AGENDA – 10th September 2020
- Chairman opens meeting.
- Minutes of 2019 AGM
- Secretary’s Report
- Treasurer’s Report
- Chairman Address
- Chairman Dissolves Elected Committee
- Election of Officers & Committee Members
I would like to welcome everybody here to the 50th Annual General Meeting and my first as Honorary Secretary.
I would like to begin my report by extending my gratitude to the following members of the outgoing committee for whose work within and on behalf of Ratoath Harps has proved invaluable; Phil Doran (Chairman), Michael Connolly(Treasurer), Mark Flood, Rob Tatten, Gerry Doody and Sean Lawlor
The 2019/20 season saw us transitioning back to winter football for our NDSL teams which once again put pressure on the clubs finances. We started the season with 24 NDSL teams and 4 MGL teams with approximately 450 children participating. Our Leinster Senior League section consisted of two senior teams and an U19 team with approximately 70 registered players across the three teams. Our Academy for players of 5 to 7 years of age was reinvigorated with numbers exceeding 40 over the two sessions every week. In conjunction the FAI we have Saturday morning Football For all program coordinated by Ray Hoare & Keith Webster to cater for players with various disabilities to play football in a structured environment.
It would be customary for me at this point to congratulate the players and coaches for their successful season and many league titles won and cup campaigns. However matters off the field with the Covid 19 pandemic saw the NDSL and MGL cut short and cancelled and the delayed LSL currently finishing their delayed season. These have been very strange times indeed with many sections in our community struggling through the pandemic and various Covid restrictions. We have all learned the importance of the small things in life that we had taken for granted. The central role that Ratoath Harps plays in the community came into focus when training finally resumed when children and adult alike finally had the opportunity to express themselves physically and mentally. A collective sigh of relief could be heard across the community as the various sports clubs returned to training and people finally had an outlet outside of their own four walls.
This season finally saw the opening in January 2020 of our long awaited club house which is the culmination of many years of hard work of the many volunteers within the club. It is a fantastic facility and hopefully will serve the club and community for many years to come.
With the introduction of our Managers and Volunteers Handbook in 2018 the structures and procedures were put in place for the next phase of the growth of our club to happen. In February 2019 we saw the formation of a new coaching committee and a fundraising committee.
The coaching committee have guided all the managers and coaches through the grading process, team and league formations. A number of coaching workshops were held in 2019 and the plan is to have these on a continual basis. They have assigned lead coordinators for each age group as the point of contact for any footballing matters. Their continuing involvement will ultimately result in an improved quality of football and coaching within the club.
The new fundraising committee is full of passionate and driven volunteers full of ideas on how to both raise funds for the club but also increase community by-in and involvement within the club. Since their involvement there has been an air of positivity throughout the club that will no doubt be sustained. Straight out of the blocks they opened a tuck shop in the old referee’s cabin which has since moved into its permanent home in the new club house. A clothes collection was arranged which raised much needed funds. They then organized an Easter Camp in 2019 that sold out within a few days. There was a golden goal competition set up for the Champions League Final in May 2019 that created a great buzz around the club. For the adult members of the club they organized a Music Bingo night in the Ratoath Inn in June 2019 that was a great success and will hopefully be repeated. In the winter months they organized a table quiz in October 2019 again in the Ratoath Inn and for the football fans among us they organized for November a Q&A evening with Ronnie Whelan and Dermot Gallagher in the Venue. A volunteer appreciation evening was held in the handed over section of the clubhouse in November which went on well into the night and created a great buzz around the club. However never resting on their laurels they had a big ticket item that would dwarf everything they had done to date. The MTV video awards was unveiled in January 2020 and there was no shortage of volunteers among our members to dress up and have a great time. While all the videos have been shot and edits left on the directors floor the big reveal of the awards night never came to be due to the Covid 19 lockdown. But never fear the videos will see the light of day and everyone will get to have a night out in the hopefully not too distant future.
In July 2019 the club hosted the FAI during the Meath Festival of Football. It was great for our junior members to meet so many stars of Irish football and the event was a great success at raising the profile of the club.
A special word of thanks is due to the ground staff with regard to the upkeep and maintenance of the playing areas and training facilities. The grass does not cut itself and the pitches do not have permanent markings and this work is very much appreciated by the managers and the club.
The logistics of allocating pitches, making sure referees are allocated and contacted, insuring fixtures are fulfilled, and affiliated leagues are informed of results whether home or away are the responsibility of the individual league secretaries. I would like to thank Grainne Looney in her first season as fixture secretary for the NDSL and MGL. She has become far more than a fixture secretary and has become somewhat of a Mammy to some of our managers and coaches. A special thank you goes to Gerry Doody our LSL fixture secretary who after many years of service to Ratoath Harps has decided to take a well-deserved rest from the committee. I would also like to say thank you Damien Ward who stepped away from the committee during the season after 13 years’ service to the club. However both Damien and Gerry will still be involved in some capacity with the club.
