Doncaster Racecourse in National community scheme to help disadvantaged young people

Doncaster Racecourse is hosting a series of education racing days as part of a national drive to help underprivileged young people.

Racing Together, British Racing’s collective banner for community engagement, is today delighted to announce the launch of a partnership with Active Communities Network (ACN), an organisation that provides sports-based, personal and social development programmes, accrediting training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people aged 11-25.

Through this partnership Racing Together will have the opportunity to work with more than 1,000 at risk young people in Britain through series of racing education days.

This will provide a racing-based social development programme from three beacon racecourses – Doncaster Racecourse, Aintree, Lingfield Park – with the objective of providing a positive experience for the young people, showing them an alternative path in life and teaching them about the racing industry and career opportunities within it. This will introduce them to a sporting industry that supports more than 85,000 full-time jobs in Britain.

To coincide with the launch, Doncaster Racecourse hosted a special event that will see youngsters aged 17-20 quiz top female jockey Hayley Turner about all things racing. Ms Turner, who recently retired, came second in her final UK race in the Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster earlier this month.

The occasion came hot on the heels of another event at the racecourse last Friday, when young people enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the South Yorkshire venue. They met racecourse staff to learn more about what is needed to put on a raceday and about the racing industry more broadly – introducing them to a sporting industry that supports more than 85,000 full-time jobs in Britain.

The two events came about as a result of a partnership between Doncaster Racecourse and Flying Futures, which delivers a range of community engagement programmes locally on behalf of ACN.

Kieran Gallagher, executive director of Doncaster Racecourse said: “We are committed to providing learning opportunities for young people, which is why we teamed up with Flying Futures, ACN and Racing Together to get involved in this worthwhile national initiative. Some of these young people may go on to pursue a career in the industry so it’s vital that we educate them about the wide range of different opportunities on offer.”

Mark Turner, executive director of development at Flying Futures, added: “Our community engagement programmes have benefited dozens of young people across Yorkshire. This would not be possible without the many fruitful partnerships that we’ve forged with local organisations such as Doncaster Racecourse.

“The benefits of our programmes are vast. Some of the young people who attended the events at the racecourse have gone on to become mentors for others on Flying Futures projects.”

From now until the end of 2016 the three beacon racecourses in the ACN-Racing Together initiative will facilitate the racing education days, with plans to extend their geographical reach in the future.

Hayley Turner, former leading female jockey and ACN ambassador, said: “I am committed to helping young people and promote the sport I love and that brought me so many incredible opportunities. Having recently retired, I am looking forward to working closely with Active Communities Network to support and inspire young people to become more involved with the racing industry and community, especially those from more challenging backgrounds.”

To further increase Racing’s Together’s engagement in the programme, ACN is also offering an opportunity for members of Racing’s workforce to become accredited, with a vocationally recognised qualification, to work with young people using sport to tackle crime. These Racing industry coaches will then assist in the delivery of the days at the three pilot hubs.

Carole Goldsmith, director of people and development at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said: “This is an exciting development for British racing. Racing has a plethora of top-class facilities and career opportunities that, through this relationship with ACN, we will be able to share with ‘at-risk’ young people. Not only will the racing education days provide fun and interest for the underprivileged young people, they will also highlight careers they might have otherwise not known about.

“The vocational qualification that ACN is offering to people working in racing provides an excellent chance for personal development for those working within the racing community. The qualification will allow the holder to work with young people, using racing to tackle their problems. This will help the local community in the long term, as well as providing nationally recognised qualifications for stud and stable staff.”

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