Dave Ord reflects on a stimulating virtual coffee morning as Racing Welfare's new Racing Conversations helps industry people come together as well as raising much-needed funds.
Racing Welfare’s Furlong Factor was a social media phenomenon, a huge success not only unearthing hitherto undiscovered singing talent within our ranks but also contributing over £50,000 to their Emergency Covid-19 Appeal.
And that’s vital. The charity supports racing’s workforce - and since the outbreak of the coronavirus, they have seen an increased demand for their services.
For Racing Welfare the financial impact of Covid-19 has been severe. The charity is experiencing a significant drop in income as fundraising events and activities have been cancelled. With no certainty as to when these events may be rearranged, the charity faces a loss of fundraising income amounting to £500,000 in 2020.
The appeal is to try and help cover the shortfall. So far they have raised £217,000.
One of the schemes Racing Welfare run to support their community is Racing Conversations. The Facebook group has been created to try to fill the void left by the inevitable decision to cancel the regular gatherings which take place throughout their regional centres at Middleham, Malton, Lambourn and Newmarket.
It’s a coffee morning-style treasure trove of members sharing memories, photographs and experiences within the industry, also featuring a ‘Live Q&A’.
I joined Thursday’s as Anna Kerr and Jane Evans of the National Stud took everyone through life in lockdown for them and their colleagues – as well as a video virtual tour of the stunning facilities.
There was a rundown on the resident stallions, the band of broodmares who were either boarding or based at the stud, plus an insight into the day-to-day running of the vast estate. What was the best horse ever bred at the stud, was just one of the googlies bowled their way.
It made for a fascinating half-hour and the pair were following the likes of Bob Champion, Richard Hoiles, Peter Scudamore and Mike Cattermole in answering questions. Next week it’s our own Ed Chamberlin who is in the hot-seat.
It’s just a small example of the work Racing Welfare are doing to try and help and engage with the racing community in these extraordinarily difficult times.
Their 24-hour helpline is the first port of call for people looking for information, sometimes in need of help either financially through hardship grants, or assistance claiming the benefits they might be entitled to.
There have been employment related queries too, while they are also looking after people’s physical and mental health as best they can.
If you can help this incredible cause in any way – please click the link below.
In case you missed it: Racing Welfare's Adam Ferguson on current community work...
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