On behalf of Ratoath Harps a special word of thanks to all our Managers, Assistant Managers, Academy Coaches and volunteers for their time and hard work which is all given up on a voluntary basis, without this involvement the success of our club could not be achieved and your contribution week in week out is invaluable.
Ratoath Harps has a close connection to the community spanning more than 50 years. This is your club and if you want your say in the direction the club is taking then get involved on the various committees because like any organization we require new blood to keep us alive and move forward.
Finally as many of our members have lost close family and friends over the course of the season, some Covid related, I would like to extend the clubs deepest sympathy to you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Remember as our club moto says we are stronger together.
Yours in Sport,
Ratoath Harps AFC
Treasurers Report, Ratoath Harps AFC – AGM Thursday 10th September.
The financial year for Ratoath Harps AFC currently runs from 1st July to 30th June annually. The trading year was structured to run parallel with the traditional football playing season of September to May allowing the club to have a definitive end to the season for all teams and activities.
The last set of accounts for financial year July 2018 to June 2019 were audited by our accountants HSM Ashbourne and signed off by the current directors of the club, Philip Doran and Damien Ward at the end of February. The accounts for our financial year 2019 to 2020 were presented to HSM for audit in August with expectation to have the draft copies available to our membership in October.
The club is fully up to date and compliant with requirements from the Sports Capital Grant, CRO and Revenue. As treasurer, I would once again like to thank Brian, Regina and Liz from HSM Ashbourne for their services.
As mentioned in my last report, in comparison to other football clubs, Ratoath Harps does not have a benefactor injecting cash annually into our club. However, we are pleased at the increased fund- raising activities by our membership since the last AGM which adds to the income generated from membership fees.
We are delighted to show a change from an operating loss of -€39,796 in financial year 2017/18 into an operating profit of €27,282 for our financial year 2018/2019 inclusive of depreciation and amortisation.
For sake of good order and transparency, we have attached an overview of our profit and loss accounts from the past four audited seasons and estimates for the end of our last financial year 2019/2020 to give a gauge to the membership of the annual running costs.
The following are key points of note focusing on the last set of audited figures (2018/2019):
- Playing and coaching costs decreased by €5,917 from previous year. The key driver behind this decrease is the reduction in payments to 3rd party organisations Coever Coaching and EI Sports originally contracted to come on board to provide services in coaching workshops and academies as we could not get volunteers internally to run. Our coaching committee put together a panel of our own volunteers with the right skillset to oversee the academies thus eliminating the need to bring in contractors & third parties.
- Light and Heat costs reduced by €1,613 due to our volunteers using the training mode on our flood lights. It’s positive to see we are training more on the main pitch yet also bringing out costs down due to care an attention in use of the lights.
- Legal fees were a once off payment of €4,679 in 2017/18 due to our mortgage and sports grants application giving us an upswing of €5.574 from financial year 2017/2018.
- Ratoath Harps hosted the Sean Cox Sixes for Sean evening in December 2018 bringing in revenues for the charity of €32,498 vs outgoings of €32,664. For correct management of the event, we allowed the charity to use our electronic platforms to manage the event with safe management of the funds.
- Bank charges increased by €709 in our financial year 2018/2019 due to the increased use of banking facilities to collect membership fees.
- Computer costs increased by €2570 in the financial year 2018/19 due to purchase of software and subscriptions for book a pitch and Easy Payment Plus, our membership fee site. We had an unexpected hit in costs due to issues with our domain ratoathharps.com and back payment of overdue costs not invoiced in the correct financial year.
- In 2018/2019 we made amends and brought up to date payment of voluntary contributions for the upkeep of the Codliss grounds.
- Overall, we decreased our day to day running costs in our financial year 2018/2019 by €11,237. (€143162.34 less charity event €32,664 = €110,498 vs €121,735)
- Funding from the FAI for summer soccer camps remains as per previous year.
- Income from pitch hire up €1693 vs previous year.
- Income from fundraising was up by €25,738 vs the previous year with no significant change in fundraising expenses. The key drivers behind this uplift came from sponsorship of signs, the grounds, the golden goals competition for the champions league final in May 2019 plus several small, effective and successful fundraising events arranged by our fundraising committee.
- Income from membership increased by €28934 vs the previous financial year boosted by the introduction of our new electronic registration fee portal and good support from the membership getting up to 98% compliance. The 2% relates to those who genuinely needed some assistance from the club due to personal circumstances.
- Due to the nature of our facilities, under correct accountancy procedures plus the terms and conditions tagged to the Sports Capital Grant we will see heavy figures on this front in the coming ten years of annual reports.
