The British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) has announced a £1.1 million support package for the greyhound racing industry, and has received a warm reception from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).
A total of £1.1 million will be channelled into the sport to support three major initiatives aimed at ensuring the survival of the sport as well as the wellbeing of the dogs involved.
“When you’re relying on volunteer contributions which are received six months in arrears, forecasting our income is always tricky, but with all that has happened this year it’s proven a real challenge,” remarked Joe Scanlon, Chairman of the BGRF.
“It is therefore particularly satisfying that the board have been able to find the money to support these very worthwhile projects.”
The largest portion of the funding – £690,000 – has been directed to upgrading trainers’ vehicles with air-conditioning units and appropriate insulation, to provide a safer environment for greyhounds whilst moving to and from the racing tracks.
An additional £310,000 will be invested in the conduction of routine PAS external residential kennel inspections, scheduled to start in April of this year.
Although the GBGB already maintains a budget for trainers’ assistance, the BGRF will provide extra grants to assist trainers in meeting the standards the inspectors work towards.
Finally, the development of independent homing centres for retired greyhounds will receive a £100,000 boost, following the launch of the Greyhound Retirement Scheme ((GRS) in September 2020.
As many of these homing centres are small, charitable and non-profit organisations, the BGRF ‘felt appropriate to endorse these new relationships’ with a series of limited grants, to ensure retired greyhounds have a comfortable life in the independent institutions’ kennels.
Mark Bird, GBGB Managing Director, welcomed the announcement, explained: “We were invited by the BGRF to submit a proposal as to how GBGB might spend the available money on welfare projects.
“We are particularly pleased to be in receipt of this funding as the money we receive via the levy from bookmakers is likely to be significantly reduced this year due to the impact of COVID restrictions.
“This sum will go directly to funding important welfare projects that fall under our Greyhound Commitment, from helping our trainers to improve their facilities to supporting our approved GRS homing centres provide the best care possible for their retired racers.”
In addition to the recent funding announcement by the GBRF, British greyhound racing has also received substantial financial support from the British government, benefiting from a £1 million relief package in January 2021.
However, this funding was largely aimed at ensuring the survivability of the sport throughout the coronavirus pandemic, whilst the BGRF’s investment focuses on the wellbeing of the competing greyhounds.