Royal Norfolk Show organisers saw income slump by £2m in 2020

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, says the organisation is ready to 'power ahead out of the pandemic' after last year's financial losses - Credit: Danielle Booden

Organisers of the Royal Norfolk Show saw income plunge by £2m last year, according to a report which reveals the severe financial impact of the Covid lockdown.

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) has published its annual report for 2020, which outlines the cost of the cancellation of last year's event during the pandemic.

Total income dropped to £531,000, compared to £2.586m the previous year.

Running costs were also more than halved to £1.235m, leaving an overall loss for the year of £702,851 - reducing the RNAA's total funds to £3.484m.

But there is optimism for the future as the association makes plans to "power ahead out of the pandemic".

Since the turn of the year, it has been diversifying the business use of the Norfolk Showground, and the return of events after lockdown has brought in much-needed revenue.

A government grant of more than £500,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund earlier this year has also helped put the RNAA on a financial footing from which it can plan the return of its flagship show in 2022.

Managing director Mark Nicholas said: "2020 was a very difficult year for the RNAA, particularly because the nature of our activities were mainly event-focused and in a pandemic we were able to hold very few events in 2020, which resulted in the significant reduction in income for that year.

"But the association is now in a much stronger position going forward. Events are returning to the showground and what we have also done, starting from January 2021, was to diversify the commercial uses of the showground.

"We have put our buildings and facilities to good use to ensure we can continue to gain commercial income. The business model going forward is to be more diverse and therefore more robust.

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"Covid in many ways has been an opportunity to reorganise the association. We have reduced our costs, regrettably we have reduced the size of the staff team too, and we have changed other systems and processes.

"All of which sets the foundation for being able to recover and then power ahead out of the pandemic.

"We are now much busier than we were in 2020 so I have every confidence we will be in a strong position coming out of the pandemic and we will be able to deliver a Royal Norfolk Show next year, health restrictions permitting."

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