Racing industry to pilot new educational outreach scheme at Aintree

The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are pleased to announce they have awarded a grant of £85,000 to the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (BHEST) to trial a new educational outreach scheme at Aintree Racecourse over the next two years, which will be presented under the newly formed banner of British Racing’s community outreach ‘Racing Together’.  This was launched last week at the House of Commons by the British Horseracing Authority and the Racecourse Association.

The Aintree Beacon Racecourse will see BHEST work in partnership with Aintree Racecourse, The Jockey Club, Aintree Equestrian Centre, the Northern Racing College, Careers in Racing and the Racecourse Association, to deliver and test an enhanced version of the ‘Racing to School’ education programme.

The scheme will work with 10 primary and 3 secondary schools in the local area to provide a series of racing-related educational activities to support the school curriculum. The programme of activities will be cross curricular and will span young people aged between 9 and 16, so that pupils will receive progressive racing-linked education as they move through the school years.  Activities will include pony riding, curriculum based workshops and an enterprise day. It will also promote racing industry careers and offer work experience and stable staff training opportunities for 14-16 year olds.

The pilot scheme will be independently evaluated. If successful, it is proposed that the Beacon Racecourse concept will be rolled out to other racecourses.

Judith Allen, Executive Director of BHEST, said:

“We are grateful to the Racing Foundation for part-funding this pilot scheme. By extending our Racing to School programme we will have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with schools and pupils. As well as assisting pupils’ development, the scheme will increase young people’s understanding of the horseracing industry and inspire some of them to pursue careers in the industry.”

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course at Aintree Racecourse and Director of Aintree’s Equestrian Centre, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting the Beacon Racecourse pilot at Aintree, particularly because our location offers an excellent opportunity to engage young people who are most in need of support.  The racecourse is situated within the borough of Sefton in Merseyside, which is ranked as within the 20% most deprived in the country. 

We are fully committed to promoting community engagement and indeed are offering free access to people in the local community for tomorrow’s Becher Chase Day, as part of Aintree’s own community programme.  We are keen to show our commitment and gratitude to the people of Merseyside at the same time as showing the importance of British racing to local communities, both in terms of economic and employment benefits and the entertainment it provides millions of people each year.”

Ian Barlow, Chairman of the RCA and Racing Together, said:

“Recent work on the industry’s Community Engagement Strategy has highlighted a need for racing to support and engage effectively with its local communities. The Aintree Beacon pilot is an excellent project that should add to the reputation of racing as a socially responsible industry that has a positive impact on the community.”

Chris Mills, Executive Officer of the Racing Foundation, said:

“We are pleased to be able to provide BHEST with the seed funding to help kick-start this Beacon Racecourse project. We hope that the pilot will help establish the value of the scheme to the racing industry and to potential long-term sponsors.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the charity, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales. Under its Articles of Association, the Foundation’s sole aim is ‘the advancement for the public benefit of any charitable purpose associated with the horseracing and thoroughbred breeding industry or with equine welfare, in each case by making grants to charities for such charitable purpose or purposes.

2. The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Roger Weatherby (Chairman), Sir Ian Good, Michael Harris and Kirsten Rausing.

3. Since inception, the Racing Foundation has now granted over £1.6m to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education, training and participation, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.

4. The Racing Foundation recently awarded a grant of £85,000 to BHEST to co-fund the Beacon Racecourse pilot.

5.  BHEST is a registered charity established in 1993 to provide education, training and qualifications in the horseracing industry.  In 2001 BHEST introduced a Racing to School education programme to support and enhance children and young people’s studies of National Curriculum subjects through outdoor activities in the unique setting of racecourses, trainers’ yards and studs.  The programme introduces thousands of children and young people to the sport each year and gives them a practical insight into the many career opportunities within the industry.

6.  A renewed industry interest in community engagement led the BHA and RCA to set up a Community Engagement Steering Group to review existing community engagement activities, identify opportunities to improve and expand this work, and to communicate its impact to enhance the reputation of the sport.  The resulting Community Engagement Strategy is being pursued under the banner of ‘Racing Together’.

7. Racing Together seeks to draw together, in one place, all of the activity racecourses, studs, stables, training providers and other contributors undertake in their local community, and to set out an industry wide strategy, based around a series of short-to-long term objectives, to improve racing’s social reputation, credibility, recruitment and retention of staff and ensure it maximises value gained by a fully integrated community engagement strategy.

8. Education outreach has been identified by Racing Together as an important component of its strategy.  This refers to the collation of racing’s activity around one key theme – education – to demonstrate the depth and scale of the work racing does to enhance and improve education in the communities in which it operates and develop potential talent for racing within schools and racing communities.


For more information please contact:

Chris Mills

Executive Officer

The Racing Foundation

Tel: 07546 048049 


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