BOARD STATEMENT – APRIL 2020

24 April 2020

The Swinton Lions board would like to provide the following update to all supporters during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of everyone at Swinton Lions we hope you and everyone close to you is keeping safe, as we all anxiously look forward to a consistent downturn in the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have become aware that some of our former players, as well as current supporters and family members, have not been well, so we wish a speedy recovery to everyone affected. As a club our overwhelming concern is always the well-being of all our people.

We also pay tribute once again to our very own heroes of the front line (as recently featured in the national and trade press). Be they players, staff, or supporters, and be they involved in either the NHS directly or other essential service – thank you, and please keep safe. 

With regards to the likely return to an active playing season, we cannot of course currently give any useful guide, except to say that the Rugby Football League is keeping in close contact with its member clubs and other key partners and stakeholders (including government), and once we have any concrete information we will be sure to pass it on.

Sadly of course, the Summer Bash has understandably already been cancelled. However, we would like to place on record a tribute to the outstanding leadership shown by the RFL in these unprecedented times.

The club has received many messages of support and goodwill over the last few weeks, and the loyalty demonstrated by our fans has been heart warming to say the least – not that such loyalty should come as any surprise when in reference to Swinton Lions fans. In particular, it’s fantastic that so many of you have maintained your support for both PrideBuilder and the Supporters’ Trust, which we feel sure will play an extremely important role further down the line.

We also pay tribute to all of our sponsors and commercial partners for their patience and understanding, as clearly we haven’t yet been able to provide the maximum return for their support.

We will endeavour to keep you all supplied with interesting content via our official social media channels, but please be patient if updates fall slightly less frequently than what you’ve been used to. As our players and staff are currently on furlough, this severely restricts our ability to use them as a source for new material.

However, we can of course continue to provide official club updates via Board sources and use archive material associated with our playing and coaching staff. In the meantime, our excellent volunteer media team will continue to do their best in difficult circumstances.

The current situation caused by the pandemic is of course a worrying time financially for vast numbers of businesses and individuals. Rest assured that at Swinton Lions we are managing the situation extremely carefully and prudently, including taking advantage of the government furlough scheme.

We are greatly assisted by the fact that we have no stadium overheads, although in saying that we do of course pass on our best wishes to Sale FC and trust that we are soon able to be back at Heywood Road and making our contribution. The Lions’ Board continues to be proactive in its running of the club, so that as soon as restrictions are eased or lifted, we will be ready to hit the ground running.

One area where we have been able to continue to work proactively is in off-field development. Our new Director of Development Damian Ridpath has been key to the majority of this planning, albeit against a backdrop of not knowing when exactly we will be able to actively instigate some of our plans.

A case in point being our women’s team, The Lionesses, who originally had plans to begin training sessions in April, alongside a full re-launch of our Lions’ Foundation. However, please continue to feel free to contact us should you wish to be part of “The Lionesses”.

We are also looking to commence partnership agreements with a number of community clubs, some local and some further afield, as demonstrated by the Belfast Eagles announcement recently. Fans have asked what these partnerships involve, and the answer is that we try to create a bespoke package according to the circumstances of each club, but in general we look at issues such as coaching, training, player pathway, resource support and assisting with playing equipment.

This is all about spreading the Swinton Lions brand, fostering the sport of rugby league as a whole, and creating goodwill. Hopefully in time this will translate into more supporters, player pathways, and more children taking up rugby league, all in line with official rugby league key objectives.

Besides the above, there is much more going on from a community and development perspective. In our next official club update our Director of Development, Damian, will go into more detail.

Finally, if there is one thing everyone can do to support the club at the moment, and it’s simple and totally FREE, it’s to ensure that you are a member of the RFL’s Our League membership scheme. Make sure you nominate Swinton Lions as the club you support, and make sure you get all your friends and family to join up as well.

Sign up to the RFL’s Our League App here

In the meantime, please follow official government guidelines and stay safe. Feel free to drop any suggestions or questions to steve@swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk.

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