Update from the Chairman

Dear Curler,

This note provides an update on the financial position at our year end of 30 April 2021 and describes some of the work in hand for the season starting hopefully in September.

Year to 30 April 2021

Like most businesses around the world, it has been a most strange and difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We put in a huge effort to open, although it was three weeks late, and managed six weeks of curling before the move to tier 3 forced the closure for the remainder of the season. Once the ice was melted and the rink tidied up, the staff were all put back on furlough and have remained there ever since.

Financially, this meant a huge drop in trading income, but has been offset to a sizeable amount by the grant income we have managed to secure. The wages have been largely covered by the Job Retention Scheme grants, plus we also received a further £31,000 of grants.  The big grant came through in late March with £132,000 from SportScotland as part of the scheme to help ice rinks. It cannot be used for improvements, so we will rely on donations to do whatever improvement work is deemed essential.

We are forecasting a surplus of around £70k for this year, but that does include over £200k from the various grants for which we were eligible. This will allow us to safely get through to a resumption of curling in September. However, we are anticipating fewer curlers next season, and with minimal grants available, we are projecting a small loss for the year to April 2022. This is assuming the bar is fully open, so if restrictions remain in the autumn, this will further impact next season’s figures.

We are also very much aware that the following year, 2022/2023, we have significant loans to repay and we must ensure that we have sufficient funds to meet that obligation.

Year to 30 April 2022

With the Scottish Government guidance currently envisaging all of Scotland at level 0 by late June, our efforts are focused on opening the rink in September. Final decisions on whether the bar and catering can open then will be taken nearer the time and depend on numerous factors (e.g. social distancing, mask wearing) in the Government guidance which, as you will appreciate, are outwith our hands.

A crucial step that is within local curlers’ hands is to help us gauge the demand for ice, and match secretaries have been asked for ice requests to be returned by the start of May so that Steven can start to work on allocations. We expect to offer 5 sessions each day with no 9.45pm session. Angela Wilcox and Fergus Shaw have been working hard with an external consultant to develop an IT based booking system which we expect to go live in time for the coming season.

Jim Barton and I have been working with Scottish Curling and other rinks on how we can all best plan for the season ahead. To support curling at Kinross, a Curling Development Group has been established and we are very pleased that Sean Clemie (Kinross Juniors), Dottie Burt (VICKS) and David Neill (KCDC) have agreed to be members as well as board members Margaret Forrest and Jim Barton. The Group is now working with Scottish Curling to produce the Kinross Curling Development Plan (KCDP) which we hope to be able to share with you all at the AGM.

Jim Steel decided to stand down as Curling Development Officer at Christmas, although he will continue to work as an ice technician. I take this opportunity to thank Jim for all his hard work as CDO. Jim was particularly successful in reinvigorating engagement with primary school children with the Curling’s Cool programme, and in encouraging many of the children to join Kinross Juniors.

We are now looking for a part time staff member to take responsibility for delivering all aspects of the Kinross Curling Development Plan.

We have also been looking at our staffing structure more generally, and in particular how best we support, develop, and control the business. As you may be aware, Jim Barton has been carrying out those duties and Angela Wilcox has taken on a much greater administrative role than anticipated, both on a voluntary basis. I am grateful to both of them for their efforts. The Board has come to the view that we cannot continue to place such heavy reliance on volunteer directors and that we should seek to appoint a part time staff member as Office Manager to carry out all of those essential activities that are required to support the Board and manage and develop the business.

Finally, Paul Baughan has advised that he wishes to stand down as Safeguarding Officer. Paul has been our Safeguarding Officer for 7 years, first with Kinross Juniors and latterly with KCT. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank him for all that he has done. We now need to look for Paul’s replacement. Paul has very kindly offered to support his replacement in getting to grips with the role.

So, we are now looking for the following part time paid staff positions:
– Curling Development Manager
–  Office Manager

And the following voluntary role:
– Safeguarding Officer

We will be advertising all of these positions on our Facebook page.

On a different note, we need some volunteers to assist with tidying up and maintaining the grounds around the curling rink building and car park. Some gardening experience would be useful but is not essential.

Anyone interested in any of the positions or helping out should contact us on office@kinrosscurling.co.uk.

And finally thank you. The last 14 months have been long, tough and stressful. Throughout the Board and staff were encouraged and sustained by the messages of support received from our curlers and, latterly by the donations received from clubs and individuals; thank you.

We are now looking forward to the new season with renewed confidence and vigour and look forward to sharing our plans with you. We intend to have a zoom meeting with clubs in June, by which time we should know demand for ice, and may know more about Government guidance on re-opening.

A date for your diary, the Trust AGM is scheduled for Thursday 26 August.

Bob Tait
Chairman, Kinross Curling Trust.
2nd May 2021

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