A West Cork GAA club in danger of running out of money has set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising €10,000.
With their income decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the St James’ club — comprising of Ardfield and Rathbarry — has taken this measure of “last resort” in order to keep the club financially afloat.
Writing on their GoFundMe page, St James’ chairman Niall O’Sullivan explained that the loss of lotto income in recent months and the forced cancellation of their main fundraising event for 2020, the Ardfield/Rathbarry Family Fun Day and Threshing, means the club has “only one month’s funds left in our account”.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, St James’ secretary Liam Evans said club coffers will run empty in the next two months unless money is brought in.
The club is currently paying €740 a month to service a bank loan.
Added to electricity and water bills, and the maintenance of the club grounds, Evans said this appeal for financial assistance had to be put out if they were to avoid going into arrears.
“Our lotto would bring in on average €250 a week, but we haven’t had a lotto since the beginning of March.
“We have a carnival the first week of August, what we call the old-time threshing in Ardfield.
“That typically brings in €7,000 a year, but that has obviously fallen by the wayside.
“We would do a bag-packing day in the supermarket. That too is not possible because of social distancing.
“And we would normally do a big fundraising event around October, November. One year we did Strictly Come Dancing, which brought in a couple of thousand euro. There will be nothing like that this year.
“When you add up the whole lot, there is simply no source of income coming into the rural club.
“We were looking ahead and we could see there was no source of income coming in for the next number of months.
“We just knew, going forward, there was no way we could meet our monthly bank repayments without doing something, and we have never failed to meet a bank repayment in the last 10 years,” Evans remarked.
“Also, going into next January, you’ll need to have €7,000 or so in your account for when the time comes to write a cheque [to Croke Park] for player and public liability insurance.”
The club, which has a membership of approximately 300 people and reached last year’s Cork county junior football final, debated long and hard as to whether or not a GoFundMe page was the correct and proper way to go about remedying their financial predicament.
“GoFundMe is for charities, for people who are sick or in trouble, and it would be a last resort to go down that road, but, look, we felt there was no other fundraiser we could put on.
“We raised €5,000 for St Vincent De Paul during Covid-19. Our players and everyone in the club was delighted to be able to help out for charity.
“But on this occasion, we have to turn and do something for ourselves. It is a last-ditch effort, really, to try and bring in some funding to keep us going,” he added.
Evans continued: “I was talking to other clubs and they are all finding it impossible to make money.
“A lot of them are in the lucky position that they have a nest egg put aside because they were planning a development.
“We are in the position that we have our developments finished, we are on the repayments side of it.
“It is going to be a very different scene going forward for clubs because festivals will take a hammering for the next 12 months.”
At the time of writing, almost €3,000 has been pledged on the St James’ GoFundMe page.