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13 November 2019

With the 2019 RCA Showcase & Awards upon us, Uttoxeter Executive Director David MacDonald reflects on the racecourse’s success in winning last year’s Community & Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

The campaign saved lives – it’s a simple as that

I am so proud of our partnership with Uttoxeter Lions that delivered free Prostate screening for the town’s men. I remember turning up for work one morning at the racecourse to be greeted by a long queue of men waiting patiently to undergo their prostate screening. I immediately knew that we had really achieved something in attracting so many men to our venue and potentially saving lives.

Queues at the racecourse for a prostate screening session

It was remarkable that so many who might shy away from visiting their Doctor or hospital were perfectly comfortable popping down to the racecourse to be tested. We had run the event for five years and numbers had grown year-on-year but 2018 took it to another level. In total 510 men took the test, which is remarkable from a population of only 14,000. This was 40% up on the previous year.

This is the amazing bit: over the last five years 1,400 men have been tested with 100 receiving “Red” warning letters and many more receiving “amber” letters. We were told that of those who received letters, 75 would have died if they had not received the screening. Our Community activity had saved people’s lives.

Award was such a boost to the team

Winning the award was a fabulous experience for the team and so many people wanted to congratulate and commend us on the initiative. Our racecourse is at the hub of the community and activities such as this, with the positive message they communicate has certainly cemented that relationship.

This year Uttoxeter has continued to develop our community initiatives. On six occasions a year hundreds of people visit the racecourse to donate blood to the NHS and a few of our team are willing donors. This activity has grown each year  and once again it appears that locals are more willing to visit their racecourse than a medical facility. I am sure that many lives have been saved with blood donated at the racecourse.

Partnerships offer help to more people

Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT) became our charity of the year for 2019 and throughout the year we raised funds to enable BACT to deliver more programmes in the Uttoxeter area, on top of what’s already being delivered in local schools and on the evenings and weekends.

Specifically, BACT has raised monies to deliver some Active Ageing programmes, which will benefit older members of the local community.

When we had to abandon our Ladies day in June we were hugely disappointed. Hospitality was fully booked and all the rooms and restaurants looked magnificent with their floral decorations taking centre stage. It was one of my team who suggested we gather all the flowers and take them to local care homes. Highlight of my year? It’s not The Midlands Grand National or the amazing sold-out Madness concert – it’s the look of joy on the faces of the ladies in the care homes as we delivered the flowers. Less important but worth mentioning was the incredible social media coverage this activity received!

Earning local pride

I believe that if you look after the community then the community will look after you. During my 14 years at Uttoxeter I have worked hard to ensure that residents of the town are proud of the racecourse on their doorstep and fully understand what we do for the community – not just in financial terms. I am delighted to see other racecourses running prostate cancer screening and blood donor sessions throughout the country and hope that our idea inspired others. The Showcase Award enabled us to communicate the message to the whole industry and I am sure that many more lives will have been saved already.

The Uttoxeter team collecting their award from Samantha Quek and Katie Walsh
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