Having now been in post for four months I very much wanted to give you an interim update as to the changes we have already made. This comes ahead of a full update which I, and the leadership team, are planning to share with you towards the end of August.
Firstly, with regards to the governance, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Sandeep Katwala to the Board. Sandeep will head the new Governance Risk and Reputation Committee that we are planning to implement. Sandeep brings a wealth of governance and legal experience with him in addition to having an extensive background in banking and law. A former Board member of WaterAid, Sandeep currently chairs a human rights charity alongside the Octavia Housing Board in addition to sitting on the Board of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and the Mowgli Foundation. This is a significant appointment and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Sandeep for agreeing to give his time to the sport and in assisting us to broaden its appeal.
As a result of the challenging environment all equestrian sports currently find themselves facing, we have also undergone some Head Office restructuring. This has seen the post of Chief Operating Officer close, along with the Regional Coordinator roles. On behalf of the entire Board I would like to express our thanks to Wendy McGowan and the Regional Coordinators for their hard work and dedication to the sport and to wish them well in their future endeavours.
A core focus for me upon joining, was to ensure that I could get British Eventing to a financially stable position as quickly as possible. This has seen myself and the Board make some radical and, at times, difficult decisions but I trust that our members understand that any decisions made are with the very best interest of the sport in mind. British Eventing is definitely moving to a better place and I feel confident that by the end of the summer we will see a much clearer and exciting path ahead of us.
We have recently reduced the price of the PAYG membership and have also introduced a GO BE membership which only requires a registration and carries no membership fees. We trust that this goes someway to assist the impact of the current financial climate and also assists those members who had fed back a need for unpublished results competitions that young horses could be competed at.
Training has also been an area that we recognised was of great value to our members and I am delighted to say that, as a result of the generous sponsorship from David Howden, we are now in position to offer training to all members of all capabilities. The syllabus is currently being written for the Howden Regional Academy structure in addition to the Howden Talent Academy and the Howden Young Horse Academy. I will be able to share more news on this in the next update, but in the meantime I am able to confirm that we will be taking eighteen riders to Millstreet this year and we expect the infrastructure for the regional training to be in place by the autumn.
As always, we continue to be here for our members and would like to thank you for your ongoing support whilst we implement these changes. I would also like to wish everyone the best of success for the season ahead in addition to wishing the British Teams representing us at the World Equestrian Games in Pratoni the best of luck in securing us our Olympic qualification ticket. Also, the Junior and Young Rider teams competing under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF at their European Championships at Hartpury later this month and the Pony Team competing in Strzegom.
I look forward to sharing a more detailed update with you in a couple of months’ time.