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04 Mar 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 6

Essential Grounds Maintenance

Work has begun to make the compound behind the stand, safe and secure. This is being funded through the winter survival fund as it is essential that we make that area safe before we welcome people back to the Millbank.

Paul Tandy and his team of amazing volunteers have put in a lot of hours and the place is already looking a lot better. We'll have some before and after pictures to share with you once the work is completed.

Hybrid Pitch

Now that our season has been confirmed as over (pending FA council ratification) our attention can turn to end of season pitch renovations.

There's quite an extensive amount of work that needs doing to the pitch in preparation for next season and we're hoping to get the work started as soon as possible so we can start using it again and take advantage of the end of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Manager and Board Q&A

Friday's manager and board Q&A session went really well, and I would like to thank all those fans who took part and thank Calum for giving up his Friday night.

I hope everyone enjoyed it, I know I did, and we will look to put on another event in the near future. It would be good to host one of these events in the clubhouse once COVID-19 restrictions allow.

League Restructure

I mentioned in last week's update that with the season being curtailed, the Alliance leagues will revisit the restructure of the leagues at Steps 4-6 and I wanted to give you all a bit more information as to what impact that will have on us.

In the original restructure, which has now been postponed twice due to the last two seasons not being completed, the NPL was due to have an additional division at Step 4 (our level). This additional division would allow the NPL to restructure the divisions at this level to be geographically fairer.

When we were promoted to the NPL the divisions were split as East and West, which resulted in the clubs in the East division travelling longer distances than those in the West division. This was changed after our debut season which resulted in less Midlands trips and more North East trips.

This latest restructure will hopefully result in much less travelling across the board, with more localised divisions.

I do feel that the implementation of the restructure would benefit us as a club, and I will update you all when we get further information from the league.

As always, thank you for reading, stay safe and I'll see you all soon.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

25 Feb 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 5

Winter Survival Fund

I am very happy to inform you all that we have received confirmation from the Football Foundation that our application for a 15,000 Winter Survival Fund grant has been successful.

This grant will ensure we have the cash to cover our operating costs plus essential pitch and grounds maintenance whilst safeguarding our earmarked reserves. I would like to thank the Football Foundation for their speed in processing our grant claim.

Season Update

The FA have released a statement regarding the continuation or curtailment of the 2020/21 season. They have said that the results of the survey showed that over 76% of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021.

It has been decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option and the FA's Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season.

The statement also says that subject to the FA Council's approval of the curtailment of the season the committees will revisit the restructure plans which have now been on hold for two years.

As always, we will provide you with a further update when we receive any new information from the league or the FA. Although it is disappointing that we have been unable to complete another season, at least we now have clarity which will now allow us to make plans for the future.

In happier news our Junior section will be able to start training and playing matches again from 29th March and this is great news for our Little Linnets. It will be great to see them all back at the Millbank complex.

Floodlights

I bet you were hoping you'd heard the last of our floodlights, but I have a bit of information that I felt was worth sharing with you all. Following the repair, it was discovered that one of the bulbs had gone. When this bulb is replaced we will also take the opportunity to replace the capacitors (one of these going caused the fault and subsequent fire) on the other floodlights, so hopefully we should have no more issues with floodlights and you never have to read about them again!

Pitch Booking System

As I'm sure you're all aware, having the Hybrid Pitch allows us to hire the pitch out to bring in some additional income. We will shortly be launching a new booking system which will allow prospective customers to view the available time slots and then book a slot if it is available. The system will then allow the club to vet the prospective hirer before confirming the booking. The new system will make the pitch booking more efficient and professional.

200 Club Draw

February's 200 Club draw will take place on Sunday 28th February at 2pm, if you do not already have a number but wish to be included in the draw, then please join the club using the below link.

