Historic livestock club to restructure

The Royal Smithfield Club is to undergo a restructure to reduce its costs and protect its dwindling investments. 

The Club, which was founded in 1798, promotes the livestock breeding industry and was the organiser of the world famous Royal Smithfield Show until it moved from London’s Earls Court in 2004. Since then the Club has attempted to establish an annual national primestock show at a number of venues.

In a letter to members, however, the chairman of trustees, Julian Hopwood, said: “Despite enormous efforts by everyone involved and the support of livestock exhibitors from all over the country the costs have been crippling. These costs, coupled with the 2008 economic collapse, have reduced our investments by less than a third of their level 10 years ago.”

Although the Club has already reduced administrative costs to a level three quarters below its actual costs in 2004 it has concluded it needs to bring its ongoing costs in line with is income in order to preserve its remaining investments and fund its charity work.

Key changes to be made, subject to Charity Commission approval, include simplifying the Club’s structure, dissolving its Council, appointing a board of six trustees, and allowing the President to hold post for up to five years.

Plans for 2015 include a continuation with the Club’s Bicentenary Trophy Award, and to work with the East of England Agricultural Society to develop primestock competitions at its showground. It is also hoping to develop a new income stream by launching a major consumer-focussed British Countryside Show in early 2016.

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