I’d like to start by saying how grateful we are to everyone who has stepped forward to support the football club during these difficult times.
The response from supporters, near and far, has been simply outstanding. We have sold over 280 shares, which includes 119 new shareholders. People from all ages, all walks of life, from our local communities, and from lots of places around the world. People coming forward because they recognise how difficult a period this is likely to be for us is heart warming. One of our key partners, Steven Brown from R. Brown & Sons Butchers, bought an amazing 20 shares for his son. Just brilliant.
We have received a very generous donation from Keeping Larbert & Stenhousemuir Beautiful. I won’t say much more on this at the moment as we plan to do a special mention and thank you to them later this week. But we wanted to give them an early mention. They have been extremely generous and we are humbled by it.
Many of those who have helped have made particular mention of our Community Help Initiative. Whilst we are grateful that people want to support us because we are supporting our community, that wasn’t the reason we set this up. We just felt it was the best way the Club could help during a time of national need.
The Initiative continues to grow. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has volunteered. Just yesterday we hit an important milestone of having over 100 people signed up as volunteers. They are out helping lots of people in our communities and I know how much this is appreciated. We started with the offer of helping the most vulnerable with shopping, dog walking and the like. We then expanded into offering to shop for NHS workers who were struggling to get to the shops because of shift patterns. We then started delivering school meals and last week alone we delivered over 800 meals across the catchment areas of ten local schools. We then expanded again to deliver for a local food bank and were delivering up to 40 food parcels a day. As well as our own community coaches who have been out delivering, we are grateful to Carron Bathrooms who came on board with two additional vans which really made the delivery service viable.
Others have been generous too. I received a sizeable donation through my letterbox at home one evening. This was from a local supporter David Miller who wanted to donate one day’s wage from his wage packet to help the club and thank us for what we are doing in the community. An amazing gesture and thanks again.
We auctioned off the chance to play for the Warriors 1st team in an official closed door bounce game to be organised once football activities have resumed. We were delighted to accept two winning bids of £800 each from Joe Blundell and Rob Page. I hope our two new signings are out in their back gardens in an intensive training regime to get themselves prepared. No slackers at Stenhousemuir! But seriously, thanks to you both for your support and we look forward to seeing you in maroon.
I’d like to also say a huge thanks to our staff, first team management team and players for helping the club. Apart from a skeleton staff to keep the club ticking over, everyone else will be going on to the Government backed furlough scheme. As I had mentioned previously, the staff had stepped forward and offered voluntary wage cuts to help the club through this period. The first team management team of Davie Irons, Kevin McGoldrick and David Binnie had all offered to pay back their entire wage packet if it helped support other staff. This is an amazing gesture from them all, and they will all go onto the furlough scheme which will be a significant saving for the club.
The players have all accepted the furlough scheme too. We should recognise that this is equivalent to a 20% wage reduction for them. A wage reduction is never welcome. However, as a club, we are all in this together, and we are all shouldering the financial burden and making sure that all jobs are protected. All of this gives me huge confidence that the club will come out of this once things start getting back to normal. I sincerely wish that I could make an absolute promise that everything will be ok, but I can’t quite yet. All I can say is that we are doing everything possible to cut costs where we can, and look for any sources of income to help keep us going.
I am confident that we will get through it, because of everything I have mentioned above. If everyone at the club keeps pulling together, and our supporters continue to help in the way they have, then we’ll be back pushing hard for promotion before we know it.