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Distribution list: Tuesday 12 May

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update
Please find below the fifteenth edition of our Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

We have highlighted the preparations taking place to reboot rugby when the time is right and, as part of this activity, we are asking the rugby community to take part in a survey, which you will find below. All our plans will be linked to the government’s social distancing guidelines, which were updated this week - and you can read more here.

You will also find links to this week's webinars, last week’s easyfundraising activity which is available on demand and to the new podcast from Eddie Jones. Importantly, as it is Mental Health Awareness Week next week, we’ve provided information aimed at supporting those suffering with mental health issues.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and updates here.

Past editions of these twice-weekly updates can be found on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.

RFU Headlines
We want to be prepared to get rugby back up and running when government guidance allows, and it is safe to do so. A great deal of work has been undertaken in recent weeks to establish protocols around a safe return to training and ultimately competition.

As part of our preparations, we are conducting a short survey across the rugby community and we would appreciate your views, as well as those of your members, to help shape and guide our plans. We would like to ensure that our plans align with the sentiment in the rugby community and that rugby restarts at a time when there is a will and desire to have it played again.

This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and your thoughts will be invaluable to us over the coming weeks. Please share with your members too.
Take Survey
Important updates
Click here to find details of the webinar programme through to 11 June.

Tuesday Training Webinar with Simon Amor – 7pm tonight

Simon Amor, England Attack Coach and Head of England Sevens, will host a webinar on 'Knowing Yourself as a Coach'. To register click here.

Click here to catch up on previous coaching webinars.

How to run a Virtual AGM with Irwin Mitchell* – 7pm on Thursday 14 May

This webinar will provide guidance and support on your club's options to run your AGM, including how to run the AGM Virtually.

Register for the webinar here.

Eddie Jones Podcast

The Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast this week focuses on how to build a cohesive coaching team and manage it. Find out more here.

Easyfundraising webinar now available on demand

Easyfundraising hosted a webinar for rugby clubs to talk through how to maximise returns using easyfundraising. This is an easy way to keep funds coming in and it’s completely free to set up and use.

To set up an account click here and click here to view this webinar on demand.

Mental Health Awareness Week 18 – 24 May

The mental health of the population is being challenged during this time of isolation. As we approach Mental Health Awareness Week, we want highlight how we can support those facing mental health issues.

The links between good physical health and mental health are well recognised. Physical activity like playing rugby can be very beneficial for mental health and wellbeing, as well as bringing physical benefits.

While rugby is shut down, there are training tips available to help club members to keep fit. Visit @englandrugby on Instagram for regular fitness and workout content.

All of the workout content has been designed to suit a wide audience, no equipment is needed and all exercises can all be done from the safety of your own home!

Equipping coaches with the knowledge, skills and confidence to better understand and support people living with mental health problems, as well as with ways to support their own mental health, is crucial both now and going forward. UK Coaching, their awarding body 1st4sport and course partners: Mind and Sport England are offering their online course ‘Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity’ for free to the wider rugby community.

To access this course, available from Monday 18 May, you will need to register an account on the UKCoaching website or follow them on Twitter here for more information on this opportunity.

Mental health support information is also available on the Simplyhealth RugbySafe section of the England Rugby website here and also on Simplyhealth’s website here.
 
 
 
Rugby community doing great things
Teamwork and staying fit for rugby has seen many miles covered recently. The Under 11s from St Mary’s RFC, Bradley Stoke, ran more than 1,000 miles raising more than £2,000 for nurses and carers. Eight-year-old Elliott Murphy ran 11k to his Fordingbridge club and raised £1,800 for his local food bank. US Portsmouth RFC challenged other clubs and teams to run the 3,200 miles from Portsmouth, Hampshire, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, for the NHS, while Bournville ran the distance between the most northern and southern hospitals, raising £3,000 for the club and the NHS. Click here to read the full story.

Colin Stonehouse, who has been setting up the online quizzes at Reading RFC, has offered to provide support to any club needing help in organsing a quiz. If your club would like help, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We know that clubs we have yet to hear from have been working both to help their communities and to secure their future and would love to hear more so that we can celebrate their success on our channels -please share your story with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Through rewarding grassroots volunteers with its Volunteer Recognition Programme, England Rugby’s Performance Partner Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is proud to support and develop rugby volunteers nationwide. To find out more, please click here.

