Industry-wide Initiatives & Case Studies
You will find below some fantastic examples of community, education and diversity and inclusion initiatives taking place across the sport.
Racecourses donating Tickets For Troops
Every British racecourse pledges to support Tickets for Troops each year, which equates to over 94,000 tickets donated since the scheme started.
Scottish Racing supporting Alzheimer Scotland
Scottish Racing and William Hill’s partnership in support of Alzheimer Scotland works with the charity to train raceday staff to be Dementia Friends, while raising important funds and awareness using Scotland’s five racecourses and William Hill’s betting shops to share knowledge.
Using the power of horseracing and the Grand National to inspire others
Aintree racecourse’s multiple award-winning community programme uses the power of horseracing and the Grand National to inspire children and adults alike to be the best that they can be. Their three key themes are Health and Wellbeing, Community Engagement and Education and Enterprise.
Britain’s biggest charity raceday: York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support
Held in June, the Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse raises over £500,000 each year, totalling over £8.5 million since its inception almost 50 years ago.
The day includes a charity race: the Ernest Cooper Macmillan Ride of their Lives’, a skydive, auctions, raffles and bucket collections to support local cancer support services and nurses.
Ascot Racecourse supporting the local community and beyond
“Ascot Racecourse Supports” was launched in 2017 and brings together all Ascot Racecourse’s community and charity work into one programme for the benefit of the local community and beyond. Its goals are to support small, local charities and community groups with a focus on children and mental health issues, in addition to equine charities. Watch their 2020 end of year video below to find out more.
Ascot’s accessibility programme now includes a sunflower lanyard scheme, also in use at Sainsbury’s and some London airports, which allows racegoers to self-identify as having hidden disabilities, so that specially trained members of raceday staff can be prepared to offer additional help should they need it; in simple terms it’s about asking “How may I help you?” when approached. A new Sunflower Lawn is available at the dedicated fixtures, which is a quiet space for racegoers who might be struggling with hidden disabilities and anxiety disorders.
Using racing’s assets to inspire, support and offer opportunities to young people
Take The Reins is a unique collaboration between a charity, Active Communities Network, network partners Flying Futures and key players in the Horse Racing industry. Take the Reins delivers a year round programme of activity alongside local community groups, schools and youth organisations – including research projects, personal development programmes, accredited training courses, ambassador visits, open days and careers routes to utilise racing’s assets to inspire, support and offer opportunities to young people.
The Magnolia Cup
This renowned charity event sees riders who are the leading women of business, sport, fashion and media, take part in the opening race of Ladies’ Day at Glorious Goodwood, dressed in colourful bespoke silks.
The race made history last year, when Khadijah Mellah won the race aboard Charlie Fellowes-trained Haverland, having never ridden a racehorse a few months earlier, and learnt to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton.
The Magnolia Cup is now in its tenth year and has raised over £1.5 million for a number of charities since its inception. The race itself is run over five-and-a-half-furlongs down Goodwood’s straight in front of a capacity crowd of 25,000.
In 2019 the race raised over £200,000 for Wellbeing of Women.
Welcoming Refugees to Beverley Racecourse
Early in 2019, the racecourse was approached by a joint delegation from the Refugee Council, East Riding Council and Recycle. This tripartite were collaborating on a project which saw refugees newly resettled in the area given a bike, trained on road safety, and introduced to prominent businesses and cultural venues in the area.
It was also a completely new venture for the racecourse, who felt that such a bold initiative would make a positive statement to the community about welcoming the new neighbours.
“The best day I have had since coming to the UK! Everyone was so friendly and I have never seen the horses race before. So colourful. I can’t wait to come back”– Haya Attia, refugee
The sport of Arab horseracing is an important part of Syrian culture, and the racecourse team felt that establishing a link with themselves could offer a familiar experience by introducing the refugees to Beverley’s long tradition of horseracing.
How did the initiative come to life?
The planned cycle ride coincided with an evening’s racing at Beverley, meaning a complete racing experience and welcome could be given.
An open invitation was issued to all of the refugees to visit the racecourse again at any point during the 2019 racing season, which has been taken up several times.
