BE CEO Update on COVID-19 and BE Staff
It has been another busy week at British Eventing, as the impacts of the restrictions imposed on all of us continue to be worked through.
As many of you will appreciate, the income from memberships and horse registrations is predominately what covers the cost of running the sport. Whilst the sport is on hold there is a reduction in the spend directly attributable to supporting events, however, the fixed costs at head office remain.
We have been carefully looking at all costs, committed and planned and have reduced or cut everything we can.
Unfortunately, we are also having to take action to reduce the staff costs. Whilst events are impacted by the government restrictions in place, we will be reducing our staff numbers. Twenty six of our 44 team members will be placed on Furlough from 6th April until the end of April and this will remain under constant review as the COVID-19 situation develops. This furloughing enables us to make use of the government support available to businesses – which covers 80% of the gross salary of furloughed staff. The rules of the scheme mean that the furloughed staff are unable to work whilst they are off. Remaining staff will continue to cover the critical remaining workload including preparing for the restart of the sport.
We are reviewing financial forecasts based on differing scenarios of sport recommencement dates and are taking action as necessary on the basis of these forecasts. We have reviewed all variable costs and where possible have cancelled contracts or taken action to reduce future spend. As a result, we have identified savings of up to 15% from our head office overheads.
We continue work on ways to make further savings. In addition, the cost of subsidies provided to events are reduced during the period that the sport is suspended. We do however have fixed costs which cannot be reduced including insurances for members and events, rent and rates for the head office and contributions to the BEF. The BE Board is currently having weekly calls and monitoring the ever-evolving situation closely.
We have received a number of requests from members to refund memberships, and we have also received a number of messages of positive support – including some new members who have joined as a way of supporting BE through this situation. We would like to thank these members specifically – we really appreciate the support. We have said that the question of refunding is under review and we continue to do this in line with the financial scenarios mentioned above. Whilst the opportunity to compete does not currently exist, the remainder of your membership benefits, such as insurance, continue.
While we are operating with a significantly reduced team, we ask for your patience when contacting the office. Calls and emails may take longer for us to respond to, but we will do our best to process all requests as quickly as possible. If you would like to contact us, please use our Contact Us form found HERE.
We know that this is a difficult time for many of us and we thank you all for your continued support of the sport.
In these difficult times I wish you well in the days ahead.
Jude Matthews, BE CEO, and the British Eventing Board