GBGB Celebrates Three Years of the Greyhound Retirement Scheme
~ Over 9,000 greyhounds successfully retired through the scheme ~
This month, GBGB is celebrating the three-year anniversary of the Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) – a landmark welfare initiative launched in September 2020 which marked a step-change in GBGB’s commitment to greyhound homing.
Under the scheme, all owners of racing greyhounds must pay £200 towards their greyhounds’ retirement at the same time as registering them with GBGB. When the greyhound enters an approved homing centre upon their retirement, this £200 is matched by GBGB to create a £400 ‘bond’ and is used to cover the costs associated with the greyhound’s stay.
Since the scheme’s launch, over 21,000 greyhounds have been signed up to the GRS and over 9,000 greyhounds have successfully retired with support from the scheme. In addition, over £3.6 million has been distributed to GRS approved homing centres across the country, with new centres accepted to the scheme every month. In order to become approved partners, centres must meet certain welfare standards to ensure the greyhounds in their charge are suitably housed and cared for.
Building on the success of the GRS and the existing network of approved homing centres is a key strand of GBGB’s long-term welfare strategy, ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound’. Launched in 2022, the strategy seeks to further promote and protect welfare across all stages of a greyhound’s life.
Claire Butler, who leads Home Run Hounds CIC based at Aero Racing Kennels in Wombourne, West Midlands, said:
“Being part of the GRS has meant the world to us as an independent homing centre. The financial support from the bond and the expert help and advice available to us via the GRS team is enabling us to be more efficient and effective at finding forever homes for the beautiful greyhounds that come into our care.”
Welfare Manager and GRS Co-ordinator at GBGB, Paula Beniston, said:
“It has been a pleasure to work with so many homing centres, owners, trainers and stadia over the past three years as we got the GRS off the ground and drove it forward. Seeing the number of greyhounds benefiting from the scheme continue to grow each month is highly rewarding and is testament to the enduring care and commitment the greyhound community shows to retired racers. Thank you to all those who continue to do all they can to promote this fantastic breed and to make sure as many greyhounds as possible find loving homes in retirement.”
Mark Bird, Chief Executive of GBGB, said:
“Over the past three years it has been very encouraging to see the GRS welcomed so wholeheartedly by individuals across the sport and by homing centres across the country. The past few years have by no means been easy for the homing community. The pandemic followed by the cost-of-living crisis has presented real challenges when it comes to finding a home for all breeds of dog; greyhounds are no exception.
“And yet, with the support of this dedicated community, over 9,000 greyhounds have retired from their career on the track and been welcomed by new owners. Not only has this meant that more of our former racers have been able to enjoy their retirement on the sofa but their presence has undoubtedly brought much joy and warmth into homes across the UK. Thank you to everyone involved in this effort and in particular to Paula Beniston who continues to go above and beyond to make the scheme a success.”