Join the 200 Club

Volunteer Request Response

I was absolutely blown away by the response to my request for volunteers and some of our new volunteers have already started work including attending a working party to help with clearing the compound ready for the much-needed maintenance work to begin. I was there myself to lend a hand and it was great to see how much work has already been done.

If you would like to become a volunteer, then please click on the link below.

Volunteer for the club

Thank you for taking the time to read this update, as always stay home, stay safe and I'll see you all soon.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

18 Feb 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 4

Floodlights

Let there be light! After three and a half months, the floodlights have finally been fixed. Obviously, we can't use them at the moment but at least we know we will be ready to go once things start getting back to normal.

League Update

We have received an update from the league regarding the potential continuation or curtailment of the 2020/21 season.

The Alliance Committee met on the 8th February to discuss the data that had been collated from the recent surveys completed by the clubs and it was acknowledged that the Prime Minister will likely set out a 'roadmap' to the nation on 22nd February as to how current COVID-19 restrictions will be reduced.

As this update from the government on 22nd February may provide the committee with additional, relevant information to help determine the route forward, they have decided to meet again after the date. The committee are also conscious of the potential impact of any actions taken by the National League.

I understand that this must be a very frustrating time for fans, as it is for us but this is obviously a big decision for the league that cannot be rushed. We will update you when we have more information.

Manager and Board Q&A

We have finalised the details for the manager and board Q&A. It will take place on Friday 26th February at 7pm on Microsoft Teams.

If you wish to attend then please request an invite using the link below.

Attend the Q&A

Trust AGM

The Trust AGM will take place over Microsoft Teams on Thursday 11th March at 7.30pm. The agenda will be sent out on Thursday 25th February.

The AGM is an important part of our governance process and I encourage as many Trust members as possible to attend.

If you are not a Trust member and would like to join, please use the link below.

Become a Trust Member

FA Club Consultation Event

Pete Cartledge and I attended an online event organised by the FA to discuss the needs of the club and the type of support we would appreciate in the future. It was a very useful event and we were given the opportunity to put all our opinions across.

The club consultants will now take the club contributions to outline a programme of support along with a questionnaire that will be issued to all member clubs.

This is a very exciting opportunity and it was good to be involved from the start, we are looking forward to the programme starting.

Linnets In the Community

We are all missing the football and spending time with our friends at the game and we know that there must be many challenges facing you all at this difficult time. We are here for you and if you need anything please use the link below to contact Linnets in the Community:

Linnets in the Community

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and as always, stay safe and I hope to see you all soon.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

11 Feb 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 3

Winter Survival Fund

We have submitted an application to the Football Foundation for a Winter Survival Fund grant. We have applied for the full 15,000 available to clubs at our level in order to protect our reserves, which are earmarked for ground improvements and the Hybrid Pitch project which is not yet finalised. We hope to hear within the next few weeks if we have been successful. We have a contingency plan for if we are unsuccessful, but we are hopeful of receiving the full grant.

Essential Grounds Maintenance

One item we included in the grant application was essential grounds maintenance to make the compound behind the Soccer Millions Stand safe and secure. Currently it is not secure, and anyone can enter during a game or when the pitch is being hired out and there are too many things lying around which could cause serious injury.

Paul Tandy (I'll return to Paul later), with the help of Alan Jones and Spenny has drawn up plans to finally secure the entire compound and make it safe. These works will be completed before the end of March.

Roles and Responsibilities

At the last board meeting on Monday 8th February the roles and responsibilities were finalised and approved. A full list of these will be issued separately but I wanted to highlight a few roles.

Paul Tandy has been appointed as Head of Major Projects and will manage a team including Alan Jones and Spenny to deliver improvements to the Millbank Linnets Stadium.

Grace Mantova has been appointed as Welfare Officer. I felt this was an important role that we needed to cover, and Grace has all the skills required.

Alan Jones will be Retail Manager and will manage the new club shop. This is an area we have been badly lacking in in recent years and is something we must improve.

