Throughout most of the three lockdowns I have been working at our other companies, mainly Brunel Recycling Ltd, but I have also been using my spare time to plough through my ACCA exams (only 4 more to go!!) so I have managed to keep myself busy. It has been such a tough time for everyone, and my heart goes out to those most affected. As we approached the ‘anniversary’ of the first lock down I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I have achieved and how I have grown and developed in a professional capacity over the past year.
One thing I have found which has helped enormously is networking within the South West Women in Business. It has been a real eye opener and great zoom with some other like-minded professionals. Every other Tuesday they host a ‘Tea Break Tuesday’ where you can meet individuals from all kinds of professional backgrounds to chat through anything from specific business questions to simply have a chat and see some friendly faces. If anyone would like to know more, please get in touch, it has done wonders for my mental health just to talk through my experiences and obstacles I have faced within lockdown and I urge anyone who has been struggling to get involved.
Anyway, enough about me, to Albion and as restrictions have started to lift, it has been great to turn my attention back to Brickfields. I have popped into the ground a few times, and there are a few exciting changes being made. As Chris (Bentley) touch on in his column, a couple of fantastic volunteers, from Plymouth Albion Sports Therapy Clinic, have been busy painting the clubhouse and it is looking fab.
As I mentioned previously, we are all guns blazing for the Grand Opening of Albion’s ‘Hub’ on the 17th April 2021, all of the board will be in attendance too, so will be great to see as many of you there as possible. I am so hopeful that this will be the final lockdown and that we will be back in September for a new season with new goals and with the weather on the turn for the better now, we cannot wait to open the gates for more events. From an off the pitch point of view we want to bring more events to the club in-house; so curry nights, quizzes, themed events etc, making sure that we get the supporters in whether the boys are playing rugby or not. As I have said before we want to create a sense of community within the club, so that every weekend there is something to do. If anyone has an ideas, please do get in touch.
One thing I do want to mention is the return of Walking Rugby on a Friday evening’s, a great chance to try something different and available to all playing abilities too, please contact Dan in our community department for more information [email protected]. When we can, we will be opening the bar afterwards as well for anyone to come down and have a drink.
Over the past two weeks I have been preparing for our first board meeting of 2021 and putting together a draft budget for season 21/22. ‘How do you put together a budget when you don’t know what restrictions will be in place?’ I hear you ask… with great difficulty let me tell you! However, working as closely as social distance will allow us with Max (Venables) and Ali (Hannaford) we have managed to put together an achievable target to breakeven at the end of next season, something that we have been striving to achieve for the past 5 years, progression!
Obviously, we have had to be conservative when considering the potential income streams and have taken into consideration all variables of COVID restrictions, cuts have also had to be made in the costs, but I feel with a tight belt, we will make it through next season. If we achieve what we have set out to now, we will be left on a solid platform from which to improve and grow from.
The board meeting was a success and although I can’t really say too much, everyone on the board is enthused and positive for the future. In an odd way, maybe a year off is exactly what everyone has needed, time to reset and rethink and develop new ideas and plans.
Damien (Welch) joined us briefly to update us on how the boys were feeling, and they seem to be chomping at the bit to come back, I think we all are!! They start training again on 1st April 2021 on a voluntary basis, it will be great to see them all back. One thing he did feedback to us was that they were keen to marry the social side to the rugby side a little more, so watch this space for some ideas…Let’s bring life back into the club!
In this column I will be talking of my experiences at Albion and would love to hear some questions you may have on what goes on behind the scenes and I’d love to hear some feedback. Email me on [email protected]. Until then stay Safe! Ellie.