Looking forward...

Well it’s been just over a month since my last update and it has been an up and down one at that.  The Vikings have played six times and have had three pretty decent wins, with the most impressive being against our nearest rivals Leigh.  On the downside we have suffered what some may say are surprising defeats, against teams that many of us would have expected us to win against.

Joe Lyons proudly sponsored by VIQI

Joe Lyons proudly sponsored by VIQI

 I wanted to spend my time in this update, advising our members what we at VIQI have been doing in the background.  The most important thing for me, was always to build a team of competent people, who could help support me in setting up the most professional membership scheme we can.  In doing this, we first have to create that team, in order to build the systems and processes that will firstly enable us to grow our membership scheme but then protect the members and the scheme organisers.  I believe we have now put together a really strong team that will help us achieve these basic principles click here to see your board members.  Once we have done this, we can then spend time formalising a constitution that is appropriate to the aims of the scheme and will enable us to manage and run the scheme in accordance with its rules.

 The VIQI website has recently been updated to show who these people are and who has stepped forward to help run the scheme voluntarily.   It highlights the skill sets they possess, to help grow the membership numbers to the levels that will continue to drive our club forward.  I hope you will agree with me, when I say we are very fortunate to have people of this calibre helping drive the scheme forward, for the benefit of our club.

 To recap over some essential points I have previously made, we transferred £100,000 (raised via GoFundMe) directly to the club.  Of which £25,000 was used to purchase a share in the club, enabling VIQI members to have a vote in any boardroom matters that arise.  In addition a further £25,000 was handed over to the club to support player retention and prevent a 20% pay cut being implemented across both staff and players. In total £125,000 has been transferred to the club to date.

 When we initially made the arrangements for the share to be held in the members name, we agreed to set this up as a Company Limited by Guarantee, in the name of Widnes Rugby League Supporters Group (WRLSG Ltd).  We have discussed this at our board meetings and we believe that it would be far clearer and less confusing if we renamed this as VIQI Ltd.  As such this has now been actioned and from this day forward will be known as VIQI Ltd.

 We have now completed our General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) review and have all of the relevant paperwork in place, along with a Privacy Notice that is now live on our website.  We have also started a FAQs section that we will aim to keep live and update regularly.

 On top of this we have reviewed numerous packages that we could use to communicate to our members and also a means for us to seek members views, as we look to ramp up our engagement with you.  Again this has taken time but we want to ensure we remain professional and adhere to the correct processes and procedures to provide confidence in what we are doing.  We have concluded that Mail Chimp will be utilised as our means of communicating and Survey Hero will be utilised to gain feedback and seek opinions and consensus on decisions from the members.  This is our next area of focus and there will be more to follow on this in the coming months.

 It is important that you let us know if any of your details have changed, by getting in touch with us via the VIQI website https://www.viqi.co.uk/contact-us or DM us via our Twitter account @Vikings_QuidsIn or hand something in writing to the club office marked for the attention of ‘VIQI’ to ensure we maintain the most up to date information on you.

 Now that we have set up our company as VIQI Ltd, we aim to move our bank account to a corporate account.  This is more appropriate and will provide us with greater flexibility and visibility of our financial matters, over what we currently have with our basic 20-year-old account.

 In this next section, I wanted to share with you some of the challenges and opportunities we have as a membership group, to help support and shape the future of our club.

 This year continues to be challenging with the lack of funding and it is likely some of the VIQI funds may be required to see us through to the end of this season.  We continue to monitor this and will step in to support should the ongoing financial situation necessitate our involvement.  We must remember this is no ordinary year though and what happens this year is not how we should aim to support the club in future years.

 There are lots of critical decisions that the club will be facing over the coming months.  Many of these decisions will be linked in some way to future levels of income streams and RFL/SL funding. 

 I am very fortunate in that I am privy to these discussions and understanding the current VIQI financial status and current membership numbers, enables me to be fully involved in helping to make and support these critical decisions, to support the best outcomes for the club.

Together let’s create the next chapter

Together let’s create the next chapter

 I don’t think I need to overstate the importance the VIQI scheme will play in shaping the future of our great club.  It is clear that without significant funding, we are unlikely to reach the heights I believe we all aspire to and that is why I am absolutely passionate about making VIQI achieve greater success than it already has.  This is no longer about reflecting on the past on what we have achieved, it is about starting a fresh and beginning to be part of the next chapter of the Widnes Vikings legacy and ensuring that we all play our part in it.  Let’s all look to write the next chapter in Widnes Vikings history.  The many can achieve greatness if we ALL pull together and back this scheme.

 A lot of people’s time has been expended to ensure that VIQI has the greatest chance of success and now we are all set to take the rugby league world by storm.  Do your bit, back your club and say you were part of the revolution when it started.  Imagine just how proud you will feel when we achieve greatness as a community and go on to do what many believe we could not achieve from our current position.  Let’s begin to rise from the ashes and start to show we are far from dead and buried but alive and kicking.  VIQI membership numbers will be our voice to all of the rugby league fraternity and a wake-up call to those that thought we were finished.

 We ALL need to act quickly though as many players are now out of contract. Academy funding is being challenged, decisions about when we will challenge for a return to Super League need to be decided and agreed and all of this is based on available funding.  We may not have a multi-millionaire, but we do have a growing number of members that collectively can be our millionaire.  For example, 3,000 members in VIQI donating the preferred £15 per month would equate to £540,000, that’s serious money that would enable us to surge forward and once again make any other investors sit up and look at what is going on here.

 I am sure we will continue to see ups and downs this season but we have the basis of something very exciting here and we need to harness the potential, nurture it and then see it flourish.  Without your help I fear we could miss our opportunity to accelerate our return to greatness, don’t delay, support the rise of the Vikings.

 If you have previously been in VIQI but have allowed your membership to lapse then I would urge you to rejoin.  If you have left because you thought the club was now safe, then please rethink and ask yourself “do I see potential at this club, could I do more to see it flourish?”  If you have considered joining but just not got around to it, then please sign up now.

 There is so much we could do with your help, if you are already in the scheme, thank you for your tremendous support, you are playing your part and should be very proud.  If you could spread the word and actively encourage others to join that would be very much appreciated.  We are on the cusp of 1500 members and once we pass this milestone, we will be making a draw to win the Martin Murray Gold Boxing Glove.

Finally, we have a VIQI Twitter account @Vikings_QuidsIn that we would ask you to follow, if you could this would be greatly appreciated.

We are up for the challenge, are YOU?  Let’s make our club GREAT AGAIN, STARTING NOW!