Now that The Hive London has finally closed for all but community aid services, I have had some time to put together an update on the current status of not only our Football Division but also across our wider business group.
Firstly and most importantly, an update on our staff arrangements.
It makes me very proud to have such a solid and reliable team here. They have all been absolutely fantastic throughout and I have spent the best part of the last week or so meeting with them either individually or in small collective groups. I have to say that the they have responded amazingly given the circumstances.
We originally thought that we would be losing up to 60 staff across the group but with the Government support measures in place, the number of people affected, excluding the academy, is now less than half a dozen, who for various reasons e.g. end of contract, returned overseas etc. would have departed anyway.
Academy – Due to relegation and the cancelling of our licence, we will no longer be allowed to operate as an EPPP Academy, even if we wanted it to. Covid-19 has brought a premature end to our operation and we have asked the FA and EFL for a licence extension. Given they themselves are lobbying for Government support, we remain hopeful that they will fully appreciate our predicament and help us in this small, yet very important way.
If they agree, we will only receive 50% of the half a million pounds funding that is required, so we have pledged to make the balance available and reprieve all the Academy staff and guarantee their jobs for the foreseeable future. We are awaiting the outcome of this request.
First Team – The team were due to come in for training this week but this was cancelled in line with Government guidelines. Darren and Junior are keeping on top of the situation to ensure that our players continue their fitness regimes at home to keep them ticking over.
Likewise, the London Bees training has also been suspended and Lee will be coming up with plans to ensure the team stays fit whilst we await direction from the FA WSL.
Community – We are finalising our plans with the Council to cook for their Meals on Wheels service. We have secured a supplier for this initiative and many staff have also come forward and volunteered their time to help. Harrow Council are doing their utmost to work out the difficult task surrounding the logistics of the delivery process and once finalised, we can get this up and running, hopefully in the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, our Community Centre in Stonegrove has been operating a food collection and delivery service for those in need, which has been incredibly well received from residents unable to leave their homes for a variety of reasons.
Additionally, The Hive Foundation, the charitable arm of both Barnet FC and the London Bees, has also pledged to support its local schools and community. They are providing assistance to local/hub schools by way of additional staffing for children of keyworkers and those who are most vulnerable. The Foundation will also be producing English, Maths and Sports resources for those at home.
Medical – Our medical centre and banqueting operation have joined forces and teamed up to offer Northwick Park Hospital and the NHS Supply Chain temporary yet vital use of our facilities. This is in the form of a “pop-up” ward directly linked to our diagnostic scanning centre, which will be on standby to help them deal with any capacity problems at the hospital itself.
In the meantime, we are now providing diagnostic scanning for North Middlesex Hospital and Royal Free Hospital priority patients and aim to keep this service available throughout the crisis.
Memberships & Season Tickets – As you may have seen this morning, all membership payments have been suspended as of the next payment date, April 1st. This means that anyone with a Hive London related membership scheme be it for Barnet FC, London Bees, the gym, parking or otherwise, will not be charged until normal service resumes. However, their memberships will remain active so they will not need to reapply when we reopen.
Lastly, we are concerned about the domino effect created by football clubs who owe each other money for transfers, loans and ticket share income and not being able to meet their obligations. To avoid this and promote best practice, we have paid all our creditors and hope that others who are financially able to do so, follow suit.
I am confident that together we will all get through this terrible crisis.