Jack Walsh will be taking on the role of Programme Editor as Ellis Clarke is stepping down due to work commitments and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ellis for all his hard work over the years.

Volunteers

An extensive list of roles and responsibilities will be published on the club website and you will see from that list just how many people give up their time for free to help us run your football club. I wanted to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to each of them. The success of the club is as much down to you as it is to the players and management team.

We are always looking for more volunteers and there will always be jobs that need doing. If you are interested in volunteering, then please click on the link below. Any help is always greatly appreciated.

Volunteer for the club

Questions and Answers Session

At the end of the AGM we usually have an open Q and A session with the manager and the board. Unfortunately, due to this season's AGM being conducted online we will be unable to do this.

However, we feel that having an open Q and A session with the manager and the board is important, so we will be hosting a session on Friday 26th February at 7pm. Further details will be published in due course and all fans will be welcome to attend.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and as always, stay safe and I hope to see you all soon.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

04 Feb 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 2

This Season

As mentioned in last week's update, we were asked to complete a survey on the continuation of the season by the FA. They have since provided us with an update to tell us that 99.1% of clubs at Steps 3 and 4 (we are Step 4) returned the survey. The results are with the FA's Alliance and Leagues Committees who will propose a way forward. Any proposal will have to be approved by the FA Council. Once we know their decision, we will let fans know.

Obviously, there isn't much we can do right now with the country still being in lockdown but the sooner we know what the future holds, the sooner we can start planning.

On the subject of planning, I have discussed this with Calum and rest assured that he has lots of plans for when we are allowed to play football again. Once we know what will happen with the season, I will meet with Calum again to finalise his plans and we will then share them with you all.

The 200 Club

The January 200 Club draw was done on the 31st January and I wanted to take the opportunity to apologise again for the delays with the previous months draws. I take full responsibility and I will ensure all future draws are done on time. The 200 Club is an important fundraiser for the club, and we do not take that support for granted. You can join the 200 Club via the link below:

Join the 200 Club

Floodlights

As everyone who went to our festive home fixtures is aware, we had a floodlight issue which meant we had some temporary floodlights in place. The floodlight has not been fixed yet, but we have been assured that it will be fixed in the next few weeks. By the time we are out of lockdown and can start using the pitch again, all floodlights should be fully functional.

Hybrid Pitch

Peter Cartledge and I, along with Grounds Manager Jeff Jago took part in an online meeting with the various partners involved in the Hybrid Pitch Project and Bootle FC (who also got a hybrid pitch). It was a very useful meeting, and we were able to provide some feedback on the pitch. Overall, the pitch is amazing and there have been a few games that would have been postponed if it wasn't for the hybrid pitch, as anyone who got soaked at the Marine (how apt!) game can attest to. There is still time to become one of our Pitch Heroes via the link below:

Become a Pitch Hero!

FA Club Programme

The club will be taking part in the FA Club Programme which is a scheme run by the FA to give clubs free access to professional support with the aim to develop healthy, sustainable community focused clubs for the future. The areas of expertise available includes Accounting, Facility Development, Marketing and Promotion and Funding Applications. We have volunteered to take a part in a consultation event and Peter Cartledge and I, hope to attend this seminar on the 12th February. This is an exciting opportunity for us to tap into some real expertise to help us move this club forward.

COVID-19 Grant Funding

Several grants have been made available for businesses affected by lockdown. We have applied to Halton Borough Council for grants for businesses in relation to the local and national restrictions and we will be receiving just over 7000.

A Football Winter Survival Package has been made available and will be administered by the Football Foundation. Clubs at our level can apply for up to 15,000 but this grant application is much more specific than the Halton Borough Council application. We can apply for specific funding for things like lease payments, utility costs, essential pitch and stadium maintenance and other financial costs. We will be working on our application and will submit it before the 14th February deadline.

I wanted to reassure everyone that your club is in good hands and we will survive this national crisis and come out of it stronger than ever.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

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