Weekly Update 5th June
Created : Sat 06/06/2020 00:15
We hope that this last week has gone well for you and that you and your family are staying healthy. We are in very difficult and confusing times, as lockdown restrictions are reduced and furlough and other complicated changes come on top of generally bad news.
The reactions around the world to the events in the US will have struck us all and important injustices have been quite rightly highlighted. It seems a good moment to state categorically that GRFC stands against systemic bias, racism and unequal treatment that can still be found in our communities and, sadly, in sport. We are fully committed to inclusion and will strive to continue to improve our approaches, our facilities and any other aspect of Guildfordians’ life to demonstrate those values.
Quite a number of changes in rules and guidance have emerged this last week and, although there are a number of voices, including those of leading scientists, who argue caution, a few relevant changes have been made and others are being considered. You will have seen more shops opening, some hotels planning to open in July, sports fixtures being scheduled, even if behind closed doors, and reduced lockdown restrictions meaning that some training is allowed. Schools have reopened for some pupils and the warm weather has brought what looks like a changed attitude, whether you agree with it or not. So, planning to play is complex. We also need to remember vulnerable members, who may need to continue strict shielding.
As a Club, across all sections, as a minimum, we will always follow Government and local authority regulations and advice and also the advice issued by the RFU. This doesn’t mean we won’t decide as a Club to implement stricter measures because, in all cases, the Club’s particular circumstances need to be taken into account. For example, the layout of our Clubhouse may not lend itself as well as others to a one-way system allowing distancing. Requirements for regular cleaning are onerous and expensive to implement. At the moment, our expectation is that the Clubhouse will not be open, except for maintenance and cleaning, before the start of the season in September and we haven’t yet made any firm plan for then.
Each section is starting to consider what is permitted and what is sensible at different points between now and September. Yesterday’s RFU update set out that ‘equipment sharing, including balls, is permitted, although should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practice must be in place at all times.’ Also ‘two or more groups of six may train provided they are kept separate.’ RFU guidance is that there should be no more than four groups per full pitch and social distancing and strict hygiene measures must be observed. In a normal year, the seniors would start their pre-season training in early/mid July with twice weekly training sessions. Touch would normally be right in the middle of their main season. We must use the next few weeks to decide what can be done in each section given our facilities, common sense and the developments in the infection rate.
No decision has therefore been made to re-start any aspect of rugby in any section as yet.
If you wish to comment or ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Section Chair or any member of the full committee. These are unprecedented times, so if you have useful ideas or information, they will be very welcome indeed.
Both the safety of our members and our duty to our local community will be at the heart of any decisions we make as a Club.
Finally, it’s great to celebrate any good news stories. Last week we celebrated all those Guildfordians participating in the 10 weeks of NHS and key worker applause, with some great photos and videos submitted to the competition. Many thanks to those who took part. The sections all have some great good news stories – for example Iona’s 20,000 passing challenge
from the girls’ section and her incredible fundraising efforts. We need to hear more good news stories to communicate to all the Club. We are also doing a ‘shout-out’ today for all our amazing volunteers.
In coming updates, we will be focusing on each section - Seniors, Touch, Girls, minis, youth and walking rugby, so that the whole Club can be aware of what is happening across all sections. There will be a brief introduction about the section, members and players, an outline of what they’ve been doing during the last 12 weeks or so, plans for the future and hopefully some classy photos.
If any of you can predict what the world or even Guildford will be like in September, please drop us a line, because we can’t. But we do know:
Guildfordians will survive. We will play again and train again. And each section has its part to play. Let’s remember that we are all strong Guildfordians together, navigating this storm as ‘One Club’.
We are planning to play rugby.