The Central Bedfordshire Canine Trust was extremely disappointed today; to have it confirmed that the Kennel Club Regional Mentor for the East Of England, Sheena Stebbing was withdrawing her support to Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Scheme members in Bedfordshire as the sessions did “not justify a 5 hour journey so we will no longer be attending your sessions”
The trust however remains committed to finding an alternative solution, and to continuing to provide the sessions under the new group name of the “Central Bedfordshire Instructors Club”
The Central Bedfordshire Canine Trust has been hosting the monthly sessions in Dunstable, Bedfordshire on behalf of the regional mentor to enable local KCAI members the opportunity to attend a session in their local area and work towards the KCAI Scheme and City & Guilds Qualification, as many of the other sessions are a long drive away and there is no other provision in Bedfordshire.
The trust provided the venue at no charge to The Kennel Club or the regional mentor, but charged a token £2 per person fee for refreshments. As the activities of the sessions grew, the trust found itself subsidising the sessions even further by arranging speakers, certificates and administration to the group, it was recently announced the trust would change the pricing to an annual membership of the group of £10.60 per year and just £4 per session attended to cover venue, speaker and insurance costs.
KC Regional Mentor, Sheena Stebbing said in an email to the Central Bedfordshire Canine Trust, Chief Executive, Gary Gregory when the price changes were announced: “leave me no choice but to cancel all meetings at Dunstable in the future”
In a response the trusts Chief Executive said “The Central Bedfordshire Canine Trust offered the KCAI Mentor the use of the venue and has fully supported the KCAI scheme. However when it was first agreed it was not envisaged that the support would extend to sending out certificates, arranging speakers, printing of paperwork or administration. Whilst we willingly have done so to support the scheme and would continue to do, it is crucial that all these costs to the trust are covered. The Trust and myself have to date, been unwavering in our support for the KCAI scheme and the sessions, but the simple fact is that in these economic times, the trust as a charity cannot continue to subsidise the financial loss of these sessions.”
With immediate effect the Kennel Club Regional Mentor, Sheena Stebbing will not be attending the sessions, but the trust is committed to providing support to KCAI members in Bedfordshire as we fear the loss of a support network will undo the progress made so far, in encouraging dog training instructors to sign up to the scheme and gain a qualification the public can have confidence in.
Gary Gregory added: “We do not think it acceptable that KCAI scheme members should have to travel so far for a mentoring session, when they pay The Kennel Club an annual fee for the support and mentoring of a Regional Mentor. We are very disappointed with the decision and would urge the mentor and The Kennel Club to reconsider, the offer of our support and venue is always open, but the sessions must cover the trusts costs. If the distance is too far for the mentor to drive, we would urge the Kennel Club to appoint a more local mentor to better serve its Bedfordshire members.”
The trust is currently working on alternative arrangements for the sessions, and these may include study groups for members to support each other and the continuation of the monthly talks and networking opportunities.
The trust will call an emergency meeting of its management committee on Tuesday 8th May 2012 to decide what alternatives may be found, and will then issue a further release and information.