*Could you help to inspire the next generation of rugby talent? The Irwin Mitchell Mentoring Club’s community of mentors will help keep teenagers in the game and benefitting from all it offers into adulthood. Discover more by clicking here.

Due to the continuing effects of COVID-19, it is with regret that this year's Coaching Conference planned for the 30th August 2020 has been cancelled.

 

The Coaching Committee remains committed to assisting  coaches and potential coaches in obtaining training, education and development and will plan another conference together with other CPD events as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place allow such an event to occur.

 

 

Distribution list: Tuesday 5 May

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update
Please find below the thirteenth edition of our Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

In this edition Bill Sweeney, CEO provides an update on the actions taken by the RFU as a result of the impact of Covid-19, and on his presentation to a DCMS Select Committee this morning. We’ve also highlighted the webinars taking place this week, with details of the full webinar programme and launched The Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast. There’s an update on NatWest RugbyForce too and we’ve highlighted Umbro becoming the Kit Partner to England Rugby from September. Last, but by no means least, we’ve provided an update on the great work of the rugby community during the pandemic.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and updates here.

We’ve also captured past editions of these twice-weekly updates on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.

RFU headlines
Update from Bill Sweeney

I hope you and your families are keeping well.

I am writing to update you on the actions we have taken in the face of the current Covid-19 crisis and what we are working on for the future. We have undertaken detailed financial scenario planning to understand the potential reduction in revenue we are facing as a result of Covid-19 and, as you may have seen in the media, I provided an update on this to a DCMS Select Committee early today.

Click here to read the full message.
Other important updates
Click here to find details of the webinar programme taking place through to 11 June.

Rugby Groundsmen Connected Live Twitter Q&A – 3pm on 7 May

A Rugby Groundsmen Connected Live Twitter Q&A will be taking place using the hashtag #ASKRGC. This is an opportunity to use social media to ask questions direct to our Twickenham grounds team, including our Head Groundsman Jim Buttar.

Easyfundraising webinar- a fundraising solution for clubs - 7pm on 7 May

Easyfundraising are hosting this webinar for clubs so that their team can talk through how to maximise returns. Click here to register for this webinar.

Some clubs have been benefitting from free cash donations when their club community use easyfundraising to shop online with well-known retailers. This is an easy way to keep funds coming in and it’s completely free to set up and use. To set up an account click here.

Launch of The Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast

We’ve just launched the Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast to give coaches an insight into coaching at Test level. Every week Eddie and RFU Director of Performance Conor O’Shea will cover specific topics, with the first week looking into team talks, including pre-match, half-time and post-match. Click here to read more or here to listen.

NatWest RugbyForce 2020

We have taken the difficult decision to postpone the NatWest RugbyForce weekend due to take place at the end of June.

NatWest RugbyForce will now form part of the 2020/21 season reboot activity. Further information, including announcing those clubs selected for grants, will follow once we have a better idea of the timescales involved.

Umbro becomes the Official Technical Kit Partner to England Rugby

We’ve announced an exciting new four-year partnership with Umbro, as they become our official technical kit partner from Tuesday 1 September 2020.

We’re proud to announce a partnership with such an iconic English brand, which has nearly 100 years’ experience in elite sports. We look forward to revealing the kit along with more details on the partnership in the coming weeks.

Click here to read the press release that was issued this morning.
 
 
 
Rugby community doing great things
CEO Bill Sweeney has praised member clubs’ support of their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The kind of efforts being made by the clubs shows the strength of rugby’s values and the continuing importance of volunteers in the community. Click here to read.

We know that other clubs have been working both to help their communities and to secure their future and would love to hear more so please share your story with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Distribution list: Thursday 7 May

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update
Please find below the fourteenth edition of our Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

In this edition we’ve highlighted the two webinars taking place next week, have provided details of the newly announced government-backed Bounce Back Loan Scheme and have given an update on the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants administered by local authorities. We’ve also dedicated our ‘communities doing great things’ section to recognise the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and updates here.

We’ve also captured past editions of these twice-weekly updates on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.

Important updates
Click here to find details of the webinar programme taking place through to 11 June.

