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21 February 2019

Take The Reins; a busy year

What is Take The Reins?

Take the Reins (TTR) was established in 2014 to engage deprived communities with the racing industry.

TTR aims to support young people’s access to the industry and showcase what it has to offer in building young people’s skills and knowledge, and presenting the sport as an avenue for employment. TTR is providing enriching activities, vocational training, mentoring and support to ‘youths at risk’ in some of the UK’s most deprived communities.

Founding partners, the charity Active Communities Network (ACN) and Community Interest Company, Flying Futures (FF) have embarked on a pilot programme trialling two approaches to getting more young people interested in racing and widening opportunities to access a career in the industry.  The programme is supported by Lingfield Park to provide access to opportunities at the course and wider resort, while in the north FF are working with the Northern Racing College, Richard Fahey Racing and other local yards to improve pathways into stable yards.

Listen to Debbie Hay, Head of Commercial and Partnerships at Lingfield Park talking about their approach to community engagement and how Take The Reins is a part of this. Debbie was recently a finalist for the Rory MacDonald Community Award at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards for her efforts to connect racing with its communities.

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Lingfield’s Debbie Hay on Take The Reins and Lingfield’s community engagement activity

What has been done so far during the pilot?

Since the start of a pilot, which is supported by the Racing Foundation, over 1,000 young people have received informal education support to gain a broader insight into the industry, through schools and community groups within the target areas. The delivery partners are working with specialist youth and community development workers to challenge perceptions and build greater linkages with the industry. Fifty young people will access employment opportunities within stables, yards and a racecourse-based environment. Once the pilot phase has been completed, an impact study will take place to shape the future of the Take The Reins programme.

Students experiencing a day at Lingfield Park

What’s next?

During National Careers Week two showcase events will be taking place:

Firstly, on Friday 8th March a group of 12 young people from London (Lambeth and Southwark) will visit Lingfield Park and receive a comprehensive tour and inspirational sessions at the course. They will visit all areas of the course and receive further information of wider employment and careers opportunities. The South London group would never have been to a race day before and the event will be supported by Careers in Racing.

We will be following the progress of Ellie Cross, a young person who has graduated from the programme. Ellie now works in the industry for Jedd O’Keeffe but was initially engaged through the TTR project.

Ellie was exposed to the industry via a TTR school assembly before being inspired following a visit to Richard Fahey Racing at Musley Bank. Further encounters with jockeys Adam McNamara and Sammy Jo Bell encouraged Ellie to join, and subsequently graduate from the Northern Racing College.

This showcase will also highlight that Flying Futures are reaching groups who are traditionally not offered careers advice in relation to the racing industry through their school environment.

What is National Careers Week?

National Careers Week (NCW) is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK. The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people with their choices upon leaving education.

Take the Reins logo

Take The Reins – a genuine collaboration

TTR has a national advisory board made up of representatives from Lingfield Park (owned by Arena Racing Company); Richard Fahey Racing; Racing to School/ Racing Together; Careers in Racing and the Northern Racing College. The group is completed by both delivery partners Active Communities Network and Flying Futures. The group convenes regularly to ensure the programme has a joined-up response to improving careers access in the industry. The Grant giver supporting racing-related projects, The Racing Foundation has funded the pilot phase of the programme. This summer an impact assessment will be produced with recommendations for the future direction of the programme.

To keep up with the latest activity follow @_TakeTheReins on Twitter.

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