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29 April 2022

Autism in Racing Embarks on Second Year

  • Autism in Racing begins its second year of activity to welcome people living with autism to the sport of horseracing.
  • Programme extended to 13 racecourses—next Autism in Racing raceday at York on Sunday 22nd May.
  • Carly Jones MBE and National Autistic Society join Autism in Racing Steering Group.

Autism in Racing, British horseracing’s horseracing’s programme of education and awareness about autism, will commence its second year of activity in the coming weeks.

Founded by broadcaster Bobby Beevers and managed by Racing Together and the Racecourse Association (RCA), Autism in Racing’s first year proved a success with beneficiaries following pilot events at racecourses across the country and the provision of an e-learning module about the condition which was ratified by the Autism Education Trust.

Both the Racing Foundation and the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust will continue to part-fund the programme with the addition of new funders the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) and racecourse donations.

13 racecourses have signed up to host an Autism in Racing raceday in 2022. Aintree, Ascot, Doncaster, Haydock Park and Musselburgh Racecourses will again host events after successful days over the past year and will be joined by Chester, Newbury, Newcastle, Newmarket, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Warwick and York Racecourses. Each raceday will be delivered in collaboration with Immersive Interactive, a market-leader in inclusive experiences. Further venues may also be included as the year progresses.

In addition to the increased number of racecourse events, the support and educational elements of Autism in Racing continue to develop. Racing Welfare’s award-winning Support Line will be available to signpost anyone working within the sport for further information about autism whilst the Racing2Learn e-learning module on autism awareness will be promoted widely throughout British racing.

The steering group to advise and guide Autism in Racing has been extended to allow for additional expertise to develop the programme. Carly Jones MBE, a pioneer within the autistic community due to her work advocating awareness of diagnosis, education and safeguarding of autistic women and girls, will join alongside the National Autistic Society’s Head of Autism Accreditation Christine Flintoft-Smith.

The next Autism in Racing raceday is scheduled for Sunday 22nd May at York Racecourse as part of the Skybet Sunday series.

Bobby Beevers, founder of Autism in Racing, said: “Our first year was a huge success and we very much hope year two continues on the same track. We have developed a support programme which is accessible to anybody, whether they are autistic or not, to learn more about the condition. The aim is that it will encourage further people to either pursue British racing as a career option or choose to visit for a day out.

“To this end, we’re excited to extend our portfolio of racecourses offering Autism in Racing racedays and look forward to welcoming even more families later this year.”

Lucy Gurney, Communtiy Engagement Manager at Racing Together, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association for their financial contributions that enable us to bring phase two to life.

“As we continue to build upon the pilot year for Autism in Racing we look forward to working with our brilliant partners across the sport and beyond to make the sport more accessible and to improve autism awareness.”

Paul Swain, Raceday Experience & Communications Manager at the RCA, said: “It is fantastic to see the Autism in Racing programme return for its second year. We learnt a significant amount from our pilot year which I am confident will positively impact Autism in Racing’s beneficiaries.

“Our sustainable but ambitious expansion will see us take Autism in Racing events to treble the number of racecourses as we did in 2021. I look forward to working closely with the racecourses to create further wonderful days out for our guests.”

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