Exeter Rowing Club & COVID-19

Dear Member,

We are writing to you to outline in more detail the clubs’ plans’ for the next couple of months in light of the recent government announcements regarding COVID-19 and the decision about the closure of the club on Friday night (20th March).

In light of the decision to close the club, the directors have decided to reduce all rowing memberships to £10 per month, and the temporary removal of annual memberships. Unfortunately, even though the activity at the club has stopped, for now, our bills and outgoings have not. Therefore, the club needs your support, to ensure that the club can continue to operate once the restrictions are lifted.

The decision to reduce the membership is a reflection of the Director’s understanding that this is an uncertain time for all members and their families and reflects the club’s desire to ease some of that financial uncertainty for its’ members.

As a membership organisation, the club always tries to spend as much money as possible on proving boats, equipment and opportunities to row for its members as possible. This means that historically the club has only held small amounts of money in reserves, and this reserve was more thought of as a way of covering unexpected costs, such as equipment breakages.

This year the club directors passed a reserves policy with the aim of over the next couple of years moving the club to a point where it had greater financial security in the event of the club being unable to operate as usual. The reserves policy is designed for an event like a fire, or water pollution, not the world-wide pandemic that we see now, and the uncertainty that it brings with it. The reserves policy was also implemented in a phased way, so as not to divert significant amounts of money away from being able to provide and support rowing opportunities in the club. However, the reserves are not at the level we would have desired before facing a challenge such as this.

The club recently became a CASC (Community Amateur Sports Club), one of the benefits of this is the ability to claim back tax paid on donations in the form of Gift Aid. With this new ability, we are asking any club member who feels that they can contribute towards the ongoing running costs of the club during this closure to do so via a donation, with gift-aid, meaning your money can have the most benefit.

For example, an Adult Member of the club has a usual monthly subscription of £33.92. If you were to donate the difference between this, and the reduced monthly fee your £23.92 would become £29.90, or you could donate just £19.15, and the club would receive the same amount of money as usual.

Your donation would help to minimise the long-term impact of this on the club, for every pound of the club’s reserves and equipment fund that we don’t need to spend, we can spend on rowing once the club’s regular activity has resumed.

Look out for more messages from the club as we move forward and please get in touch with any of the directors or committee if you have any questions, or suggestions during this time.

Please stay safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the club soon.

Kevin Dentith                                                             Paul Wilson
President                                                                    Chairman