Kent County RFU Covid-19 Relief Fund Update

The County announced in April that it would be implementing a COVID Relief Fund to provide financial support to those clubs that are experiencing or are in imminent risk of experiencing financial harm as a direct result of the national lockdown and suspension of all rugby activity arising from the COVID pandemic.

Applications for support were invited by 25 April. We received applications from 27 clubs and confirmation from seven others that they currently remain in a sound financial position and do not require assistance at this time.

The Sub-Group set up to oversee the Fund, chaired by Nigel Fray, met on 30 April to consider in detail all the applications that have been received and to make its funding decisions.

Funding decisions were made based on the following principles:

  • Grants should not be awarded simply to replace revenue foregone, either from on-field (e.g. hosting of tournaments) or off-field activities (e.g. hiring of facilities for social events).
  • Grants should not be awarded to clubs that have a failed/failing business model and where financial difficulties were already being experienced before the COVID lockdown.
  • Grants should be awarded only to those clubs in immediate financial need and which within the next 3 months are / will be unable to meet their fixed costs, as a direct result of the COVID lockdown.
  • To maintain a ‘watch list’ of clubs, to identify those that may fall into difficulty over the next 6 months.

The Sub-Group is also mindful of the RFU’s and Sport England’s funding guidelines.

Applications have been considered on a case-by-case basis. Financial support will not necessarily be the default position; depending upon the circumstances of each individual club that has applied for assistance, the Sub-Group judged that the first best option is that certain clubs might benefit from being better placed to help themselves, for instance, by receiving general advice (e.g. on other funding support that is available, either from Government or the RFU, advice on VAT, etc.), to ensure sustainability into the new season. Such clubs will, however, remain on the Sub-Group’s ‘watch list’ and it stands ready to provide emergency financial support should that in the end prove to be necessary – and again, provided that the application criteria have been met.

Applicant clubs are being advised of the outcome of their applications and, as we committed to do, we expect financial support to be made to successful applicant clubs from mid-May and possibly earlier.

Of the 27 clubs that have applied for support, the Sub-Group judged that up to 6 need (or may need) immediate help, and 9 may require help over the coming months. Of the remainder, applications (on the basis of the evidence provided) seemed simply to be for revenue foregone, but where the clubs’ respective financial positions still showed that they can meet their fixed costs at least for the next 6 months without compromising their status as viable going concerns.

Of course, with the lockdown still in force and no date yet fixed as to when rugby will resume, the future remains uncertain and circumstances can change. The Fund will therefore remain open until October 2020 therefore clubs remain free to apply for support (ensuring that applications fully meet the application criteria). The form can be downloaded HERE! All applications should be sent to the Kent County Office.  (