In normal times, this time of year would see Racing Welfare holding Christmas lunches for many of the retired racing staff in our local area. The Christmas lunches are an important part of the festive period for the retired community and when it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to go ahead due to Covid-19 restrictions the team at Racing Welfare came up with the idea of sending out Christmas gift boxes to let the retired community know that they were still very much in everyone’s thoughts.
It is thanks to the generosity of The John Pearce Foundation, who have funded the boxes, and the support of Darren Townsend and the team at Jockey Club Catering that the idea became a reality. Racing Welfare joined with Jockey Club Catering to coordinate not only what would be in the boxes but how they would be packed and shipped and a team of volunteers from both Racing Welfare and Jockey Club Catering packed the gift boxes full with delicious festive treats including chutneys, chocolate Florentines and handmade flaked truffles.
The feedback from those who have received a gift box has been fantastic and has shown the importance of the community work done by Racing Welfare, particularly at this time of year. David Eaton sent the following message on behalf of his father, Peter Eaton from Epsom: “My father has received his Christmas hamper and is absolutely thrilled, he feels very special! Thank you so much to Racing Welfare, you have made an old stable lad very, very happy!”
Finding ways of bringing the racing community together during the pandemic has been a key part of the charity’s work to combat loneliness and isolation during 2020. Projects such as check in calls and the Facebook group, Racing Conversation, have provided lifelines to many over what has been a tough time.
This week has also seen Racing Welfare saying thank you to the racing industry as they have announced that their Covid-19 Emergency Appeal has hit its £500k target. The appeal was launched when the pandemic hit to make up for the huge income deficit that the charity faced as COVID meant the cancellation of their usual fundraising events. It is testament to the generosity of the racing industry that the £500k target has been reached before the end of the year.
The kindness and generosity shown by donors from across the racing industry has been astounding and Racing Welfare is keen to say a huge thank you to each and every person who has donated to their Emergency Appeal over the last few months. From big racing organisations to individual donors, every penny contributed has helped the charity to adapt quickly to the changes this year has brought and enabled them to continue to provide crucial services to racing’s workforce.
Racing Welfare Chief Executive, Dawn Goodfellow said: “I can honestly say that we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the racing community. The news that we have hit our target is a great boost as we head towards the end of 2020 and is a wonderful reflection of the unwavering support we have received this year. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has donated during what has been a tough time for so many.
I very much hope everyone in the industry is able to enjoy the festive period and remind anyone who needs support that Racing Welfare remains available 24/7 throughout this time.”
Racing Welfare is the only charity that supports all of racing’s people – including stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside those working in associated professions – from their recruitment right through into retirement. The charity provides a wide range of advice and guidance services, all of which are completely confidential and non-judgmental. Support is available for a wide range of life’s challenges, including physical health, mental health, bereavement, careers advice, housing, money advice, illness, addiction, relationships and retirement. Racing Welfare’s services are nationally accessible with offices in all of the main racing centres and roving Welfare Officers covering the whole of the country.
The charity owns 164 units of accommodation across the UK, with a focus on providing housing for young people working in racing and those who have retired from the industry which are managed by its housing arm, Racing Homes.
Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel support platform, allows people to contact the charity online as well as through a 24hr telephone line.
Racing’s Support Line: 0800 6300 443
Online self-help resources: www.support.racingwelfare.co.uk
Donate to Racing Welfare here: https://racingwelfare.co.uk/campaigns/donate/