How Ascot is helping its communities during COVID-19
The team at Ascot Racecourse was one of the first to mobilise in order to play an increasingly important role in their local community. Whether through monetary and food donations, or volunteering and showing their appreciation for front line workers, Ascot has been fast to respond.
On hearing from Berkshire Community Foundation, their charity partners, that Slough Foodbank were in dire need of food supplies to meet the increased need, they quickly diverted £6,000 from their annual community fund – the biggest single donation the foodbank has ever received – enabling them to immediately purchase £3,000 of food via Ascot’s supply chain. They have also been able to help Windsor and Maidenhead in sourcing foods via this method.
Nick Smith, Director of Racing & Public Affairs, said: “We are proud to be a part of the national effort to support the NHS and our local charities. Even though we are facing difficult times, it has been wonderful to see our catering suppliers and colleagues all pull together and make a difference in our community.”
The Ascot team have also lit up their CCTV screens with thank you messaging, which can be seen by the public and are turning the grandstand blue on Thursdays. The racecourse has shown support for three emergency appeals from local charitable organisations. A donation of £2,000 cash to First Days Charity that works to provide supplies to children in need, and £1,000 to the Thames Hospice to help with medical supplies. Another £1,000 was given to Dingley’s Promise Charity that helps less abled children and their families.
The racecourse has a team of 16 volunteers comprising employees and colleagues from CSP, to help drive medical professionals to and from hospital sites within Berkshire. A fleet of 10 BMW cars was given to the NHS to pick up doctors, nurses and medical supplies and deliver them to the sites in need, which include Frimley Park, Wexham and Heatherwood. More recently, the racecourse has become a drive-through testing site for NHS workers and family members.
They are also helping Berkshire Vision via their befriending service with employees making phone calls to their isolated and vulnerable members to check they have everything they need and generally brighten what is typically a long and lonely day.
Ascot formalised their Ascot Racecourse Supports community programme in 2017, which has evolved to include education and development projects, direct funding, volunteering, and strong partnerships through their local community foundation.
The Ascot Schools Art competition sits within their community programme and was underway prior to the lock down. Voting has taken place online over recent weeks with the winner being announced shortly. The six winning schools will each receive £1,000 with winning and runner-up artists receiving £50 and £25 in Amazon vouchers, respectively.
Keep up to date with Ascot Racecourse Supports on their dedicated webpage.