KENNEL CLUB SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING
7 NOVEMBER 2017
Address by Kennel Club Chairman, Simon Luxmoore
Before we move to the various proposals and presentations before you today, I wanted to talk to you about a number of matters not covered elsewhere on your agenda and to update you on the latest work being undertaken by the Kennel Club.
Firstly I would like to welcome the Kennel Club’s new Chief Financial Officer, Kevin McGuirk to his first general meeting since joining us. Kevin’s arrival follows the departure of Douglas Holford who was our Finance Executive for the past seventeen years.
I’m sure that both Kevin and Doug would be pleased that puppy registration figures for the first nine months of this year were almost 10,000 higher than those of the previous year, a rise of 5.6%. It is therefore looking very likely all being well that we will see the second consecutive annual increase in registrations after a few years of reductions prior to that.
Just a few weeks ago, we held our Eukanuba Discover Dogs show at our new home at ExCeL London. This was the third year in our new home and was an outstanding success, with visitor numbers jumping from just over 26,000 last year to over 33 and a half thousand this year, an increase of 28% per cent. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Kennel Club’s President, visited the event on the Sunday.
This was the result of a carefully integrated campaign between the marketing and press teams, which included changing the focus of the advertising campaign for the show, including a greater emphasis on the use of social media. Almost all of the 219 breeds of pedigree dog which the Kennel Club recognises were present, including two new breeds recognised this year, the Russian Toy and White Swiss Shepherd Dog.
These new breeds are a further sign of the truly global nature of the dog world nowadays, and we were delighted to welcome representatives from thirty different nations to the International Congress of Kennel Clubs which we held back in June. This proved to be a great success and a very enjoyable event, which was conducted in an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship throughout.
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Other significant events since we last met in May, and indeed since I last wrote to you in August, were the openings of our two latest properties. We held the official opening of our Emblehope and Burngrange Estate in early September which included a tour of the estate and its facilities, and the opportunity to accompany a mock field trial. We are now well underway with our aim to develop the estate as a centre of excellence to support a wide range of working dog activities.
Just a few weeks later, we opened our new offices in Aylesbury, having moved a matter of yards away from our previous home. I am very pleased to say that the move into the new offices went very smoothly and there was no down time to any single service during the transitioning of both service and staff to the new building.
The Kennel Club now has a significant interest in property which is predominately freehold or long leasehold. Through a property group, chaired by Steve Croxford, the property portfolio is being consolidated and managed to ensure that, through individual planned programmes, the value of each asset is maintained and that we are compliant with necessary government regulations.
A number of enquiries have been received from clubs and individuals interested in exploring opportunities to develop facilities for dog activities and these will be considered by the property group if they are supported by a business case demonstrating, amongst other things, the regional market needs and indications of commitment to support from clubs in the region.
Other opportunities, such as partnerships with like-minded organisations are being actively pursued with a view to providing facilities for dog owners and their dogs.
Over the course of the past few months, we have also held three very successful Kennel Club Question Time events at Newbury, Brands Hatch and Cambridge. We have had an excellent turn out at all three and both I and the rest of the panel were certainly kept on our toes by the range of questions posed at each event. We are planning four of these events for next year rather further afield than the South and Southeast.
It is true to say that the subject which elicited the greatest number of comments and queries was the new Judges Competency Framework, which will begin in 2019. Before 2019, the new system is being piloted by 14 breeds across all seven groups and will run alongside the current system of judges’ education and approval for three years and be fully operational in 2022. The breeds involved in this pilot are treading fresh territory along with the Kennel Club and we are most grateful for their assistance. This will be a proper pilot scheme and the feedback received from these breeds will be vital in our fine-tuning of the JCF before it is finally rolled out in 2019.
I am aware that we have plenty to discuss on today’s agenda so I shall bring this item to a conclusion. I hope that this has given you a flavour of what the Kennel Club has achieved since the AGM in May.