£180,000 increase in turnover since opening of “new” clubhouse

Date: Monday 11th September 2017

PENRITH Rugby Club’s annual turnover has increased by more than £180,000 since the “new” clubhouse was opened 20 years ago.

Club accountant Chris Lilley told the annual meeting that although overall turnover was down this year by £9,269 to £310,533, it is still a “creditable figure”.

Other figures highlighted in Mr. Lilley’s report were overall profit down by £11,928 to £12,733; bar turnover down by £10,173 to £95,942, although profits are still “excellent” at £24,528; overall business use up at £51,458; and sponsorship up at £72,496.

On the expenditure side, transport and match expenses have increased to £68,345; wages have increased; and light and heating costs are down £5,872 due to the effect of the biomass boiler; and repair and maintenance costs continue to rise (£22,662) due to the age of the clubhouse and squash courts, the latter being 40 years old.

“Overall, an encouraging set of accounts, as cash reserves are now positive and aged debit is well controlled,” said Mr. Lilley. “Hopefully, in a year’s time with CASC (Community Amateur Sports Club) status, we will report even better results.

“In September, 1998, the club’s turnover was just £122,433. The turnover growth to over £300,000 has been both organic and proactive, especially with the setting up of a dedicated business website, Penrith Conference Centre, five years ago which has been recently revamped.”

Mr. Lilley added that while the club generates significant revenues from business use and bar turnover, it would not survive without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers.

“Our thank go again to our main sponsor AW Jenkinson Forest Products — their excellent support continued unabated. Including kit, match, advertising, program, ball and player sponsorship, we have over 100 local businesses and individuals positively supporting Penrith Rugby Club,” said Mr. Lilley.

He also thanked “an army of volunteers” who contribute many hours to the running of the club, including Keith Davis and David Potts who look after the ground. The meeting heard that Mr. Davis has announced his retirement from ground duties.

Club secretary Ian Davidson paid tribute to him. He told the meeting how, in 1962, trustees of the club bought just over 27 acres of land at Winters Park from the Carleton Cowpers, who owned nearby Carleton Hall, for £7,500 thanks largely to a loan from the RFU.

Over the next five years an area sufficient to lay three pitches was levelled, a new clubhouse was built, the club moved from the Foundry Field and, on 29th June, 1967, rugby at Winters Park commenced.

“So here we are 50 years on with the same pitches and I think you will agree, a first team pitch as good as the day it was laid down and the envy of many a side who come here to play,” said Mr. Davidson. “And this is entirely due to the groundsmen we are fortunate enough to have at this club.

“To say that KD (Keith Davis) and Pottsy (David Potts) put in countless hours on the ground and surroundings is an understatement. They toil away in difficult conditions to enable sides to play rugby at Winters Park week in week out, but even they have to admit defeat sometimes when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

“I am sorry to have to report that KD has decided to hang up his strimmer and put his ride-on mower away for the last time as he announced his retirement from ground duties to the board a short while ago.

“It goes without saying that this club owes KD a huge debt of gratitude for the work he has done over the years, not only on the pitches but on the surrounds as well. Not only that, but in between times he has filled in with roles as secretary and president, where his wise counsel had kept us all on the straight and narrow. So, Keith, a huge thank you from us all.”

The meeting heard that the club’s artificial grass pitch, which it had been hoped would be ready for this season, will now be ready for the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign.