This is the latest Kent RFU COVID-19 Bulletin and we are very mindful that your inboxes have been groaning with good advice on how to closedown rugby clubs and handle the financial losses of the early season end. Therefore, these bulletins will now only be sent as we look past the first phase of shut down and quarantining, to phased movement back towards normality whenever that is signalled by Government and following this lead by the RFU. I hope what we have sent out so far has been useful to you and to your clubs and most of all we hope you and your families, and your club members are well.

1. Kent County Rugby – Relief Fund and RFU Emergency Loan Fund.

A reminder that the closing date for submission for applications on club relief grants is the 25th of April. So far applications have been received from 8 Kent clubs and these and any others received by Kent administrator Tracy Pettingale will be looked at in detail after the final date for submission by a newly appointed County Sub-Group. If any additional information is required, then the Sub-group set up under Nigel Fray- Kent Facilities Manager will be in touch with you.

At the same time, the RFU Emergency Grants Fund is open and to date, we understand that two Kent Clubs have applied for a loan facility.

2.Government and Local Government Funding and Relief.

The RFU have now opened a specific section on their website called ‘Coronavirus Advice and support’ which you can access HERE!

Instructions on how to apply for or push for rate relief, VAT Payment deferral, Small Business Grants, Sports Council Funding and Loans can all be found on this part of the site.

In addition, advice on how to shut down your clubhouse, reduce spending on your facilities to a minimum and dispose of food and drink have been put together by TEL the jointly funded RFU and Compass hospitality and catering company. Information can also be found here on how to handle grounds maintenance during the period when the game is suspended.

3. Keeping in contact with your members and your playing membership.

With all that’s going on it’s difficult to find time to keep in touch with club members in general and players in particular. In a normal season games would only just be coming to an end, and yet here we are almost 4 weeks into a period between seasons.

A lot of clubs are keeping in touch well with a range of Social media initiatives to keep members informed and to talk about getting back to playing once restrictions are lifted.

The RFU Communications team through its Community and COVID-19 bulletins will keep you up to date with news in the game which can be passed on to your membership. Let us know what you are doing to keep in touch with your Club Members for us to be able to share that with the Rugby Community in Kent and within the RFU in general.

4. Priority Actions.

Despite COVID-19 there are two priority actions that Clubs need to take in the next few weeks. One is the final recording of games played during season 2019/20 for use in allocating International tickets. If you are a club with teams in RFU Leagues or Kent Merit tables these will have been added as you played your official games however,  for friendlies including Vets, pre-seasons, Girls U15’s and 18’s and boys 14-17’s all have to be added by you with a deadline of May 22nd.

The second is to return your online Payment of Players submission with a deadline of June 30th. Guidance on how to submit this has just been posted on the News page of the County website and on the Kent County Facebook page.

Now could be a good time to tidy up your GMS registrations and delete those who have left the club. I’m very pleased to say that whilst Mark Finnis is on furlough Andy Pratt a former RFU RDO has volunteered to provide answers to GMS questions and to provide a link on GMS to the work Mark was doing with clubs through Webinars on GMS. I would like to thank Andy and Canterbury RFC for providing time to do this for us at this time. If you want help with this, please contact Tracy and she will link you with Andy to provide it.

As usual, if you want help or have questions, I’m here along with David Clent, Game Development Chair and Kevin Cope, Club Development Chair to help.

Roger Clarke. – Chairman Kent County Executive Committee. RFU Council Member for Kent.
David Clent- Chairman Game Development Committee.
Kevin Cope- Chairman Club Development Committee.
(Contact details can be found HERE)

Best Regards

Roger Clarke.