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18 December 2023

A Christmas message from Racing to School

This year, we are incredibly proud to have supported the learning of over 16,000 young people at 410 events, another record year of participation for the charity.

Our mission remains to offer our unique, free-to-user outdoor and inclusive learning opportunities to a diverse range of young people across Great Britain –  this would not be possible without the generous support of our partners and donors.

2023 in numbers

Our Impact

The charity’s Programmes are designed to embolden and engage young minds. As the poet Sir John Betjeman wrote: ‘Childhood is measured out by sounds and sights and smells, before the dark of reason grows.’
Feedback from pupils and teachers tells us that our activities continue to inspire, with one young person reflecting what so many tell us:

“The Programme taught me so much about horseracing. I’ve learnt how maths is used in everyday life. This is the best school trip I’ve been on.” (Participant on a Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust-funded day)

For most of our beneficiaries, their experience with Racing to School is a first interaction with horseracing. It also provides the unmistakable and indelible ‘wow’ moment that only comes when a young person first sees a racehorse (if not any horse) so close-up.

Growing through partnerships

Racing to School is the largest community programme operating across racing, but we look inwards as well to ensure that we work with partners to achieve our shared aims more quickly. New initiatives such as Festival Monday and Leger Wednesday broke new ground in how they connected young people with the heritage of the sport, strengthening our partnerships with The Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company. Look out for these events scaling up next year.

Leger Wednesday took place in the middle of the third National Racehorse Week. This week is firmly in the charity’s calendar as an opportunity to take our education work into friendly training yards nationwide, for our young people to learn even more about the sport and its stars.

Our work in collaboration with the Pony Racing Authority and Pony Club to deliver the Pony Racing Pathway completed its third year.  A total of 56 events took place at racecourses and camps for Pony Club members and young people interested in discovering more about the sport’s many career opportunities.

Partnering again with The Racing League made for another busy summer period and it was great for our team to meet so many young people and families, some of which had attended more than one of these days. The queues for a riding lesson on our equicisers rivalled most of the ice creams vans this year and it was good to interact with an increasingly diverse group of racegoers at these fixtures.

A commitment to building on success

This year, we introduced a Teachers’ Advisory Group with representatives from Primary, Secondary and Special Educational Needs (SEND) schools to help guide our work, as we remain committed to review and development of our programmes, with the needs of beneficiaries in mind.

We were pleased to renew our national accreditation, the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge that ensures we provide high quality, memorable outdoor learning experiences at each of our events – over 400 days this year.

The team was proud to contribute to the British Horseracing Authority Parliamentary Reception, showcasing our community work and championing the sport to key allies and decision makers. We made good connections that day, and through a referral from Newbury’s MP we look forward to welcoming some of her local schools to an activity day next year.

Beacon Projects continue to shine

In its eighth year, the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project grew and combined with the primary schools Under Starters’ Orders programme, our team worked across 65 activity days supporting the learning of Newmarket’s young people. Dubai Future Champions Education Week in October saw some of racing’s key organisations open their doors to Year 8 pupils, providing invaluable insight into the wide range of roles supported by the industry.

The Aintree Beacon Project  supported over 1,100 students in Merseyside and the borough of Sefton through a series of 16 curriculum-based activities days, including Pony Education Days aimed at Year 5 pupils offering them the experience of learning to ride and care for these special animals.

Our dedicated people

We are so grateful to our team of Ambassadors who support us in many ways throughout the year, and were pleased to welcome along Leonna Mayor. She joins other well-known industry names who kindly champion our work inspiring young people nationwide.

Our own small team grew again, this time to welcome Florence Cain, Fundraising and Communications Executive for Racing to School and Racing Together. We also welcomed Jen Gates, Fundraising and Communications Manager for Racing to School. Our dedicated board of Trustees was strengthened with the addition of Camilla Dutton and Andrea O’Keeffe, who bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to support our ambitions.

Racing Together Industry Day

As lead of the Racing Together partnership, which showcases the sport’s growing commitment to community engagement, we look forward to the next Racing Together Industry Day on February 8th at Chester racecourse. This year’s event is titled,  ‘New routes, new solutions – why community engagement can no longer play it safe’. Early-bird tickets are now on sale and can be booked using this link or via the Racing Together website.

Above all…thank you

We should like to say a special thank you to all our supporters: the Levy Board; racing stakeholders; charitable trusts; racecourses; Pony Club Branches and Centres, schools and colleges and the many individuals that underpin the effectiveness of our work.

As we look forward to 2024, we plan to continue to create, measure and continually improve those meaningful experiences for our young beneficiaries  – we hope that we can rely on your friendship to do this work.

Please consider supporting us today through a donation to our charity; by following our work across social media on
YouTubeX (Twitter)InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn; or by running an event or activity on our behalf (contact

We wish you a happy and restful festive break and look forward to opening up the exciting world of racing in 2024!

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