- It is expected that the lifespan of the current main pitch playing surface is 10-12 years hence one key reason for above. We stress the point, with due care and attention, particularly on the footwear rule combined with the correct maintenance, we will aim to pro-long the lifespan of the playing surface.
All membership fees are now collected via our on-line portal in conjunction with our service provider Easy Payment Plus (Pay zone). The electronic data base allows us better management of our finances and gives our membership 24/7 access to make payments.
The change to this new system has been a success with our members becoming more familiar with the package. The days of queuing outside the portacabins with cash in hand are gone and the immense responsibility we put on volunteers to collect and lodge is lifted.
The membership was informed at our last AGM of the stance of the club going forward is that all players must be paid in full or part paid to take part in games. Anyone with financial challenges are requested to contact the treasurer and will get help. We do not want to turn anyone away from playing football.
For those who do not pay, avoid contact and will not engage, they are not allowed participate in Ratoath Harps.
The membership, coaches and volunteers continue to support our new approach and the resulting increase of collected membership fees is encouraging.
The outcome of the various negotiations on the once proposed development levy resulted in an agreement to scrap this in return for a support from the membership on fee collection and support of fundraising efforts.
We are delighted to see all parties delivered on their commitments.
Current “state of the nation”:
At our last AGM we projected the expected day to day running costs of Ratoath Harps excluding depreciation and once offs but including loan repayments (mortgage) would come in at approx. €83k per annum. Through careful management of finances, we managed to come in at €80,285 for the financial year 2018/2019.
Looking at how successful we were in managing our operating costs, we set a challenge for ourselves to achieve to keep below the €83k for financial year 2019/2020. With the audit a work in progress, our initial findings are that we will come in more around €105k mainly due to two key drivers:
- Fundraising expenditure increased by €10382 from €4,729 to €15,111 mainly due to up-front payments for the KR Live event which was scheduled to take place in March and is now postponed due to Covid-19. However, on income, we point out that income from fundraising in the financial year 2019/2020 is expected to rise by approximately €10k vs the previous year. The increase of income negates the additional expenditure.
- A hit of €13,606 from a legal bill arising from a long running case that came to close with no findings against the Harps but sadly a substantial legal bill for provision of our defence.
Parking these two exceptional items to one side, we were on course to achieve our targeted €83k on day-to-day expenditure. The positive is that our budgeting and forecasts seem to be robust.
The postponement of the KR Live event was a blow as the forecasted profit from the event was due to come in at around €27.5k. The fundraising team have done a great job in managing this project to date and as soon as circumstances permit, they are confident of a successful roll out and financial return in line with expectations hopefully in our 2020/2021 financial year.
The FAI Summer Soccer Schools increased the number of camps held in our club to three during the summer of 2019 and amazingly all three camps were fully sold out giving the club a small boost in expected income. We made a profit of approx. €5.5k on the camps in 2019 and had that figure topped up with a grant from the FAI of €4000 as part of the Festival of Football event held in July 2019.
Despite the challenges from Covid-19, we again had three camps in our club this year with a 97% attendance bringing us a return of approx. €5.3k net profit.
The efforts of our membership, committee and fundraising team in the past 18 months helped give us a soft landing when Covid-19 hit us. The club has fixed commitments on operating costs and financial commitments that continue in the background despite the lack of football activity. Prime examples are:
- Standard charge light, heat and gas bills.
- Insurance payments
- Mortgage repayments
- Payments for the Cap-Ex projects
- Pitch maintenance
- Software bills
- Rates and waste collection fees
On the income side of the club the sudden shutdown impacted:
- Loss of income from pitch rentals
- Loss of income from club shop
- Loss of income from academy fees
- Loss of income from the KR Live event
- Loss of income from planned summer tournaments and other smaller fund-raising projects
Added to this, the Leinster Senior League Season will now end and restart 3 months later that other years meaning a delay from income in their membership fees which creates a cash flow pinch which we continue micro-manage.
The Government launched a support scheme for clubs like ours through Sports Ireland and the various sports affiliates which in our case is the FAI. We have applied for funding support to help us cover the gap of lost incomes as a result of the pandemic. Our application has been well received and we await feedback on our eligibility and potential compensations.
The last review of our 2019/2020 books prior to submitting them for audit indicated we would have an operating profit of approximately €16.5k for the year just gone.
The realistic impact from Covid-19 will be more visible when we reach the end of this new financial year 2020/2021. Hopefully we can avoid further lockdowns and continue sporting activities.
Despite these massive challenges, through prudent management of our costs, cash flow and members support, we are pleased to advise no requirement to increase our membership fees for the season ahead.
Full copies of our annual audited accounts are available on-line through the CRO website & I circulated soft copies of the last full year audited accounts.
If you would like to individually meet to go over any aspect of the club finances, please contact me for an appointment.
