families are safe and keeping well. As you may have seen we lost Andy Amos, a well-loved former coach within our youth section, to Covid-19 and I'm sure some of you also have been impacted by losses. If this is the case, our thoughts are with you and your family.

I must say how impressed we are with the continued financial support for the football club. We now feel it is the right time to give all our members an update. Let's start with the football club.

Finances

Due to the fantastic financial support the club has received, we are in a financially sound position. Our club finances have also been boosted by a Sport England Grant of £4,934. This has been approved although has not yet hit our account. Nevertheless, this means our goal of ensuring that we can meet our fixed costs this calendar year has been met, allowing for rent to be paid to the Sports Association, which was a key target.

During our last committee meeting we have agreed, assuming our finances allow, to reward those who have stuck with the club and ensured that we have financial stability. What this looks like has not been fully decided upon, but this will be confirmed in due course.

FA Guidance on Grassroots Football

Unfortunately, we are still not in a position to resume football activities at the club, be that training or playing matches, and I don't see the leagues commencing any time soon. The latest FA guidelines issued on 15 May state the following:

Permitted activities

1. Playing football individually (individual skills or fitness activities);
2. Playing football with your family or other people living in your household;
3. An individual can play football with one other person who is not from their household;
4. Coaching an adult player one-to-one.

The following football activity is not permitted at this time, consistent with Government guidelines

1. Coaching a child (U18) from a different household one-to-one. In order to comply with our safeguarding policy, a child must have a parent/carer with them, which doesn't comply with Government social distancing requirements;
2. Two or more people from one household playing with one person or more from outside their household.

We will continue to monitor communications from the Football Association and Wiltshire County FA. Once we receive conformation to resume club football activities, we will do so – although this will of course be done in a way that ensures the welfare of our coaches and members is fully maintained.

Sports Association

Since the beginning of the lockdown period, significant effort has been undertaken by the Sports Association to keep down the costs of running the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground (as can be read in the recent notice from the Sports Association's Acting Chairman Pete Yeardley). Even though all costs that could be stopped have been, there is a minimum of £6,000 per month in expenditure that is still required. With no other income possible, the member clubs' ground rent is funding this right now, but still leaves a shortfall.

The Association has been able to take a rate holiday for 12 months and has been awarded two key grants, one from the Government for £25,000 and another for £9,000 from Sport England. This is all essential in keeping the facility alive.

To help maintain the site, volunteers have been working under strict social distancing guidelines, carrying out activities such as cleaning, painting and grass cutting. At present, however, the facility – including car park and toilets – remains shut. The Lawn Tennis Association have confirmed though that tennis may commence, so you will see the opening of the tennis courts shortly.

Regarding the future re-opening of other areas of the site, there is a lot of planning going on specifically thinking of ways in which social distancing can be maintained. There could be a need to introduce one-way systems once we reach Level 3 of the government's Covid Alert Level. Once this level is reached, it is possible that this will allow controlled access to the facility.

As the situation changes, we will be in touch.

Yours in sport,

Andy Walduck

Royal Wootton Bassett Town Football Club Chairman

Last modified on Thursday 21st May 2020 at 10:29.