More to RHASS than the RHS
As a registered Scottish charity, RHASS fulfils its purpose of supporting Scottish agriculture and rural communities in many ways; one of the main ones is in putting on the Royal Highland Show.
As a registered Scottish charity, RHASS fulfils its purpose of supporting Scottish agriculture and rural communities in many ways; one of the main ones is in putting on the Royal Highland Show. We know you will be disappointed that the Show is cancelled for 2020, the Directors and team here at Ingliston are also greatly saddened that our four-day celebration of food, farming and rural life will not take place this year.
This would have been our 180th show and we were very much looking forward to unveiling the new Members’ Area at this year’s Show. This landmark building has also been designed to serve as a hub for the agricultural community as well as a state-of-the-art commercial events space. The venue had already secured a number bookings, including a wedding. However uncertainty around the medium to longer-term impact of the Coronavirus has wiped out the many events scheduled to take place at the RHC for the foreseeable future.
This loss of income from the Royal Highland Centre – income which last year exceeded £1.5 million - combined with the loss of revenue from the Royal Highland Show, estimated at £4.8 million, will see challenging times for RHASS in the coming months.
We would like to thank those members who have already offered their support at this difficult and unprecedented time. RHASS needs the support of the agricultural industry and its members more than ever in order that it can continue to fulfil its charitable remit. Last year, we distributed over £328,117 in grants and awards and we are the major financial supporter of the Royal Highland Education Trust – the educational charity RHASS founded twenty one years ago.
RHASS has seen some turbulent times throughout its long history, including foot and mouth, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2001 show. However, thanks to careful stewardship, the Society came back stronger from this set back and increased its impact and influence on the sector over the succeeding years. I have no doubt this will happen again, and quickly, if we come together as an industry to make it happen.
Our focus over the coming months is to look at how we bridge the financial gap we are faced with, while still contributing to the success of the agricultural and rural sectors through our grants and awards and in new and creative ways. Without doubt the events business will restart once restrictions are lifted and we are preparing to take advantage of this. We are also speaking to our partners and sponsors to see what part they can play to support us during this unprecedented time and what support we can give to them.
It has been heartening to see the response we have had from our members who understand that the coming 12 months will be challenging. As we demonstrated during our roadshow campaign last autumn, our members are the lifeblood of the organisation and we urge people to continue to support us so we that can maintain our charitable work that goes way beyond what is visible during the four days of the Royal Highland Show. RHASS membership is not just a four day show ticket – it is so much more than that and helps us to deliver our support to the industry including RSABI, the Young Farmers and, of course, RHET, a vital part of the agricultural scene.
It is during tough times that great things can happen and I have every confidence that the membership will get behind us so that we can continue to help shape our agricultural industry for future generations. We are all in this together and together we will come through it.
2 April 2020