We held our weekly board meeting as a conference call last Wednesday and it was very productive. We didn’t get as much waffle as we do when we sit face to face and we were over and done relatively quickly.

Our main focus, as ever, was financial. We must keep abreast of all that the Government is announcing to help businesses deal with the coronavirus. During the week we wrote to all our staff asking them to become furloughed workers. Clearly the fact that we have stopped all rugby activities and have been told to stay at home has affected all our income streams. We plan to claim for a percentage of our employees wage through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but unfortunately the portal is not due to go live until late April. There are bound to be teething problems so we must plan for the worst case and that the payments won’t be immediate.

To that end we have been working out our reduction in income forecasts against our savings in expenditure with a view accessing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. At this point I must thank Keith Holt who has done a tremendous job with all the forecasts and calculations. He admits himself that he enjoys this part of his role but nevertheless he has been a godsend.

We are in the fortunate position that we do have some cash in the bank that means we have a little breathing space and we just have to be thankful that traditionally this time of the year we have a decent amount for cash flow from pre-season sponsorship deals. If the virus had arrived in late summer I’m sure we would be in panic mode.

There is also a small business grant available that we will be applying for through local government so we will be kept very busy making sure we stay afloat.

I had another conference call with the RFL on Friday bringing together all the clubs, including Super League, in one call. It has to be said that they are doing a superb job keeping in touch with all the clubs and making sure they are aware of all the available help. They managed to alert me to the possibility of calculating what we could claim through the retention scheme more generously and they were available instantly for a personal call with clarification of a couple of points. They also have the ear of the Government and have presented how rugby league is such an important part in many of the communities where the clubs reside and how losing any club would be devastating. It should be noted that, like Barrow, many areas turned blue at the last election and the Government want to deliver more than simply Brexit.

Our community team are frustrated that most have become furloughed workers as they are itching to help the community. However, the simple message is to stay at home. Every day we stick to the government’s message is a day nearer the finishing line and some semblance of normality.