Newmarket’s partnership to help vulnerable residents
Newmarket Racecourse and Jockey Club Estates are working within a Council COVID 19 Steering Group to support vulnerable residents.
The Town Council and West Suffolk Council are also being supported in their efforts by: Tesco; Discover Newmarket; Godolphin; the Newmarket Coronavirus Volunteer Network; Racing Welfare; The Racing Centre and The Newmarket Festival; The Day Centre and Open Door (Food Bank).
The group has delivered over 200 prescriptions and 135 food and essentials parcels; they’ve assisted with well over 400 calls and engaged the help of 225 volunteers.
A spokesperson for Newmarket’s community hub, The Racing Centre, said: “The Racing Centre is playing its vital role within the community of Newmarket by supporting the Newmarket Town Council Community Helpline in its steering group and in a safeguarding capacity.
“John Gilbert, Manager of The Racing Centre, currently supports the helpline as the safeguarding lead dealing with all its concerns, organisation and its proactive approach to the changing needs during these unprecedented times. The helpline has dealt with over 700 requests for support, all of which have been met.”
The Centre is also planning a hardship grant through the helpline for the wider Newmarket community to support those most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Shopping deliveries for isolated residents
A Town Council helpline is signposting residents in need, while The Jockey Club’s role (via all of its Newmarket counterparts) is to take referrals for shopping, so that people who are isolating and who can’t get a delivery slot can have essential items delivered.
Volunteers are calling residents to offer the box scheme and, if needed, take details for an individual shop. Details are passed to Tesco, and volunteer shoppers go in during the morning to collect and deliver using the Discover Newmarket buses. Some boxes are available at no cost, something which was boosted by a generous £50k donation from Bill Gredley to Newmarket’s Covid-19 Fund, through his property development company UNEX.
Food for the body and for the mind
Children from vulnerable families, who are not receiving their usual free hot meals and their families receive a hot meal once a week thanks to the cross-town partnership. The Jockey Club is working with Churches Together, taking referrals via the schools. The ingredients are being funded by the Newmarket Festival and cooked by Jockey Club Estates; The Bedford Lodge Hotel; The Chestnut Group and Montaz, then delivered by Jockey Club volunteers using Discover Newmarket buses. 4 in the first week, 47 meals were produced and this has grown steadily to be between 160 and 180 this Friday. The town’s popular butcher Powters has been involved with their famous sausages being in demand.
Cambridge Science Park businesses have supported the initiative, too, by providing free, educational science leaflets to accompany deliveries, designed to keep children busy during the lockdown. One happy recipient commented: “Oh, it was brilliant and there were books in there for the kids. We are doing science today; some experiments will be fun and keep the kids entertained.”
A team of volunteers
While much of the focus has been around helping the elderly/ infirmed, there is now more of a focus on reaching out to families.
The Newmarket Festival Committee, chaired by Mark Edmondson, CEO of Edmondson Hall Legal Practice and a legal expert within the horse racing industry, is administrating the emergency covid-19 fund and funding food parcels for vulnerable families. It is largely through the committee that the businesses have worked together so quickly and effectively to support residents. The committee has confirmed it will mirror the Racing Welfare hardship fund, using similar criteria but for those with a CB8 postcode who don’t work in racing, in order to give the residents in the town equal access to assistance.