“This is a major partnership for us. Refugees still encounter widespread prejudice and to be able to partner with such a respected local institution is immense. Integration is key and we will use this as a future case study to encourage others.”– David Butt, East Riding of Yorkshire County Council
“The event was a great success. The refugees were happy, engaged and relaxed, and reported as thoroughly enjoying their evening. The partners were also delighted with the scale of the welcome we put on, and are hopeful of a more long term arrangement. One unexpected result was in the response from our raceday staff, who assumed a responsibility to extend the welcome, and took the time to chat to the group about the racecourse and the region. Some of the group also expressed an interest in coming to work at the racecourse, which we would hugely welcome as an option to add diversity into the team. We would suggest this initiative is eminently transferable, and offers a huge opportunity to other racecourses to work with the other similar groups around the country to send out a unified message that refugees are welcome within our sport.”– Sally Iggulden, Chief Executive, Beverley Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse encouraging Diversity & Inclusion by Promoting a Forum for Women in Sport
Aintree Racecourse set about creating the Grand Women’s Summit to create a forum for gender balance within the sport of horseracing. The strategic aims of the Grand Women’s Summit also include inspiring women within sport and business to achieve their goals and to highlight the importance of discussing mental health. The event was chosen to be hosted on Ladies Day at the Randox Health Grand National to provide a high profile as well as adding a fresh perspective to challenge traditional perceptions on what is a racecourse Ladies Day.
“The panel supported by the audience created an environment that key topics felt safe to reflect on but also enabled the women in the room to feel empowered by the ideas that were generated. Thank you to the Jockey Club for taking the time to promote such an event in an arena where both men and women can compete competitively on the national stage and feel equal.”– Tracey Neville MBE
Following independent research carried out by Liverpool John Moores University and Racing Welfare, it was found that further work was required within the sport to facilitate a greater sense of wellbeing within the British Racing workforce. With this in mind, the Grand Women’s Summit is seen as a significant event for colleagues from across the sport to gather and openly discuss issues pertinent to their physical and mental health whilst celebrating the achievements of women in business and sport.
The 2019 panel was hosted by mental health campaigner and Telegraph Columnist Bryony Gordon with Olympic Gold Medalist, Denise Lewis OBE, Former Head Coach for England Netball Tracey Neville MBE and businesswoman and racehorse owner Baroness Dido Harding.
“Aintree Racecourse and the Jockey Club are extremely proud of the Grand Women’s Summit. For six years it has been a sell-out event as we have welcomed over 1,000 delegates to be inspired by the stories of women in sport and business as well as the Grand National Festival. Hosting on Ladies Day gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate a new element of one of Aintree’s flagship racedays. It allowed us to grow Ladies Day and make it more meaningful to the sport and to the city of Liverpool. The culture at Aintree Racecourse is always to innovate, and the team and I realised there weren’t many opportunities within racing, or sport, to celebrate a gender balance. We’ve never been afraid to tackle big topics like mental health and the combination of this opportunity and the profile of the event has meant securing influential speakers from the sports and business worlds has been easy.“– John Baker, Managing Director, Aintree Racecourse
- Scottish Racing triumph in RCA Showcase Community AwardIn a competitive category, Scottish Racing’s community programme, delivered in partnership with the Scottish Racing Academy won the Racing Together Community Award on Thursday 10 November at the RCA Showcase & Awards held at Pontefract. The event celebrated Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability, Marketing, Events and Racing Connection. With an ambitious aim to make each racecourse… Read more: Scottish Racing triumph in RCA Showcase Community Award
- Michael Andrews to wear rainbow armband on racecourse debut in Newbury charity raceMichael Andrews has enjoyed a busy career in the few years since completing his degree at Leeds University and embarking on the BHA Development Programme in 2018. Whilst he didn’t have a horseracing background, he started working in racing aged 16, writing form for French races, and has subsequently worked for RaceTech, Racing.com, Sky Sports… Read more: Michael Andrews to wear rainbow armband on racecourse debut in Newbury charity race
- LGBT+ Allyship Webinar – Diversity in RacingCatch up on last week’s webinar, hosted by Vanessa Ryle and featuring the following panel members: racing industry consultant Lee Moulson, BHA Board Member David Jones and Liz Ward from Stonewall. You can find out more about Diversity in Racing here.
- British Racecourses join global Sunflower Lanyard SchemeThe Racecourse Association (RCA) has collaborated with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to formally recognise the global symbol of invisible disabilities, the Sunflower lanyard, at all British racecourses. Sunflower wearers can feel confident when attending events that staff will be able to identify them and offer additional support or time. The Sunflower lanyard is widely recognised around… Read more: British Racecourses join global Sunflower Lanyard Scheme
- To mark Volunteer Week Racing Welfare volunteer Rebecca Elvin tells us about the power of the charity’s weekly check-in calls for tackling social isolation during the pandemicVolunteers’ Week celebrates the contribution volunteers make to their communities and at Racing Welfare this is no better highlighted than by those who give up their time to be at the heart of their check-in and chat calls. The unprecedented curb on social interactions over the past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic has compounded… Read more: To mark Volunteer Week Racing Welfare volunteer Rebecca Elvin tells us about the power of the charity’s weekly check-in calls for tackling social isolation during the pandemic