New community asset to launch in 2021: Newmarket Pony Academy to support wide range of young people
The benefits to young people of close contact with horses and ponies are well known and the soon-to-be-launched Newmarket Pony Academy (NPA) will give young people in and around Newmarket the opportunity to make the most of these benefits. Despite being the headquarters of racing, Newmarket does not currently provide an opportunity for its young people to learn to ride unless they are fortunate enough to have family involvement. The Newmarket Pony Academy (NPA) seeks to bridge this gap by creating an opportunity for many more young people.
Andrew Braithwaite, British Racing School Finance Director, said: “The case for racing becoming more open and inclusive is clear and the NPA will allow us and the wider industry to give young people a real insight into horseracing regardless of their background and, for those bitten by the bug, a route into the industry. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their generous support of this project and to the team at Godolphin for their vision and drive.”
The team at the British Racing School (BRS), where the NPA will be based, has been working with local schools, West Suffolk Council and Godolphin to bring the dream of the Academy to fruition. Following a successful pilot and thanks to the generosity of The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and Godolphin, the project is now set to become reality.
Penny Taylor, UK Charities Manager at Godolphin, said: “Horses are the fabric of Newmarket, but the majority of children growing up here have no opportunity to even touch one.We believe we have a responsibility to change that and make the positives of involvement with horses available to as many people as possible.”
The NPA, which is set to launch in April, will operate a range of programmes to meet the needs of different groups of young people, including:
- One-week courses for Year 6 pupils from local primary schools, which will introduce them to ponies while making use of a different learning environment to engage them in core subjects. These courses will build on the curriculum, which students are studying, while also building confidence and resilience.
- Breakfast, afterschool and holiday clubs for local young people identified by teachers and social workers as at risk of being drawn into criminality or likely to face challenges as they move from primary to secondary school. It is hoped that engaging with the NPA regularly will give these young people a positive constant in their lives.
- One day per week course for students from The Newmarket Academy Polaris centre. The centre provides bespoke and individual education for young people in Years 7 to 11 with communication and interaction needs. It is well established that interaction with horses and ponies is of great benefit to this group of young people.
- Working in partnership with existing urban riding clubs such as the Urban Equestrian Academy in Leicester and the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, the NPA will provide their members with an opportunity to attend residential weeks at the BRS to learn about racehorses and the wider racing industry.
- The NPA will also provide the opportunity to re-establish a Newmarket Riding For the Disabled (RDA) group.
Nigel Payne MBE, Trustee The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust said: “The NPA is a fantastic initiative and one we are delighted to support. Sir Peter was passionate about horses, horseracing and young people and I know he would be delighted to have been associated with this project.”
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, added: “This is a great project and we wish it every continued success. It is part of the Families and Communities approach at West Suffolk Council to help where we can to bring people and community assets together so that ideas like this, which have a real benefit for young people in Newmarket, can flourish and grow. I applaud the work of everyone involved as well as our partners who have brought the Newmarket Pony Academy to life and will help many young people learn new skills and gain confidence both now and in later life.”