Tuesday Training Webinar with Simon Amor – 7pm on Tuesday 12 May

Simon Amor, England Attack Coach and Head of England Sevens, will host a webinar focussed on 'Knowing Yourself as a Coach'. To register click here.

Click here to catch up on previous coaching webinars.

How to run a Virtual AGM with Irwin Mitchell – 7pm on Thursday 13 May

This webinar will provide guidance and support on your clubs options to run your AGM, including how to run the AGM Virtually.

Register for the webinar here.
Other support available
Bounce Back Loan Scheme

As an extension to existing government financial support vehicles, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (microloans) was launched this week to help smaller businesses, including rugby clubs, impacted by COVID19 to borrow between £2000 and up to 25% of turnover capped at a maximum of £50,000. The repayment term is fixed at 6 years at an interest rate of 2.5% per annum. The government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and will provide lenders with a 100% government backed guarantee. Your business must meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria. The application process is open until 4 November. Click here to find out more.

Click here to access guidance regarding the various support packages available.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants

We are aware that some clubs may have experienced issues applying for grants from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants. Clubs who currently have a rateable value of under £51,000 should be eligible for one of these two grants.

Impacted clubs are encouraged to proactively challenge their local authorities if they believe they have been incorrectly told they are ineligible.

If a club is having trouble accessing these grants, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can find out more about these grants here.
 
 
 
Rugby community doing great things
As we head into a Bank Holiday weekend, with Friday 8 May marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day, we’ve reflected on the Victory Internationals that took place at the end of the Second World War. Click here to read more.

The Army v Navy event on 2 May at Twickenham Stadium would have marked two historic occasions: the centenary of the Inter Services Rugby Championship and the first-ever services women’s match at Twickenham Stadium. Despite both matches being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Army v Navy committee is still supporting Twickenham local charities and organisations which are likely to suffer shortfalls during the coronavirus crisis.

Help for Heroes was to have been charity of the day for the 2020 event and with cancellation won’t now receive the much-needed donations from the day. Since 2007, the Charity has supported more than 25,000 wounded men and women and their families. The charity is currently contributing to resources for health workers. You can still show your support by clicking the link to the specific Army v Navy Just Giving page here.

We know that clubs we have yet to hear from have been working both to help their communities and to secure their future and would love to hear more so please share your story with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RFU VAT ADVICE ON “FUNDRAISING EVENTS”

 

I attended the RFU’s VAT advice webinar recently, which did include some helpful advice concerning “Fundraising Events”, and it was said that many clubs do not appear to be aware of the potential VAT benefits, and that substantial amounts of VAT can be at stake. Clearly, this only applies to clubs which are registered for VAT, which many of our clubs are.

 

If a club holds a “Fundraising Event”, and I am aware that some of our clubs do, then ALL income arising from such an event can be exempted from VAT, and this includes bar/catering takings on the day, ticket sales etc. So if such takings were, say, £10,000, then VAT of £1,667 would normally be due to HMRC if the exemption is not applied. HMRC are accepting claims going back up to 4 years for clubs to claim a refund if the exemption has not been claimed for these events.

 

The following are the key points:

1.       To qualify as a Fundraising Event, it must be:

 

a)      Organised exclusively for the club’s benefit

b)      For the primary purpose of raising money, and

c)       Promoted as being primarily for the raising of money.

 

2.       The club must be a “qualifying body”, but the vast majority of clubs will meet the criteria for being so qualified.

3.       Such qualifying income just needs to be classified in the club accounts as “Exempt” and then put through the VAT return as usual. No separate claim needs to be made.

4.       Claims for refunds which amount to less than £10,000 can be made by adjusting the next VAT Return. Claims for a larger amount will require a separate claim.

5.       The club will have extra “Exempt” supplies and this will affect any “Partial Exemption” calculations which may be needed.

6.       It was noted that some clubs had asked if events such as a “Presidents Lunch” would qualify, but the advice was that this would probably not qualify ordinarily, but might do so if the three criteria noted above are closely adhered to.

 

If clubs feel they can benefit from this exemption, they should seek professional advice from their Accountants, or if any club would like to contact me, I will be happy to pass on the benefit of my understanding of this matter.

 

Richard Showan (Finance Chairman: Hampshire RFU)

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