Aintree celebrates community partner Everton in the Community’s 30th birthday
Set up in 2014, the Aintree Community Programme (ACP) aims to use the power of horseracing and the Grand National to inspire positive action and experiences for their community. Aintree has worked with some fantastic partners, including Liverpool FC Foundation; Alder Hey Hospital; RDA; Racing to School, The Peter O’Sullevan Trust; Veterans of Sefton and Liverpool. One partnership that the racecourse is particularly proud of is with Aintree’s neighbours, Everton in the Community (EitC) that celebrates its30th birthday this year.
Since the start of the Aintree Community Programme, Everton in the Community has been present and involved in programme activity at the racecourse. EitC works across all three themes: Health and Wellbeing, Education and Enterprise and Community Engagement.
A partnership celebration event was held at Aintree Racecourse earlier this month, which showcased three of these joint programmes: Riding for Disabled, Dementia ‘Passing on the Memories’ Grand National Tours, and Military Veterans.
Working with Riding for the Disabled (RDA) charity, young participants from the Everton FC’s official charity were given the opportunity to ride horses around the iconic parade ring at Aintree for the first time.
“It’s great for the children because it helps them develop a lot in terms of self-esteem, confidence and socialising,” said Mike Salla, Director of Health & Sport for EitC.
“Initially a lot of them are very nervous and tentative but once they get involved with the horses they love it. We’ve worked in partnership with the Aintree Community Programme for a number of years now and it’s developed a lot more in the last two or three years. The collaboration has been great.”
Everton FC ambassador Graham Stuart also popped along to join in the fun. “It’s a great event at probably the most famous racetrack in the country,” he said. “The kids get the chance to come along and see all the magnificent facilities and obviously the bonus for them is the opportunity to get on a horse and have a ride around. They had a great time and it’s just a fantastic day for them.”
As well as local children, EitC and Aintree also arranged Grand National Tours and lunch with Aintree’s historian, Jane Clarke for a group of ex-servicemen and women. Some of these beneficiaries are from the new Military Veterans programme at Aintree, as well as people from the ‘Passing on the Memories’ Dementia Group. The latter programme has supported over 250 people over the past three years.
“The veterans did a tour with a historian who talked them through the history of the venue,” said Salla. “It’s great for them to reminisce and bring back memories to stimulate conversation.”
Grant Rowley, Jockey Club Racecourses NW Communications Manager, said: “The Grand National is the People’s Race and community engagement is at the heart of everything that we do at Aintree. We’re fortunate to be based in a fantastic sporting city and have a very passionate and welcoming community around Aintree and the wider Merseyside region.
“Since its launch in 2014, the Aintree Community Programme has gone from strength to strength and we are fortunate to work with Everton in the Community, which is an inspiring community programme and one of the best in sport. We’re also very grateful for the support of the Peter O’Sullevan Trust that has helped us develop a state of the art facility at the racecourse for all of our community activity – The Peter O’Sullevan Community Hub.”