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The Directory maps nationwide activities from over 130 organisations that are harnessing racing’s assets to help people develop skills, increase physical activity and create a more diverse and inclusive sport.


 

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The Virtual Grand National

area of interest

Activities:

The Virtual Grand National

participants

Participants:

Multiple stakeholders in support of NHS Charities Together

purpose

Purpose:

Amongst the many initiatives we – and our members have supported – the 2020 Virtual Grand National is perhaps our greatest achievement to date. As the UK Government moved towards ‘lockdown’ in March 2020, live sport shuddered to a halt. This led to many UK showcase sporting events being cancelled with no prospect of restarting for the foreseeable future. One of these was the Grand National, due to take place on 4th April. As one of the most prestigious events on the UK sporting calendar and a globally renowned event the decision to cancel it was a necessary measure but a major loss for the sport and its millions of followers. The prospect of a virtual Grand National utilising the latest in computer generated graphics was some consolation as a replacement. However, without any form of betting on the virtual horses this was not going to capture the public’s interest. The Betting and Gaming Council and its members immediately saw the potential to harness the widespread enthusiasm for betting on the virtual race but rather than to profit from this event the BGC and our members unanimously agreed that it could be used to raise valuable funds to help the UK’s Covid response. It was agreed that all profits from the bets placed would be donated to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation which represents over 140 NHS charities. Agreement was quickly reached with all stakeholders including ITV Racing about broadcasting the event, Inspired Entertainment on developing the race and BGC members to abide by strict rules on the functioning of the race. An initial fundraising target of £1 million was set. Some 19 different operators took part in the event, all promoting the event to their customers, and the race was watched by an audience of almost 5 million people. Most importantly, this one-off event ultimately raised £2.9m for NHS Charities Together to help NHS heroes working on the front line of the Covid pandemic.

desired outcome

Aims:

Improving mental health

Building stronger communities