An industry that supports and looks after our people…..

26 Feb 16

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The Participant Welfare and Training Pillar is part of the industry strategy that is focusing on the long term development and health of Racing and it’s participants. In our latest Racing Together Blog we take a look at some of the great work underway in British Racing’s communities supporting the people of racing throughout their careers and beyond.

Newmarket has taken the lead with the introduction of an Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service, launched in September 2015. The 12 month pilot, funded by The Racing Foundation and delivered as part of RACEFIT, has been set up as a result of the industry welfare review initiated by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in 2013. RACEFIT has enjoyed great success since its launch in September 2014, offering a comprehensive range of bespoke fitness and injury rehabilitation services to stud, stable staff and the wider racing community in Newmarket. These include osteopathy, physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, fitness classes, personal instruction and nutrition advice. The learning from the Newmarket pilot will inform how it may be delivered in other areas around the country.

A key aim of the initiative is to support both employers and employees in the transition back to work after illness and injury, referring to specialist services as and when required. Furthermore, advice and help can also be provided where staff are in work but a health issue is impacting upon their ability to perform at their best.

Matt Mancini, Welfare Development Manager at the BHA, said: “This is an important area of development and to now be able to offer occupational health support to trainers and their staff is fantastic. It means that staff can have a clinical assessment to help identify injuries and underlying health issues that may be affecting their work or may be the reason for their absence from work. Other industries have this embedded within their employee benefits package and racing needs to adopt a contemporary approach if health and fitness of what is currently a stretched workforce, in a high risk industry, is going to be improved.”

Matt also said: “There is no doubt that we need to be proactive in retaining racing’s employees, but recruitment is also essential. If we are going to compete with other industries, the promotion of racing’s image as an industry which respects and looks after its workforce is key in this process. With the introduction of the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service at RACEFIT, there is now provision for a holistic service based on the needs of the diverse demographic. This is a step towards the delivery of a world-class benefits package to a world-class workforce.”

The Occupational Health service includes “Tackroom Talks” delivered in the workplace to promote health and wellbeing, available free of charge, involving short interactive sessions on topics such as safer manual handling, injury prevention, hydration, nutrition, alcohol, drugs, and GP registration. These are delivered by Pippa Stanford, a specialist Occupational Health Adviser, who is also able to offer a simple mini health check to individuals during the visit.

Feedback on the Occupational Health Programme has been extremely positive. Laura Pike, Rider/Travelling Head Girl, David Simcock Racing Ltd commented: “I was really very down when I had my accident. I’ve found that it’s important to get the support that I received and I think if you didn’t get the support that is available through the Occupational Health Pilot at RACEFIT then it would possibly force you out of the racing industry altogether. I wasn’t aware of the help that was on offer and the help from everyone involved got me back to work safely and I am now back to full fitness. Even now I attend the gym and as many classes as I can at The Racing Centre and the team are so professional and supportive.”

Another important development was also launched in January when Racing Welfare unveiled a new and important extension to its current services – Racing’s Support Line. It provides new ways for people to receive support from the charity as well as continuing to offer the 24 hour telephone helpline that has been in operation since 2009. Funding from The Racing Foundation and Godolphin has made the development of Racing’s Support Line possible. Both organisations recognize that extending the charity’s service delivery through a digital platform will allow those services to reach more people; particularly those who are living and working in rural areas away from the main racing centres. The Digital Support Services will empower people by giving them access to the information they need, at precisely the moment they need it. “The launch of Racing’s Support Line will help Racing Welfare get closer to its vision that no-one from the thoroughbred racing and breeding community is left unsupported.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive, Racing Welfare said: “We are committed to developing our services to match the needs of the people we support. The availability of online advice and support is going to help us reach many more people throughout 2016 and beyond.”

Sean O’Connor, Racing Together Community Engagement Manager added: “It is important that we recognise the great work that is going on in Racing’s own communities. We want to be recognised as an industry that supports and looks after our people and horses that are British Racing. The launch of RACEFIT/Occupational Health and Well Being in Newmarket and Racing Welfare’s new digital service are great examples of an industry that it is committed to supporting its people and the continued health and future prosperity of our sport”.

For more information on these services:

Racing Welfare: www.support.racingwelfare.co.uk and 0800 6300 443

RACEFIT: racefit@theracingcentre.org

Contact Annika Broster, RACEFIT Manager: 01638 662828 or 07977 473396

For more information on Racing Together please contact:
Sean O’Connor: Racing Together Community Engagement Manager:
Tel: 0207 152 0027, e-mail: racingtogether@britishhorseracing.com Twitter @racingtogether