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25 September 2023

Yorkshire Beacon Programme exceeds expectations in pilot year

The pilot year of the Yorkshire Beacon Programme has engaged nearly 4,000 people through its activities. Events included racecourse-led activity, such as Wetherby working with ‘Wetherby in Support of the Elderly’; Pontefract hosting local ‘Into The Sky Theatre Group’ for young adults with disabilities; Racing to School education days and much more. All nine Yorkshire racecourses installed Sunflower benches to provide a calm and quiet space for anyone who needs it during a raceday.

The vision of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Community Beacon, supported by Racing Together, is to strengthen the connections between a varied and world-class horseracing region and its communities for mutual long-term benefit.

This programme was introduced through a year-long pilot scheme in March 2022 and aligned with racing’s recovery from COVID-19 as the sport reconnected with the public, partner organisations and investors. The video round up below showcases just some of this activity across the region:

YouTube player

Key performance indicators below were created at the outset of the Yorkshire Beacon programme pilot year to allow stakeholders to measure and benchmark activity over multiple years and identify areas for improvement. Initial targets included hosting 10 events and engaging 300 people across  areas of Education and Employability, Health and Wellbeing and Community Engagement.

Charlotte Russell, Go Racing In Yorkshire General Manager, said: “Working on the Yorkshire Beacon through the pilot year has opened doors between racecourses and organisations in the local community, fostering relationships that are continuing to blossom. Being able to connect with a variety of groups in different ways, using horseracing as the vehicle to start a conversation has led to multiple partnerships and I look forward to continuing this work into the future.”

Wetherby in Support of the Elderly activities coordinator, Debbie Todd said of their visit to Wetherby: “It’s great to be able to offer our WiSE friends a trip to the races with Wetherby racecourse being right on our doorstep. Preventing social isolation has always been at the top of our agenda, particularly since the pandemic. As restrictions have eased, our main objective has been to offer exciting and interesting activities to our friends. When Wetherby Racecourse approached us to offer WiSE a day at the races, we knew this was something that fitted in with our plan. Our WiSE friends, many who live on the doorstep, have never visited the racecourse and it’s great to build community relations with local businesses.”

John Blake, CEO of Racing Together and Racing to School, added: “We are proud to support this far-reaching pilot Beacon programme and to continue to showcase and celebrate the collective power of Yorkshire Racing’s activity. The Yorkshire racecourses and racing organisations always go above and beyond to support racing’s national day of employee volunteering each year, Racing Together Community Day. Our thanks go to the Racing Foundation for funding photography and videography to capture the pilot year and support our evaluation.”

The Yorkshire Beacon Programme has been designed to grow organically in support of individual community needs surrounding Yorkshire’s racing assets, and supported by Go Racing In Yorkshire regional initiatives. This has been a successful approach and is important for the continued growth of the programme. Areas for improvement include connecting Yorkshire racing assets more closely, continuing to communicate ongoing work internally and externally, and to seek out opportunities to work with new and existing community groups and programmes to link them with horseracing.

Find out more about the Yorkshire Beacon Programme here.

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