CLUBS have revealed the biggest challenges they face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Retaining players and financial worries were among the key issues to arise from Oxfordshire RFU’s questionnaire, which was launched to discover where support was most needed.

County sides were taken through the findings at Tuesday’s AGM, where they established how they can best channel their efforts during the ongoing lockdown.

Oxfordshire RFU has also made £29,000 worth of grants available and chair of media and communications, Gina Overton, has reminded clubs that there are plenty of ways they can access support.

“It has always been our aim to create those community links and help each other,” she said.

“There’s a lot of different areas offering opportunities for clubs.

“Because we’ve not spent money on county squads this year we’ve got money we can put in the pot.”

Clubs can ask for up to £2,000 each, with four applications already being considered.

Any money left over will be redistributed later in the year.

Overton revealed that replies to the questionnaire slowed after an initial surge of more than 50 responses last month.

But Oxfordshire RFU was still able to build a picture of the areas to focus on, with several issues coming up repeatedly.

Among the biggest challenges cited was how to reconnect with players and members, ensuring financial stability in the face of lost income and sponsorship and uncertainty over when competitive rugby can restart.

The community game in England is at stage B of the Rugby Football Union’s roadmap, which allows distanced, small-group training, with Oxfordshire RFU this week sending sanitiser to clubs to help facilitate this.

There is currently no set date for the start of the 2020/21 season, which will be dictated by government guidelines.

Other areas where clubs welcomed support was in scenario planning and their marketing and social media strategies.

Overton said: “Lots of clubs are brilliant at connecting with a wider audience but want a more professional approach.”

The questionnaire also revealed clubs were using the enforced break to build for the future, for example through clubhouse and external maintenance and planning for the next three years.

Meanwhile, Pete Bramley was unanimously accepted as the new president and chairman by the board and clubs at Tuesday’s meeting.