Get youngsters competing in the field – that’s the message the Kennel Club Field Trials Sub-Committee is keen to get over with the launch of two new gundog initiatives: to create more opportunity for young handlers to compete in age-specific working tests and to encourage registered societies to provide youngsters with competitive opportunities. A grant of £100 will be made to societies that incorporate an under-18s competition into working tests.

Phil Buckley, of the Kennel Club, was enthusiastic about the new projects. “It is extremely important to encourage youngsters to participate in field trials, as it will be them who directly support this sport going forward,” he said. “We are aware that field trial societies and clubs have sometimes struggled to attract youngsters to take part in field trials. It is hoped this new initiative will encourage them to do so.”

Sophie Neary, from Coventry, is 16 years old. She has been trialling for five years and testing for six. “I don’t know many people of my age on the circuit? I think I’ve seen one other person. I work with springers mainly. My grandfather takes me to the events but this year I’m doing my GCSEs and many of the trials are in the week. I definitely think it’s a good idea: there need to be more young people coming into the sport.”

The grants’ one-off payments, one per club will be available for events run from 1 February 2007 to 31 January 2008. The money is intended to go towards organising costs, prizes and promotion
of the event.

For more details, contact Hilary Gould, tel (020) 7518 1059.