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01 June 2020

Racing returns today at Newcastle, and the team has been busy during lockdown

The date has arrived when the first runners in 75 days step out onto any UK racecourse. Weeks of preparation across the industry has led to the sport being ready to return safely ‘behind closed doors’ – as it is being run in France, Germany, Australia and the United States.

The industry has been working with Public Health officials to protect those coming back to work; the local communities in which events take place and the wider public against the risk of transmission of Covid-19. The ambition has always been to meet strict conditions that allows the resumption of a sport that generates £4.1bn annually and is at the heart of many rural communities in England, Scotland and Wales.

Over 1,000 emergency supply boxes

At the start of May, Newcastle Racecourse, the Reuben Foundation and Newcastle City Council announced a scheme to support the local community with the purchase and distribution of over a 1,000 emergency supply boxes, each containing a range of store cupboard and bathroom essentials.

The team at Newcastle Racecourse, alongside colleagues at other Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) venues in the region, has been working with its Council to identify the needs of people in the region who currently face real hardship throughout the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The Racecourse has been able to work with nationwide suppliers to put together these emergency boxes, with the generous financial support of the Reuben Foundation.

Newcastle City Council have distributed these boxes as part of the Citylife Line service which has been set up to support vulnerable residents across the city and coordinated volunteer responses. Further information about Citylife Line can be found at  

Executive Director of Newcastle Racecourse, David Williamson said: “We very much hope that the boxes will go some way to helping those who are finding things difficult at the moment and to whom we would like to wish all the very best.”

Newcastle City Council Leader Cllr Nick Forbes added: “The racecourse is an integral part of the city having been on Gosforth Park for 138 years. It is very much part of our community and so we are extremely grateful that ARC and the Reuben Foundation are reaching out to help that community in these most difficult of circumstances. Through our CityLife line we will make sure these donations are directed to where they are most needed.”

Find out more about racing’s wider community response to the coronavirus outbreak here:

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