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09 January 2024

Racing to School posts another record year for participation 

Racing’s smallest charity, Racing to School, is delighted to report another record year of participation in 2023. In its 22nd year, the organisation inspired over 16,200 young minds across 410 events nationwide. The work reached diverse groups and the charity grew its work specifically with young people identified as having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Over a quarter of those engaged are located in inner city, rural and deprived areas. 

John Blake, Chief Executive of Racing to School said: “The success and value of the charity’s programmes are always measured by the evaluation of our young participants and their teachers, tutors and carers. Each year our small team works to improve on those positive outcomes and to meet a growing demand from a diverse range of organisations, and from our partners across the sport. We see existing and new partnerships as vital in maintaining expansion this year. 

“We’re thankful to the Levy Board, in particular, for their ongoing trust and investment in our community work with young people and to so many fantastic racecourse colleagues and other funders that see racing’s capacity to support young people’s learning as a key contributor to the sport’s sustainability.”   

In this bumper year of activity, two new initiatives: Festival Monday and Leger Wednesday broke fresh ground in connecting the charity’s young beneficiaries with the heritage of the sport through collaboration with long-term industry partners, the Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company. These events are firmly in this year’s calendar, with plans to increase their scale and impact. 

The charity’s team of dedicated supporters grew, and Leonna Mayor was welcomed as the latest Ambassador among many other well-known industry names who kindly champion this unique work inspiring young minds. Camilla Dutton and Andrea O’Keeffe strengthened the charity’s Board of Trustees, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm. 

Last year, Racing to School caught up with some alumni, including Archie Burgess who is now employed with trainer Andrew Balding.  

Archie reflected on his experience with Racing to School, saying: “I knew a little about the industry before the day at Lingfield, but on the day I learnt many different pieces of information about different opportunities – for example a jockey’s lifestyle compared to a valet’s or steward’s and also the care and welfare of the horses on a raceday and what is being put in place to maintain the integrity of the sport.” 

Racing to School looks forward to building on the success of 2023 with exciting new collaborations while nourishing its existing partnerships with valued supporters and longstanding beneficiary groups.   

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