In this first Racing Together blog post, Morag Gray reveals her passion for racing’s commitment to community engagement, and its potential to do more to help others.
In this first Racing Together blog post, Morag reveals her passion for racing’s commitment to community engagement, and its potential to do more to help others.
Morag Gray was appointed chair of the Racing Together Action Group in 2017. A former front line racecourse executive in Scotland, Morag was a BHA Board member for seven years and is currently a Trustee of the racing charities, Racing to School and Racing Welfare.
It’s well known that racing looks after its own, both human and equine, with the utmost care and support.
What racing does in the wider community is perhaps less visible. Virtually everyday racecourses, horsemen, racing organisations, charities and individuals do valuable work in areas such as education, careers, volunteering, fundraising and improving the environment. It comes as second nature to so many in the sport, but they are usually too busy doing their day jobs to shout about it!
Racing Together was formed to connect under one banner all the great work that takes place throughout the country and to help co-ordinate, support and represent how the sport gives back.
Racing Together was born as an industry initiative with support from Racecourse Association (RCA), and my 10 years working for them in 1990s, and for spells before and after with the Scottish Racecourses, left me in doubt how much racecourses value their place in their communities – their lifeblood.
It’s not just the racecourses that want to be more outwards facing, either. Increasingly, trainers and studs are opening their doors, particularly when it comes to helping support young people. The new Racing Together website will reflect just a few of the great examples of inspirational work across the sport.
My time on the BHA Board gave me a wider perspective of the sport’s potential and how it is viewed. It is clear to me that racing’s reputation is significantly enhanced by its readiness to help others.
Last year, Racing to School took over the leadership of Racing Together and our Board and executives are passionate about wanting to do what we can to expand racing’s community engagement. We can only do this by pulling together and growing our resources, working in partnership with some great organisations, inside and outside the sport. Youth charities like Active Communities Network and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust look on racing as a strong ally, open to helping them support their young people in ways that only racing can achieve.
My racing journey started back in 1988 and at that time the sport felt at arm’s length from those not directly involved with the business of racing. How things have changed, and I firmly believe much for the better. The collective work under the Racing Together banner is a fine example of how talent, enthusiasm and generosity can improve the public’s perception of racing, and of the sport itself.
I am very excited about the future work of Racing Together and how the sport can touch the lives of even more people.