Museum Unveils 3-Year Strategy

Steve O’Connor Director of the River & Rowing Museum unveiled the Museum’s 3-Year Strategy last Thursday evening to interested stakeholders.

The 3-Year Strategy outlines the following five strategic objectives:

  1. Achieve an operating breakeven position
  2. Place RRM at the centre of the community
  3. Rationalise and rejuvenate our galleries.
  4. Host the debate on healthy rivers and do all we can to protect our river’s future.
  5. Deliver a world-class educational product

In Year 1, 2024 to 2025 the Museum’s main activities will see the return to a seven day a week opening, from 5 days currently (Thursday to Monday) by working with additional volunteers.  The move of the Henley Gallery to the more central River Gallery will take place and solar panels are planned to be installed to reduce energy bills.

Year 2, 2025-2026 the River Gallery will be rejuvenated in collaboration with partner organisations including Rivers Trust and River Action UK. They will explore museum bolt-on such as boat trips.  The Museum will scope out the construction of an outdoor classroom and plan to secure 100% occupancy of commercial lease of The Studio building.  The Museum will also look to find a suitable corporate sponsor.

New income streams will come from events; ‘Nights at the Museum’ for Spring/Summer with Live music and performances on the Terrace plus local vineyards and distillers events.  A new River & Rowing Museum Patrons Club will encompass the previous Friends of Rowing and Henley 100 Club to attract and retain donors.

Over the next three years, the Museum needs to triple the income from the March 2024 starting point and implement activities that will lead to a broadly flat cost base. The key methods to manage the costs will be to renegotiate their facilities management contract and reduce reliance on consultants. They will also dispose of assets belonging to the Museum, comprised of both land and buildings, to bolster their cash position following the 2024 investment in the business.

The detailed finances in the plan shows a loss forecast for this financial year of £887K, then £705K for 2025 year end, £222K to year end 2026 with a profit of £100K in the third year end to March 2027.  The forecast of generating over £1m in Year 2 is optimistic from £600K in Year 1 however the Museum for Year End 2020 when it was last fully opened generated £738K.  The figures for Year 2 include £150K income from The Studios when fully let.

Steve O’Connor said, “It was wonderful to be able to launch our new Strategy for the Museum to more than 70 guests last Thursday.  It is an ambitious plan which sees the Museum back into an operating breakeven position but, more than this, it will hopefully pave a way for us to be back at the centre of the community.”

You can read the full strategy here


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