Page 4 - GRFC NEWS AUTUMN 2020
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                 GRFC News
Gwernyfed RFC’s Chairman Rob Stephens
reports on what’s been going on at the club during lockdown...
Anyone driving past The Old Malthouse can see that the doors are well and truly closed. However, that doesn’t mean that we’ve been inactive during ‘lockdown’. Pete Weavers, our Honorary Secretary and Vice Chairman, has been working behind the scenes to help ensure that our Club is as well-placed financially to see through this torrid period and is now liaising with the Welsh Rugby Union to plan our return to our great game – and everything that goes with the game of rugby union in our community.
The initial task when closure became inevitable was to secure the Clubhouse and the wellbeing of those who rely upon it to offer at least part of their income. We are a tight community and we didn’t want to leave anyone in the ‘lurch’ if possible, so initially we adapted our franchise agreement with Club Manager Dom Hayes and helped both Dom and our marvellous cleaner Lorna through the early days of lockdown. Many of you will have taken advantage of Dom’s tasty takeaway offerings over the last few months (if you haven’t, call Dom on 07717 020501) which have not only sustained customers but enabled Dom to return the help that the Club was able to offer – a top man. Lorna is safe and well and com- mitted to the Club, it has been a pleasure to be able to help in a small way.
Financially, our Treasurer Michelle Lewis and Pete Rowson, Chair of the Finance Sub Committee, have taken every prudent step possible to keep costs to a minimum (see elsewhere in this newsletter) and Pete Weavers has battled manfully, with the substantial help of the WRU, SportWales and our MP, Fay Jones, to secure a grant that will help see us through to better days, we trust. We also took the prudent step to take out a ‘Bounce Back Loan’ secured by the UK Government. It is interest free for a year and repayable without penalty, but it is repayable and we are treating it very much as an emergency fund that we hope will remain untouched as we see some
return to normality allowing us to repay the loan – it is not in our ethos to incur debt but we hope that you will agree that in the short term prudence was sensible.
The WRU has issued weekly updates from the time the game closed down and, as well as granting all Clubs a one-off sum of £1000 on ‘Day 1’ has lived up to its promise to do everything possible to see every Club through this period and back into competitive rugby in due course. Pete Weavers responded on our behalf with a ‘Club Healthcheck’ and Gwernyfed RFC was selected to participate in one of the weekly ‘Club Chat’ sessions broadcast to all Clubs (and others) offering ideas as to how we react to the threat of the virus.
to nominate an ‘Operations Manager’ to act as lead in co-ordinating the many people who will have to be involved in making certain that the return to the pitch and the Clubhouse does nothing to jeopardise the health and safety of everyone concerned.
Given his close relationship with Officers and Directors of the WRU as Hon Secretary, Pete Weavers has agreed to act as our Operations Manager and ‘attended’ the initial ‘virtual’ meeting of the Union and Clubs on 15 June, following which we ‘met’ with coaches, skippers and others on 16 June to kick off our own response to the challenges ahead.
In short, though we will report in more detail as that detail emerges, the 2020-2021 season will be a truncated one with an October start at best. Beyond that, the WRU, like other sports bodies, will adhere to Welsh Government advice aimed at enabling life to return to as near normal as safety allows. This is certainly going to mean that training and social gathering will be ‘distanced’ and that travel distance, distancing in its own right and the sporting, social and commercial use of Club premises will be constrained for some time to come.
We will emerge from this as strong as ever, maybe even stronger, with the support that we always receive from so many people who have the interests of Gwernyfed RFC and everything it stands for close to their hearts. We look forward to sharing good times with you all once again. In the meantime, thanks for your support – and keep safe.
Yours in sport,
Rob Stephens
 Aside from the impact upon the whole Club we have been very conscious of the impact upon our community and Members have participated in a scheme whereby volunteers deliver shopping and prescriptions and carry out other tasks for those more vulnerable to the virus. Particular thanks to those who have taken part in a scheme which has included volunteers throughout the community but which has been co-ordinated through the Club.
When are we going to play rugby and enjoy the post-match debate again? We simply don’t know at this stage, but in preparation for those heady days the WRU has asked all Clubs

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