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If there is one thing that Britpop band Oasis gave us it is Don’t Look Back in Anger. So let’s take that to a new level of relevance here.
We are now counting down the hours to a new year. For many, 2021 will be a year to forget. But for London Scottie Club, a year of innovation and widening visibility. A year when we were able to come out of Lockdown in May, and enjoy the biggest turnout for a Walkabout. This greater visibility spurred on the innovation that has ensured that London Scottie Club remains out front.
So now is a good time to reflect on 2021 as well as hope for a better 2022. Our membership doubled to around 90 VIPs (Very Important Pooches) as the Scottish Terrier breed came off the Kennel Club of Great Britain’s “at risk” list. Lockdown had led to an increase in the public’s interest in Scotties once more.
After plenty of Zoom meets in 2020 in the absence of real Walkabouts while the UK struggled with vaccinating the population against Covid-19, we decided in 2021 to change our pace.
This involved beefing up the website, which was relaunched in May 2021. New features and a new colour scheme as we showed that Scotties were “the new cool”.
We celebrated our 5th anniversary in March so that by the time the new website launched we were able to introduce silver cufflinks as a product to celebrate our latest milestone.
The Hyde Park Walkabout meeting in May saw a record 21 Scotties turn out for an emotional post-Lockdown Walkabout in central London. Subsequent Walkabouts’ attendance has come close too! We worked on new ideas for Walkabouts, reaching north east London with Epping Forest as well as deep south to author and Scottie lover Rudyard Kipling’s home in Sussex, as well as Brighton. We thank the National Trust for making us so welcome at Bateman’s Kipling’s home.
The end of the first half of 2021, with the introduction of a new website, required members to re-apply. We tried to make it smooth with a simplified membership application form. We know that along the way we managed to restore most of our members to the Club. Any who did not re-apply we warmly welcome you to consider coming back. Don’t miss out! Look you can do it right now here. It remains FREE to join!
During the second half of the year, the Club moved fast to introduce high tech, with a special system of membership cards, Member Tags, which can be scanned by meeting marshals to confirm who attends the meets as well as to confirm they are bona fide members. The technology was a success and Member Tags become compulsory for all Walkabouts from 2022.
The club also tried to work out where Scotties are in London. Powered by Google, we were able to establish this and still protect privacy of members. This offered not only a fascinating insight but also a chance for members to meet privately when they like. We hope to introduce an interactive version of the map in 2022. it is actually ready. We call it the Scottie Heat Map.
Community is a key mission of the Club. As well as bringing individual members closer together with the Heat Map, the Club has also been ready to help out others who are fans of Scotties. Auntie Didi’s nephew contacted us during the year to ask if we could send a few Scotties to party with the lady who turned 100 years on November 11. We were happy to oblige and we also thank the family for kindly donating for our refreshments at the recent Regent’s Park Walkabout, the last of 2021.
We also boosted our video content on YouTube this year, so much that we hit 100 followers in August, giving us rights to an easy to remember URL from YouTube, and as we end the year, just four months on, we are closing in on 200 followers.
Podcasts coverage was also boosted and we introduced two new series, Scottie MOT looking at Scottie health issues, as well as Collared!, a series of in-depth interviews with Scottie owners. London Scottie Radio is now on 30 podcast platforms, including all the big ones. STECS’ welfare officer Cath Marchbank and Ashgate Grooming’s Jacky Ash are the guest presenters on Scottie MOT. Search for London Scottie Radio in your favourite podcast app.
We also look into 2022. A year when we hope that the pandemic can finally be eradicated. A year of many new innovations from the Club too. One of these you may already know about. We plan to introduce Walkabouts, our most popular of activities, with a theme. We will start Walks using locations from the London 1936 edition of the Monopoly game board. As members attend and scan their presence, so at the end of 2022 one of the regular attendees will win a special prize!
During 2021 we also created a promotional video to explain better to the public why we are dotty – even potty – about Scotties. That film you will be able to view from 31 December at 1800 GMT here.
The video offers also a nice retrospective of 2021. It was incredible fun to make and it would not have been possible without you, the members.
As the Club matures into an established social group, we will also be asking the membership to help us. We will conduct polls on what they want from the club, as well as polls on pressing issues of our time. Please be ready to help shape our next five years.
Wishing you all a Happy 2022.