THE organiser of Northern Ireland’s biggest agricultural event, Balmoral Show, has reported losses of almost £1million during the last financial year.

Covid-19 forced the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society to cancel last year’s Balmoral Show and postpone this year’s event from its traditional May date to September. It also had to cancel the Winter Fair dairy event in December 2020.

During its recent annual meeting, the RUAS announced it had ‘returned a deficit from ordinary activities of £983,959’ for the year ending October 31, 2020, and that it had been one of the most turbulent years in the history of the society.

Chairman of the RUAS Finance Committee, John Martin, delivered the report which said that 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.

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.

The RUAS said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and associated periods of restrictions have resulted in the cancellation of charitable activities in line with the prevailing regulations.

“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," said the statement.

“The society, 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 RUAS confirmed that Balmoral Show is scheduled to take place from Wednesday, September 22 to Saturday, September 25 2021.