Mike Reilly's report at the AGM

17th May 2023

Mike Reilly's report at the AGM

Dear Grasshoppers,

Wellit’s been another interesting year at our great club. We undoubtedly enjoy one of the finest venues in the country, recognised by various external 3rd parties.

Howeverlet’s be honest, like most organisations it comes with its own unique challenges. Our financial status varies up and down. One minute a healthy bank balance, some months later not so rosy! The fact is our superb clubhouse and grounds come with large overheads and expenses which as an Executive we have to constantly be a tune to. This last year out of the blue we also have been thrown a number of "curve balls” (eg not least a massive backdated water bill that the water board had seemingly not made us aware of!)...these obviously have had a negative effect on our overall rofitability. Hopefully we are now in a much more controlled position where no more of these unforeseen expenses will hit us in the future. We somehow seem to be overtime generally in a "break even” status. A lot of work has been implemented to reduce costs wherever possible, improve our accounting processes, and help us to be as financially efficient as possible going forward. 

Covid shutdown, happening so soon after moving into our brand new venue, obviously had a detrimental effect. We really had to "relaunch” again once covid restrictions were lifted. Interesting to ponder here if we had set a business then (a "start up”) what would be our analysis now. I would suggest the summary would be something like... 

"After some 2 years in business we are basically breaking even. However, we have built a very solid foundation for the future, The awareness of our product and services has grown exponentially locally, nationally, and indeed internationally. We have a very large core of loyal appreciative clients/customers/members who give us increasing repeat business. With intelligent creative management, good marketing, and tight financial controls...the organisation should look forward to a sustainable and rewarding long term future.” 

As I’ve mentioned in the past, we have to get the balance right between "Commercial and Community.” We have at our core a fabulous sports club in the heart of our community here for our sports and social members at all levels. It is good to constantly remind ourselves of the following which I drafted when we moved into Syon Lane. 

Our Mission

To be a leading sports and social club providing first class facilities for rugby and netball for all ages whilst providing a fun and inclusive social hub in the heart of the community.

Our Values

To nurture personable and friendly staff, coaches, volunteers and players so that they work or perform in a welcoming, secure and safe environment. To be open, friendly, inclusive, diverse, amenable and responsible in all our relationships.

Our Aspirations

To be the best we can be in our sport, to ensure the long term financial strength of the club, to be a thriving epicentre of the community utilising our superb facilities for a wide range of activities. 

We are lucky to have staff, players, parents, volunteers, members who live and breath these values. We encourage individuals into positions in the club who are not autocratic or egotistical, but who are friendly, inclusive, and truly passionate for the club and its total diverse growing membership.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chairman and seeing endless successes both on and off the pitches and courts. Despite challenges our rugby section (must note fantastic promotion for our senior 1st XV here) and netball at all levels continue to thrive and the playing future looks bright.

The club post covid wanted a "reset” and I hope I’ve left it in a better place. We have a more democratic, transparent organisation. A great staff team with clearer reporting lines and hopefully a better working environment. A really good (getting younger!) Executive in excellent future hands. The club has really come a very long way since it’s humble beginnings in 1950.

Thank you for all your fantastic support...
it’s been an honour. And don't forget...

Once a Grasshopper...Always a Grasshopper”

See you at the bar!

Cheers Mike

RFU Accredited Club