Royal Highland Show organisers report £4m income drop

RHASS' annual results lay bare the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the charity
RHASS' annual results lay bare the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the charity

The charity behind the Royal Highland Show have reported significant losses of income compared to 2019 due to the impact of Covid-19 on its operations.

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has reported its results for the year ended 30 November 2020.

The society has reported a 44 percent drop in income from £9 million to £5 million compared to the previous year.

A ‘no show’ year and the mass cancellation of events scheduled to take place at the Royal Highland Centre were the main contributors.

Deep cuts to expenditure, including pay cuts for senior management, also contributed to a drop in expenditure of 46% to £5.28m compared to the previous year.

While the pandemic devastated the society's events business, there were wins with the NHS vaccination centre and Royal Mail lettings taking place over the period.

The society also received a government resilience grant, furlough payments and insurance compensation.

Success was also seen with RHASS' Save Your Show appeal, which generated over £250,000 in the year.

Members and the wider agricultural community dug deep to help secure the future of the society, which helped to mitigate the loss.

Alan Laidlaw, RHASS chief executive, said the coronavirus pandemic had had a 'detrimental impact' on the society's finances.

“The pandemic could not have come at a more crucial time for the organisation, poised as it was to reap the benefits of significant investment in facilities," he said.

“The reality of Covid came into sharp focus early on and we were transparent with our membership and the industry on the impact this could have on the society’s future.

“Our membership showed their support of the society through retaining and renewing their membership, taking out life membership for family members and of course donating to the Save Your Show campaign.

"I am so proud and humbled to be able to say that, thanks to their efforts, the actions of our trustees and the diversification of activity, the Show has been saved.”

RHASS Chairman, Bill Gray, also paid tribute to the society's membership for their continued support during the uncertain time.

“There has been a gigantic effort... which has ensured the society has so far weathered this challenging time not only intact, but emerging stronger for the future."