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Horse Racing UK: Major new community engagement initiative launched

At a recent Parliamentary Reception, British Horseracing unveiled a major new engagement project designed to help communities across the country. “Racing Together” will see all of the industry’s community activity brought together under one banner. 

British Racing invests £6.6 million a year in community engagement activities, while members of its 22,000 strong workforce donate 6,000 hours of their time each year towards charitable activity. 

At a reception in the House of Commons, hosted by Ian Lavery MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid MP, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities, Helen Grant MP, and the Shadow Minister for Sport, Clive Efford MP joined over 30 other MPs and Peers to hear about this exciting new initiative. 

Racing Together will promote British Racing’s excellent initiatives in this area and see the industry work collectively to extend even further its contribution to communities across the country. 

The four key pillars of Racing Together’s work will be: 

  • looking after the people and horses who are British Racing;
  • education outreach;
  • helping those who are most in need; and
  • bringing together the communities in which British Racing operates.

A key part of the programme will see racecourses designated as community hubs. The new scheme will see the establishment of Beacon Racecourses where Racing’s educational, wellbeing and community engagement objectives can be delivered.

Through our network of racecourses, and small and micro-businesses across the length and breadth of Great Britain, British Racing brings together communities of all economic and cultural backgrounds, and is the UK’s second most popular spectator sport after football.

As part of the plan, a pilot Beacon Racecourse study has been commissioned to take place throughout 2015 at the world-famous Aintree Racecourse, home of the Crabbie’s Grand National. The pilot project will provide joint learning opportunities for local communities in the Sefton area of Merseyside – the 135th most deprived area in the country of over 32,000 council wards according to Government statistics.

It will also see the trial of Community Engagement Officers who will use racecourse resources to engage with local people. The Beacon Racecourse will deliver an advanced programme of using the Racing environment to teach the national curriculum to children from local schools.

Following a review of the pilot it is proposed that the concept will be rolled out to other racecourses across the length and breadth of the country. Racing Together will also work to ensure every racecourse and major facility will have a community engagement programme and begin work to build on current volunteering initiatives to develop a national Racing Volunteer Network by 2020.

“British Racing has a proud track record of helping communities across the country,” said Ian Barlow, Chairman of the Racecourse Association.  “The establishment of Racing Together will enable us to work together to do even more to support those most in need and work with the communities in which we operate.”

“British Racing is a genuine British success story enjoyed by millions of people every year,” noted Steve Harman, Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority. “And is a significant industry for the British rural economy and driver of international investment in UK PLC.

“It only succeeds because of the tremendous contribution of our workforce, racecourses, education providers and charities, which bring benefits to communities across Britain. Racing Together is our opportunity to give back even more to the communities which support our great industry.”

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