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09 May 2024

Racing Together Community Day sets another record for employee volunteering 

A record number of organisations from across the racing and bloodstock industries pledged their support to give back to communities through the fifth annual Racing Together Community Day on May 8th. 

A number of teams were active on the day with other groups targeting their events during the month.   

A warm welcome for the community

John Blake, CEO of Racing Together said: “To see almost 80 organisations sign up to Community Day is a great tribute to the motivation and positive values shared by industry colleagues nationwide.  

“Our team had no need to sell the concept or cajole volunteers who, as in previous years, have mobilised to take their teamworking out of the office, yard or racecourse and into a community setting where their efforts will make a significant difference. Seeing a growth in the support for racing’s charities from their commercial counterparts offering to lend a hand has been particularly pleasing this year.” 

Injured Jockeys Fund’s Clare Hazell delivering donations to foodbank in Lambourn

A huge variety of initiatives have already taken place, from reinvigorating gardens at care homes and hospices to donation drives for local foodbanks. Participation from the UK’s racecourses was bigger than ever – teams volunteered at cafes and foodbanks; organised golf days for racing staff and tidied up local areas among many other activities. Ascot Racecourse ran their ever-popular afternoon tea for carers, supported by the Racecourse Association, who continue to play a fundamental role in driving community engagement within racing. A team from Newbury spent time at Greatwood Charity, where they fixed fences, washed stables and painted barns. 

Newbury volunteers getting stuck in to support Greatwood charity

Multiple trainers also released their staff to help with the effort, with Greenall Geurriero Racing organising an afternoon tea in their local village hall, and Scottish trainers Lucinda Russell and Nick Alexander hosting school groups facilitated by the Scottish Racing Academy.  

In Newmarket, the racing family teamed together to run a coffee morning at The Racing Centre, as well as a big litter pick of the horse walk that combined staff from The Jockey Club Estates, Newmarket Racecourse, The National Stud and Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Colleagues from the European Breeders Fund and Racing Foundation volunteered at the Newmarket Pony Academy, and Godolphin ran an afternoon tea for children with Autism at Dalham Hall Stud.  

Newmarket a hive of activity on Community Day

Over at the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Oaksey House in Lambourn, a group from the Owners and Trainer Liaison at Arena Racing Company helped to tidy pathways and make up Spring planters, while leading jump jockey Sean Bowen was on hand to add to the collection for the food hub at The Lambourn Junction. 

Rebecca Davies, Head of Racing Industry Partners at Arena Racing Company, said: “Oaksey House offers so much support to injured jockeys and injured people within racing, it is a great opportunity to be able to give something back and get together and team build.”

She also championed Community Day as a chance to ‘shout about the good that racing does, as well as highlight the work being done behind the scenes’.

Oaksey House gets a timely spring clean

The Go Racing Yorkshire team was as active as ever in Malton, visiting Camp Hill Trust to help with their work supporting adults with learning difficulties, and a group from the local Malton William Hill will also visit Camp Hill later this month.  

Work in Middleham was incredibly busy with Andrea O’Keeffe leading the charge, creating a memorial garden for a hospice in Harrogate with the support of teams from Karl Burke’s Spigot Lodge, as well as staff from Ed Bethell Racing, Micky Hammond Racing, and the Middleham Trainers Association.  

The visibility of industry teams out in the community is crucial in forging and maintaining bonds between the sport and its surrounding areas, demonstrating that racing does care about local communities and wishes to use the resources available to help those who need it most.  

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