The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate every conversation and every piece of news and we can only hope that we can get back to some sort of normality in the near future.

From a Barrow Raiders perspective, we have done pretty much all we can to secure our future financially.

We have now done our calculations, working out the likely shortfall in income against the savings in expenditure, and come up with a number.

We will need to take advantage of the business interruption loan scheme with an application for that gap or pretty soon all the cash we hold in the bank will have disappeared.

Whilst this is an obvious concern we do have a few weeks before this becomes grave.

The worry is that we made initial contact with our bank last week and they have so far not got back in touch despite an online promise to do so within 24 hours.

From all reports these loans are not reaching businesses as quickly as needed and as a result some are going to the wall or seeking administration.

Similarly, the furlough scheme will be a saviour in terms of paying 80% of our staff's salary but the reality is that we can't even expect the online portal to go live until the end of the month at the earliest and no doubt there will be further delays before we can get our hands on some much needed cash.

There were grants available for the leisure sector via the local council and we have made an application, but once again there has been nothing forthcoming.

We have to appreciate that all the agencies will be swamped with enquiries but you have to question how long lockdown can continue with so many businesses facing financial ruin.

You may argue that the safety of the public is more important than a few businesses but an economic depression could cause unimaginable suffering for years to come.

How will the NHS be funded in future years if there are no businesses creating wealth through employment, profit and taxation?

I don't envy the Government and the help they've promised to businesses has to be applauded.

I fear the impact to our rugby club is going to be felt for years too. Many of our best sponsors are also suffering and the choice between sponsoring a sports team or retaining staff has an obvious outcome.

Perhaps to some degree we are lucky in Barrow that BAE Systems continues to pay its workforce a full wage and the impact to our crowds might not be as great as other areas but how long will it be before those 5000 staff sat at home without laptops become furloughed?

This is a tough time for everyone and the message from the club has to be to stay safe and to follow the government instructions.

When we get through this, rest assured Barrow Raiders will be leading the way in helping our community pull through.