The Greyhound Trust has been given the green light to build a new headquarters facility with 30 kennels.
The charity has secured a site for a 30 kennel homing centre on a 3.8 acre area of land at Peeks Brook Lane near the M23 and Gatwick Airport.
In May, 2018, the trust began work on the project that has been nearly two years in planning.
In the 43 years since the charity was first formed, it has never owned its own kennels, initially relying on the goodwill of its founders to secure the future of retired racing greyhounds by donating kennel space.
As the charity has grown from a handful of branches to more than 50 across the country, the need for a more sustainable operating model has become increasingly pressing. Planning permission has been granted and the first steps will be taken towards what will become the National Greyhound Centre.
Long-standing trustee John Haynes said it is the realisation of a long-held ambition for the charity. He said: “This is something I have envisaged for many years and is even more poignant at this time with the heightened focus on greyhound welfare. Head office and show kennels on site, where the public can visit daily, will be an asset to the whole of greyhound racing.”
While the centre itself will be located in Surrey, its impact will spread across the entire charity, developing new standards of kennelling, welfare, and homing that will act as a best practice model for the branch network. With kennel guidelines from the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) expected to become a legal requirement in the near future, the new centre will be a highly visible sign of the trust's commitment to not only meet, but exceed, the minimum standards.
Alongside spacious and comfortable kennels, the centre will include veterinary facilities, meet and greet areas, ‘real-life’ rooms for transition training, and an array of paddocks and open spaces for training and exercise.
Pivotal to the success of the project is the trust’s management team, led by chief executive Lisa Morris-Tomkins, who said: “This is an investment for all retired racing greyhounds and an investment into their futures, which the Greyhound Trust strongly believes they deserve. Existing homing budgets will be unaffected, so even through this exciting phase, it will be business as usual homing greyhounds.”
The head office team, now relocated from their former base in Worcester Park, continue to support the branch network, with one eye on raising the funds necessary to get the project to completion as quickly and efficiently as possible. The project is ambitious and will need the support of everyone with a passion for greyhounds and the work of the Greyhound Trust in order to succeed. Chairman of the trust, professor Steven Dean: "Whoever you are, whether an individual or a corporate company, there is a way in which you can contribute to this historical and momentous development. I invite all of those who are committed to securing the futures of retired racing greyhounds to work with us to deliver these exciting plans.”