BHA Chairman Steve Harman is no stranger to the power and value of community engagement and here he reveals his passionate hopes for racing to do even more to help others, in particular by reaching and supporting young people.
I love what Racing Together is doing and how this is all coming together so well. The many people associated with this work are amazing in their commitment and drive.
Part of the BHA’s mission is to support the grassroots of racing, and to focus on those who work or could work in the industry – exposing more and more youngsters to this great sport and to all matters equine is absolutely critical. Keeping racing as part of its communities and as a key contributor to the rural economy is a priority.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with youngsters and community projects for some time. My work with Help for Heroes; Durham University community projects and a range of other outreach activities is very personal to me. I am always humbled by what so many people do – and I do believe that British people, businesses and institutions are becoming much more community-focussed and more supportive of youth development. Keeping racing as part of its communities and as a key contributor to the rural economy is a priority.
Being brought up in a teaching and mining family in Durham, I soon learned that community was everything. Arriving at racing’s door just four years ago, I can confidently say that racing is one of the most caring industries I have ever worked in: our staff caring for horses; our staff caring for each other – and so many emotional bonds shown every day in yards, racing schools, studs, charities and the many racing organisations. The sense of family is just huge …. and by formalising and structuring the support better through initiatives like Racing Together and charities like Racing to School, we can ensure that each achieves much more impact.
It is no secret that I feel we could continue to do a lot more in the life cycle of pupils through primary school through to secondary school, and then on to a potential career in racing. While recruitment is not the main objective of Racing Together, inspiring ambitions and offering opportunities is very much part of community work. I do believe that this direction now being taken is helping complement the sport’s strategy to significantly increase awareness and preference for a career in racing.
As the sport’s finances improve – and they are – there is also more resource for partnership funding, community projects and ‘growth’. This will attract yet more interest and momentum in the great work in place. My message is simple: please keep this up!