Racing to School’s day at Sandown marks 200,000th beneficiary
Racing to School is celebrating a significant milestone on Tuesday March 8th at Sandown Park as it reaches its 200,000th beneficiary.
This landmark coincides with the education charity’s 21st anniversary, during which time it has worked with racing and its venues to inspire young minds through free, interactive, and healthy outdoor learning activities.
Over 60 pupils from nearby Box Hill School will attend Sandown and are among 16,000 young people from all backgrounds who this year will experience a unique programme aimed at improving school subjects and offering a VIP introduction to the national sport of horseracing.
Since the programme’s inception in 2001, Racing to School’s small team has worked to build a truly nationwide offering to diverse groups of young people to enjoy the unique and exciting thrill of horseracing through learning. The charity offers most of its beneficiaries their first experience of the sport, which against the backdrop of the missed opportunities for learning outside of the classroom since the Covid-19 pandemic, has meant that the demand for Racing to School’s programmes has never been higher.
Racing to School’s Chief Executive John Blake said: “We are both happy and relieved to reach this important milestone in our charity’s history. The plan was to get there last year, and we are so grateful that our young beneficiaries are now able to experience the inner workings of a race day and watch the live action.
“We have so many people to thank for their support, from our young people, their schools, colleges and Pony Clubs, to our loyal funders, in particular The Levy Board, and the generous partnership built up with racecourses nationwide. We have a skilled and passionate staff team who enjoy the wisdom and commitment of the charity’s Trustees, which combined have allowed us to reach such a significant landmark and to accelerate again with our plans for expansion.”
The Year 7 and 8 students from Box Hill School will have the opportunity to explore Sandown’s facilities as one giant outdoor classroom, learning about the local history of the course and participating in fun and inclusive maths-based activities that bring their learning to life. They will also be joined by one of the charity’s ‘graduates’, Meg Lyth, who was inspired to join the industry after attending a Racing to School day for Pony Club members at Sandown in 2018.
Taking all the advice and resources that were given to her on the day, Meg successfully applied for a place on the British Racing to School’s training scheme. She went on to win their Female Apprentice of the Year Award, and her career is now going from strength to strength under the guidance of Emma Lavelle at her training yard in Marlborough: “I would not be where I am today without the Racing to School event at Sandown,” said Meg.
Meg is joining the school group at Sandown to share her experiences, and perhaps spark a lightbulb moment for the first of the next generation of 200,000 Racing to School participants.