2020 Review: Racing Together
In a year that none of us could have predicted, the sport had set its sights on recording its biggest and best year so far in terms of community engagement and education activity.
Racing Together partners planned a range of programmes: York had a £500,000 target for the Macmillan Fundraising Raceday; Aintree had just partnered with Liverpool FC Foundation and Park Palace Ponies, and many others across racing were planning to expand their own projects to connect with their communities.
Racing to School was aiming to break through its 2019 target of 15,500 young people reached in a year and Racing Together had plans to coordinate the biggest Community Day yet for the sport. An exciting workshop at Ascot in partnership with the RCA was also on the to-do list.
Then, we all know what happened next …
The best laid plans evaporated but this didn’t stop racing from helping its communities, despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic.
Haydock Park and Ascot both provided COVID-19 testing centres and other courses offered their sites to the NHS for blood donations and testing and more.
During #RoyalAscotatHome, the racecourse raised over £400,000 for The Care Workers Charity, NHS Charities Together, Berkshire Community Foundation and the National Emergencies Trust.
Arena Racing Company (ARC) and the Reuben Foundation introduced a scheme to support the communities local to six of its venues, supplying over 9,500 emergency supply boxes for distribution in the areas surrounding Newcastle, Chepstow, Fontwell, Wolverhampton, Great Yarmouth and Doncaster. Newbury, Leicester and Chester all supported food bank initiatives.
A network of Newmarket businesses including the racecourse, Jockey Club Estates, the Racing Centre and Godolphin worked together on a scheme to support vulnerable residents in the town, which has since won a Changing Lives Special Recognition Award at the Suffolk Business Awards.
Racing’s people stepped up to support industry charities, whether through raffles and online auctions, competing in Racing Welfare’s Furlong Factor or taking part in the 9 Lives Challenge for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
More time to study
Racing Together launched an online learning module The Role and Purpose of Community Engagement in British Racing. Throughout this year the team has worked with Godolphin, the Racing Foundation and other industry partners to launch racing’s first Directory of Community Engagement and Education activity featuring over 190 initiatives. This is a fantastic tool for the industry to showcase its diverse community activity but also to help inspire and develop new programmes.
Racing Together is proud to play our part in supporting the launch of Together for Racing International (TfRI) – a global alliance to promote education, community engagement, and career opportunities that connect people with the thoroughbred industry worldwide. You will see some case studies highlighting British racing’s community initiatives on their website; Racing Together will be showcasing more of our partners’ activity on their social media channels during two weeks in January as part of the #TfRIWorldTour.
We are looking forward to reconnecting with our racing colleagues in the New Year, getting our events up and running again safely, and accelerating a new strategy to support racing’s recovery.
Finally, a special good luck message to Hollie Doyle in BBC SPOTY – an incredible achievement to get shortlisted and whatever the outcome, she has been a great asset to the sport and a credit to her profession. Of equal importance are the many nominees for the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards, especially the contenders for the community award – good luck to everyone.
With best wishes from the Racing Together team for a happy Christmas and a successful 2021
You can find Racing to School’s Christmas message here.