Tue 28 Apr 2020 21:24

Here at Isle of Wight RFC, we’re aware of some of our members who have had direct involvement with the current pandemic, in one way or another. We’ve invited them to have a chat with us and tell us a bit more about what they’ve been doing and how they’re coping in these strange times. First up is club treasurer and current player Nick Joyce, whose relatively new business WightCBD has been helping out in an innovative way.

 Q: Tell us a little about your business, WightCBD.

 A: Well, WightCBD is based on the Island, selling CBD and other cannabis-based products, using Isle of Wight-grown hemp which makes us unique in the marketplace. https://www.wightcbd.com/

It’s been going pretty well, although things have obviously quietened down since the lockdown began. But that’s given us an opportunity to focus on our business plan and make some adjustments. We’d like to widen our audience, looking forward.

 Q: When the COVID-19 virus took hold here, you saw an opportunity to help out. How did that come about?

 It occurred to me that we have a laboratory which has been pharmaceutically ‘signed off’ with good manufacturing processes – a regulated and completely sanitary space, if you like. I asked our workers if it would be possible to use our facilities to manufacture and bottle hand sanitiser, especially as I found out that it has become easier to purchase industrial alcohol now. We’ve included CBD and aloe vera to make it that bit nicer on the hands.

 It felt like a good thing to do, as the business is quiet at the moment. I couldn’t believe when I heard from friends on the NHS frontline that they didn’t have any hand sanitiser in their working environments. I could name two major departments at St Mary’s Hospital who had no hand sanitiser at all at the start of the outbreak.

 It was a pleasure to donate and do something for those frontline workers; as a company, we appreciate what they do, as everyone does.

 Q: Who else is your sanitiser for and how might they get some?

 Basically anyone who is out there on the frontline and in need of hand sanitiser. For example, teacher friends of mine are going into work to look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children and putting themselves at risk, and some schools have reported great difficulty in sourcing hand sanitiser.

 We’d also be happy to supply low income or vulnerable households for whom it’s not simple to just get to the shop and buy some. Some people have reached out to us. Anyone who needs this help can contact us on our Facebook page, or email nick@wightcbd.com

 We’ve delivered over 300 bottles across the Island so far. There are bigger companies doing bigger things of course, but we’re happy to play a small part in making this situation better.

 Q: Thanks for what you’re doing! Switching our focus to the Isle of Wight RFC, you’re the club treasurer. How is lockdown and everything that goes with it affecting the club financially?

 Obviously, like other rugby clubs, we lost a fair chunk of our season and quite a few home fixtures, which would have yielded significant bar income. We have been supported by the government and RFU though, for which we’re grateful. Prudent financial management over several years means the club’s on a firm financial footing, thankfully.

I am a bit more concerned that ourselves and other clubs may lose some playing and/or social members as a result of this lockdown. People may drift away and lose interest, or it might take some time after restrictions are lifted to encourage them back. I’ve spoken to some of our membership, just to get a sense of who’s still working and who’s been furloughed, and so on. Obviously some people have been seriously financially impacted by this situation. Maybe our club committee can look at some flexibility in how we collect fees when rugby resumes.

 Of course we’d like everyone to stay in touch, and as soon as it’s safe and responsible to do so, we’ll have a big social event or two to look forward to. We’d like those who can to keep playing their membership. Stay in touch; don’t become distant (pun intended!) But if anyone in our club is really struggling, they can let us know in confidence. At the moment, it’s more a case of what your club can do for you, rather than what you can do for your club.

 Q: How are you personally finding the current lockdown?

 It’s boring, isn’t it? I’m lucky to be fairly busy with work still, but it makes you appreciate all the things we’re missing. For example, I had some thoughts of retiring from playing rugby, but now I’m chomping at the bit to get back next season! People are missing simple things, like being able to go out for a coffee or a beer.

 Q: What do you miss most about rugby and IWRFC?

 Probably that feeling on a Saturday. Especially for a home game. Before the game, people arriving, then you play the game and win, lose or draw, it doesn’t really matter that much, because the beers still taste pretty good afterwards…

Q: Finally, a reason to be cheerful?

 Life will go back to normal. Things will get better. The club will still be there. And we will plan big things for when we’re back. Big, silly social events! See you there.

Thanks Nick! 

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