Capital Expenditure Project:
We’ve come to the end to this phase of our major Capital Expenditure project which commenced back in 2016. We have plans for phase two however in the current economic climate, we are opting to take a rest for the time being and put our focus into developing what we already have to its full potential. The spend over the past 4.5 years will come in at approx. €850k. We have one more payment to make to Glascairn construction for building our clubhouse and would like to offer our thanks to Brian for his patience and understanding on the payment front. He gave us very flexible payment terms and continues to trust we will make good the final amounts owed.
Where we stand at this moment of time on the project is a total of final payments due, loans and mortgages to an amount of €187k with majority of this sum part of 10-year mortgage we have with Bank of Ireland. Whilst we received grants to the value of €395k from the Sports Capital Grant program, it was a big gap to come up with the other €455k to cover the project. It’s a credit to all involved from the outset that we’ve navigated the finances on this very well and are left with a manageable long-term loan.
The memorandum and articles of association for the club state that the role of treasurer, secretary and chairman can only be filled by committee members who served the club in the outgoing season. I am now at the end of my term and with the members approval will pass the role onto Sean Lawlor who fulfils the criteria. Sean and the wider committee have supported me very well in my tenure as treasurer and I can assure you they robustly reviewed my financial reports regularly of which I am pleased stood up to the scrutiny. I wish Sean the very best in his new role and will continue to support him in whatever way is needed.
I hope the decision to take a breather from major Capital Expenditure will help him in the year ahead.
A special word for our sponsors. Without you we could not have delivered on our ambitious projects. We are aware that some of the companies who supported us like City Jet are also in difficult times due to the economic downturn. I call upon all our members to try support our sponsors now more than ever to help them get back up on their feet. Our PR Team will be pushing out regular messages to our membership over the coming weeks highlighting these companies.
Many thanks for your ongoing support.
Michael Connolly. 10.09.2020.
Chairman’s address 2020.
Welcome to our much-delayed AGM of 2020.
You will all be aware that COVID 19 has had a dramatic effect on all our lives over the last 6 months and it continues to affect all our lives today.
I would like to take a moment to reflect on all those who have passed and for us to also remember the sadness and sacrifices that many of us must endure over the last 6 months.
I would also like us as a club to appreciate all the efforts and sacrifices that our frontline heroes have made over these last 6 months.
Ratoath Harps has come a long way over the last 10 years.
We have completed our state-of-the-art full-size all-weather playing facility, while maintaining all our grass surfaces in Steeplechase and the Codless.
We have also finished phase one of our magnificent clubhouse.
We also have planning permission for phase 2 of our clubhouse and our new committee, will be taken up this challenge in due course.
These now completed developments have required a huge effort on all those involved in bringing these projects to conclusion.
I would especially like to thank all our members current and past, for their herculean efforts in achieving these magnificent goals.
As without these past and present members volunteering so much of their time, combined with personal sacrifice and effort, we could not have achieved these lofty goals.
These achievements cannot be underestimated.
I will be stepping down as chairman as I have completed my term, but I will be staying involved with our club going forward.
I would like to thank all our volunteers and members as without them our club just would not function or exist, it is a testament to their amazing efforts and dedication that allows this club to flourish and grow.
I take my hat off to each one of you for your commitment to our club. It has been an absolute honour to have spent time in your company and to witness your dedication first-hand.
Our club is very lucky to have such wonderful people taking part in the day-to-day activities of our club It is my fervent hope that more people will come on board to help with the continuing growth and success of our club.
With the completion of these development projects we will hopefully have more time to focus on developing our football skills to allow our members to play at the highest levels possible in relation to their ability.
With over 550 playing members, it is beholden of our club to continue to build programmes, so that our members can grow and develop as footballers and individuals and as a club we must help them achieve their full potential and continuing enjoyment from playing our great sport.
Ratoath Harps will always aim to continue to create pathways for all our members to achieve their potential as soccer players and members of our club.
We have an amazing bunch of people who coach and manage teams every weekend hail rain or snow and I would like to thank each one of them for all their fantastic efforts over the last 18 to 20 months.
It’s is with great pride that we can as a club report to our members that our junior girls football programs are growing quickly and once again I would like to thank the coaches and managers who are helping facilitate this fantastic development in our club.
Our senior section has returned to the Leinster senior intermediate league section 2019-2020 and it is hoped that we shall be there again next season 2030-2021, this is the level of football that our club deserves to participate in.
The club is entering into its 52nd season. Our predecessors have left us with a nice foundation to build on. When you see the players from academy right up to senior level back out on the field of play, those moments of escape for the players and onlookers is a great time out from what’s been a difficult 2020 for all. Win lose and reflecting on how the games went is all part and parcel of being in a club.
Our club logo is Laidir Le Cheile – Stronger Together. We will embrace this mindset in the season ahead.
So, I will finish by saying that I wish our new committee great success in the coming year and I hope that you get the rewards that this great club has given me over the last 16 years.