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Explore British Racing’s Directory of Community and Education Activity…

The Directory maps nationwide activities from over 130 organisations that are harnessing racing’s assets to help people develop skills, increase physical activity and create a more diverse and inclusive sport.

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05 January 2022

British Racing’s Community Activity grew by 44% in 2021

Over a quarter of British racecourses served as vaccination hubs.

British racing’s community activity grew by 44% in 2021 according to its Directory of Community Engagement and Education Activity, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

“Racing Together, the umbrella partnership for community-facing activity, is pleased to report that the challenges of the pandemic are being met with a determined and creative response by the sport, which continues to give back a range of voluntary support to help its communities, many struggling in the crisis,” said John Blake from Racing Together.

“There are ambitious plans in motion for 2022 across many partnerships and key issues, such as education, mental and physical health, and connecting the public to the very best attributes and opportunities the sport offers – to both humans and horses. This work is now fundamental to how the sport creates a sustainable future within society.”

Among the key achievements in 2021 were:

Coronavirus response

Over a quarter of British racecourses served as vaccination hubs.

New programmes

Newmarket Pony Academy, Riding a Dream Academy, Autism in Racing and Racing Media Academy all launched in 2021 with exciting plans for the year ahead to expand the connection between racing and its communities. A new education and community Beacon programme is being created with Yorkshire racing, while a project centred on Epsom racecourse and its neighbouring education providers is being developed drawing on the activities and impact of the existing Aintree and Newmarket Beacons.

The sport as a powerful fundraiser

The WellChild Gold Cup is a landmark charity partnership between racing and a nationwide charity, raising over £200,000. Betting and Gaming Council members donated £1.25 million to Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, the three Armed Forces charities and Care radio from the Britannia Stakes’ profits. The Magnolia Cup at Goodwood raised £230,000 for SmartWorks charity. Riders in York’s Macmillan Charity raised over £150,000. The Burrow Seven syndicate has donated £100,000 to the MND Association since it began.

Diversity and Inclusion

Racing celebrated Pride Month and joined the Rainbow Laces campaign with its own ‘Racing is Everyone’s Sport’ messaging, while British racecourses joined the global Sunflower Lanyard Scheme via the Racecourse Association to recognise and offer assistance for racegoers with hidden disabilities.

Heather Small performed at Lingfield Park for a United Against Racism event in partnership with Take The Reins.

Racing Together is proud to continue as the communications hub for the Diversity in Racing Steering Group, and well as being a signatory to its Industry Commitment.

Workforce Development

The British Racing School and the Racing Foundation launched an industry-wide Kickstart programme to offer government-funded working opportunities with specific support for racing organisations and kickstarters. Toxteth-based Park Palace Ponies held a pop-up riding school at Aintree to offer families a lifeline during summer holidays. Ascot welcomed over 600 family members for its Sebastian’s Action Trust ‘Christmas in July’ event.

A First National Racehorse Week

The first National Racehorse Week saw 132 racing yards open their doors to the public and over 600 young people were engaged with specific activities via education charity Racing to School. A new initiative was launched that took former racehorse Ouzbeck to a Marlborough care home in partnership with Greatwood and Retraining of Racehorses to pilot new ways for the public to engage with horses in community settings.

Racing-wide partnerships

During 2022, British racing will give over 35,000 tickets to key and emergency workers through a new partnership with Blue Light Card, the Racecourse Association and Racing Together. This is in addition to a ten-year-old partnership with Tickets4Troops donating over 1.5million tickets to members of the armed forces and their families.

Racing Together’s Directory of Community Engagement and Education Activity celebrated its first birthday and now lists the community activity for 147 organisations across the sport, highlighting the diverse and local focus of this work. A link to the Directory to enter and update initiatives is here.

Ambitious future plans

The sport is already gearing up as a community asset to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Many of the new pathways being created to reach young people from all backgrounds and in different settings will bring together the efforts of different charities and other organisations. Education charity Racing to School will reach its 200,000th beneficiary by March.

Following the formation of the Racing Together Subcommittee in 2021, and the feedback from the current industry webinar series, an ambitious plan is taking shape to further support the sport’s work in the area of community engagement and education activity, both to help those connected to the sport, and to ensure racing’s sustainability as an important part of our communities and wider national life.

Racing Together Aims:

  1. Grow Research and Evidence-base: to measure the sport’s community engagement and education activity and assess areas for growth.
  2. Education and Development: to raise awareness and further educate the sport about the importance of community engagement and education. To continue to grow communication and sharing the best programmes more widely.
  3. Specific Programmes: to support and promote emerging programmes and initiatives.
  4. Covid recovery: support racing organisations to recover and build upon their community programmes.

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