The Covid 19 pandemic, and the government restrictions put in place to deal with it, have resulted in a considerable strain on the Barn’s finances.
The start of the new financial year coincided with the Barn’s closure due to the lockdown.
All the clubs that use the Barn, the bookings for parties, weddings and other functions all had to be cancelled. The Strawberry Fair and the Village Show, usually amazing fundraisers, were held in a reduced format meaning we missed out on much-needed income. Events like the Race Night and music evenings have also been cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
The end result is that our income from April to August was down nearly £15,000 compared with what we expected to receive.
Although some activities have now resumed (gym, fitness classes, snooker etc), at the moment it seems unlikely that we will be able to start taking bookings again for parties, weddings or similar public gatherings any time soon. We expect our accounts for the current financial year to April 2021 to reflect this.
There have been some rays of light over recent months: the Barn received a small business grant of £10,000 and this will be carefully managed so we don’t have to dip into our reserves too much. We’ve also received a grant from the Phoenix Trust to enable us to install special panels to improve the acoustics in the main hall. It’s something we have been planning for years and the grant means we won’t have to dip into our savings to finance it.
We will keep you informed of developments but until the coronavirus restrictions are lifted further, and we can increase our income again, the outlook for the Barn’s finances remains very challenging.
Please note that our Annual General Meeting which is usually held in September has been postponed as a result of the restrictions on public meetings. We hope that we can arrange to hold it later in the year, but in the meantime - and after taking advice from the Charity Commission - all trustees will remain on the board beyond their usual one-year term.