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05 June 2023

Katie Panagarry is Volunteer Coordinator for Racing Welfare, and she explains what the charity is doing for Volunteer Week 2023 and how you can get involved.

We are privileged at Racing Welfare to have almost 150 volunteers supporting us in carrying out our mission of enabling racing’s people to thrive. My role allows me to work with our amazing volunteers every day. I joined Racing Welfare last September as Volunteer Coordinator and have met up with, worked alongside and supported many of our dedicated volunteers throughout the events, challenges and missions they have carried out.

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The precious gift of time

I am forever in awe of their dedication and commitment to volunteering, and I feel very fortunate to be constantly reminded of the impact of kindness. The most precious thing anyone can ever give is time; when you give someone your time, you give them a portion of your life, and we feel extremely lucky that our volunteers continually do this. Volunteers generally carry out their roles as they want to give back; they want to return a favour, and regularly, they want to make a difference. At Racing Welfare, we are thrilled to be able to offer the opportunity and are forever grateful for the time they give to both us and racing’s workforce.

Help is vital to delivering services

We have two sets of volunteers: events supporters and Check-in and Chat callers. Event supporters help at coffee mornings we organise to prevent loneliness and social isolation amongst retired racing staff, at community events such as Middleham and Malton Open Day, and across various fundraising activities. As a charity that receives no statutory funding, volunteers’ support contributes heavily to our ability to continue to operate and without their support, we wouldn’t be able to deliver.

From contributing to our fundraising targets to preventing loneliness and social isolation, our volunteers have enabled Racing Welfare to do far more than we ever imagined. Alongside the team of event supporters are around 25 Check-in and Chat callers. Check-in and Chat is a service born from increased social isolation recognised amongst communities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a charity, we were inundated with offers from members of the racing community that had been furloughed or were isolating themselves, combined with a list of over 800 members of the racing community who were recognised to be in the vulnerable age category for COVID. So, combining the two, we developed the Check-in and Chat service to offer weekly befriending calls from volunteers to vulnerable or isolated members of the retired racing community. Our volunteers continue to call the particularly isolated members of the racing community and, this year, have already carried out over 200 calls resulting in 11,571 minutes volunteered.

Everyday impact of volunteering

Throughout National Volunteers’ Week, we will be making further efforts to raise awareness of our volunteers’ impact every day while running drop-in sessions for anyone interested in finding out more. The dates of the volunteer recruitment and awareness sessions are:

Monday 5th June | Racing Welfare Office, Malton | 11am – 1pm

Monday 5th June | Racing Welfare Office, Lambourn | 11am – 1pm

Monday 5th June | The Racing Centre, Newmarket | 11am – 1pm

Friday 9th June | Virtual Online Drop-in | 10:30am – 11:30am

Friday 9th June | Virtual Online Drop-in | 2:30pm – 3:30pm

For more information on the community events visit –

For more information on volunteering contact Katie –

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