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27 December 2018

Max Fenton, Key Account Manager at Ascot racecourse tells Racing Together about his rewarding experience getting involved in the racecourse’s new volunteer programme.

Proud to be part of the heritage of Ascot

I’ve been at Ascot for five years now, had three promotions in that time having re-located from West Sussex on a short-term contract. I now look after our top 150 clients, getting to know them as well as possible and trying to maximise their experiences, whether it be fine dining, boxes, sponsorship and conferences and events.

For me, getting to meet people from a variety of different backgrounds whilst representing the Ascot brand, with the heritage and reputation that comes with it, makes me very proud to work here.

Why I chose to volunteer

I’ve always been interested in helping others less fortunate, and finding ways to show my gratitude, mainly by fundraising, so far. I raised over £2,000 for Movember this year. I’ve suffered with anxiety over the last couple of years and I’m fully aware of the stigma around mental health.

Volunteering has always been something I’ve thought about and Ascot have given me the opportunity to make my first foray to support others in this way.

Inaugural Volunteer Day at Sebastian’s Action Trust (SAT)
Sebastian’s Action Trust has created the UK’s only purpose-built facility that offers respite holidays to very sick children and their families, enabling precious time to be spent together.

Ascot’s team of 10 got stuck in with creating a new pathway to a tree house, which will be transformed into Santa’s Grotto in time for their children’s Christmas party. Others got involved with leaf clearing, adding lights to the centrepiece Christmas tree and generally making the centre look festive and tidy.

I really had no idea what to expect to be honest, I just knew that Sebastian’s Action Trust sounded like an amazing charity and being so local, we should be supporting as much as we can. The day was amazing, it was set up very clearly with a variety of jobs and as we are normally office-based it was nice to get outside and get our hands dirty.

Learning about the work the foundation conducts was very humbling, along with the fact that in the hours we were there it was the equivalent of someone working a 50-hour week, it really made me think.

Ascot’s Volunteer Programme

The Programme was launched in November 2018 and enables employees to volunteer up to one working day per year to participate in volunteering. Eligible activities include those that support Ascot Racecourse’s CSR programmes or those that are close to the heart of an employee.

The Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) have a dedicated webpage for Ascot, listing volunteering opportunities for employees e.g. Rugby Coaching, Social Media & Website Support etc.  Alternatively staff members can let them know which activities they would be most suited to which enables a matching process to take place.

All companies should encourage volunteering in the community

I think the benefits of volunteering far outweigh a few hours away from the office. It worked really well as a team-building day for us, as well as the more obvious benefits to the charity – I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone and every business.

Ascot Racecourse Supports

It’s been a huge difference to have a central focus for the racecourse through Ascot Racecourse Supports, and having my colleague Jacqui Greet promote a series of events that everyone can get behind, rather than a few of us just promoting different things sporadically. We are proud to be part of this work.

I look forward to seeing what 2019 brings!

You can find a full summary of Ascot’s 2018 community and CSR activities below:

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