DESPITE A turbulent year far out of the ordinary for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, it has posted what it described as an 'encouraging' set of financial results.

The society's revenue was up to £8.2million, against 2020's £5m, and its cash position stood at £4.3m, up from £2.5m.

This increased revenue was attributed to securing the Royal Mail and NHS vaccine centre at the Royal Highland Centre, the Scottish Government's £750k support for the hosting of the hybrid Royal Highland Showcase event and the final tranche of the Business Interruption Insurance payment of £700k.

Following a repayment holiday agreed during the pandemic, infrastructure investment and development loan repayments recommenced in August 2021. In terms of charitable activity, RHASS continued its support of RHET to the tune of £136k and a further donation to RSABI of £16k.

Membership income remained stable at £0.4m despite another ‘no show’ year, and donations of £0.2m were awarded to the ‘Save Your Show’ fundraising campaign in this financial year.

RHASS chief executive, Alan Laidlaw, said that the impact of another no-show year on both the sector’s mental health and the society’s finances had 'weighed heavily' on the minds of RHASS Directors, but the team had pulled together and focused on the positive steps it could take to meet the desire of its members and stakeholders for a show and to bolster the society’s financial position – and the resultant Showcase had been 'by every measure, a complete success'.

“We have not taken an easy road, but the outcomes speak for themselves," said Mr Laidlaw. "We successfully developed and hosted a hybrid event that was watched in 97 countries by almost 350k people, but we have also demonstrated an agility in our approach as we pivoted to create new revenue streams which we will continue to build upon in future years.

“Investment in our infrastructure continued, including upgrading our IT systems which will mean a more streamlined membership service. We have also invested in training and the recruitment of key staff who have the skills we need to forge ahead and realise our ambitions. RHASS’ purpose has remained our guiding light which is to protect and promote rural Scotland and we are in a great place to continue to do this for many years to come.”

RHASS chairman, Bill Gray said: “We are supremely proud of what we have achieved thanks to the resilience of the Board of Directors, the staff and of course our membership who have been at the forefront of every decision we have made throughout.

“Despite having to endure a great deal of change, mainly due to the impact of the global pandemic, our membership has remained steadfast in support of a charity that they highly value.

“It has been a challenging year but with prudent and considered decision making, we have emerged an evolved and more sustainable charity and for that I am incredibly proud.”