The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) has announced losses of almost £1 million at its Annual Meeting held today (Friday, March 26).
The year of the pandemic saw most of the society’s events cancelled, including its flagship event the Balmoral Show.
However, the effects of the cancelled 2020 Royal Ulster Winter Fair and scaled-down Royal Ulster Premier Beef and Lamb Championships will be included in next year’s books.
John Martin, chairman of the Finance Committee explained that the year ended October 31, 2020, had been one of the “most turbulent years in the history of the society”, and this is reflected in the financial results.
For the financial year, the society returned a deficit from ordinary activities of £983,959, which compares with the surplus of £992,534 in the previous year – a difference of almost £2 million.
During the period, the society incurred a net cash outflow from operating activities of £608,979 compared to an outflow of £339,840 in the previous year.
A spokesperson said: “The society has implemented a range of deficit recovery measures to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic.
It also re-affirms the society’s decision to develop the King’s Hall site to generate diverse and sustainable funding streams to support the core charitable activities of the society, which remains the delivery of its agri-events.
“The society recognises its fundamental obligation to protect the health and wellbeing of staff, members, competitors, visitors, volunteers, trade exhibitors, sponsors, contractors and suppliers.”
RUAS, in accordance with its charitable objectives, has confirmed its intention to run agricultural shows in future periods subject to the prevalence of the pandemic and associated restrictions at the time.
“The society is navigating through a very challenging period. Given the prevailing environment, there has been a considerable impact on the society and its operations.
“However, council is confident that with the efforts of its staff, committees, members, exhibitors and other stakeholders, the organisation can come through the crisis intact and in a position to continue its beneficial work in line with its charitable objectives,” the spokesperson added.