After formal approval was given by Kennel Club member last week for the establishment of a new charity the Kennel Club Educational Trust, the club announced last Tuesday that is has reached ‘an historic agreement with the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to provide a permanent venue for dog shows, training sessions, seminars and meetings at the Society’s showground at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.
The ground-breaking deal will see the Kennel Club assisting with the funding of the refurbishment of an existing building at the showground, largely to specifications required for dog activities, and, in return, RASE will maintain and manage the building whilst giving the Kennel Club, Kennel Club registered societies and the dog owning public, significant long-term access to use the facility.
The press release continued, ‘the project behind this proposal is to create a centre for dog shows, training sessions, seminars and meetings – a facility which is in a good central location, and which importantly, can be guaranteed over the long term as being available for use by dog people and the public – in the interests of dogs, dog people and the dog friendly public.
‘The refurbished venue will include hall accommodation, a meeting room, kitchen, toilets and access to free parking, and will be large enough to host two large breed club Championship Shows or one large Open or Premier Open Show at any one time. There will also be provision for a generous number of outdoor rings adjacent to the facility, as well as hotel accommodation on site if required.
‘This agreement with RASE will counter the problem of the reducing number of venues available for dog activities and will provide long term security and a guarantee of availability for dog clubs requiring a venue. For many years dog clubs have paid a large amount of money to various venues, by way of prepaid rentals and advance grant payments, without getting any security for the investment made.
‘The agreement means that the Kennel Club, KC registered clubs and others will have access to use the facility for dog activities on 30 weekends per year, as well as all weekdays and evenings other than those immediately preceding, during and after the Royal Show. This will allow the venue to be used for a wide range of other dog activities, such as training and educational sessions, seminars and meetings, as well as shows. The arrangement is to be made on a 99 year basis, ensuring the long-term availability of the building and demonstrates the Kennel Club’s commitment to the venture.
‘Funding for this initiative will be provided by the formation of the newly founded Kennel Club Educational Trust, which is seeking charitable status. The Educational Trust aims to run projects, such as the one at Stoneleigh,
and to provide opportunities to educate the public about dogs, and to promote positive messages about the responsibilities of dog ownership to the general public. The Kennel Club has agreed to make a substantial donation to the charity, to enable the project to be carried through to completion.’
Ronnie Irving, Kennel Club Chairman, said, “The Kennel Club has been looking for a way to meet this need for a long time.
For many years, the world of dogs has been making a considerable investment in venues for Shows and educational activities, without getting any long-term benefit from this. The provision of a permanent, purpose-built dog show and training centre in a convenient, central location will be of massive benefit to all concerned, in the interests of dogs, dog people and the dog friendly public.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with such a like-minded and reputable organisation as the Royal Agricultural Society of England, and we look forward to an agreement that will undoubtedly benefit form the specific expertise and input of both of the organisations involved.”