With around 60 courses nationally what role can horseracing play in the community? That was part of our task earlier this week when we joined the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Racecourse Association (RCA) for their community masterclass up at Aintree in Liverpool.
We were joined by more than a third of all UK courses, as well as a number of racing partners including trainers, stables and industry charities. The morning was all about setting the tone and we heard some great stories about the efforts already in place at Aintree, as well as the great work of the education charity Racing to School and how they use racing to inspire young people academically.
For our afternoon slot we wanted to get all those present thinking about what they could do when they went back to their courses the next day. Through a series of interactive sessions we looked at understanding local need, engaging stakeholders, developing a plan and measuring impact.
It inspired some great debate – fuelled by what we’d heard in the morning – about how each course can make a difference in their own community. And ultimately, how collectively, they can help paint a more complete picture of the racing industry.
Through their Racing Together programme the BHA and the RCA have established a great framework for racing to engage communities countrywide. As we found on Monday the opportunity is significant and varied – helping charities reach a wider audience, engaging young and old through racing, creating business opportunities for local firms or simply using some outstanding venues to inspire better outcomes for all involved.
We can see exciting times ahead for racing and the people and places that touch upon the industry. Whether its the health benefits associated with sport, access to educational or employability initiatives or exposure to the experiences of live sporting events the impact will be significant.