Scottish Racing appoints a Community Engagement Officer to drive forward local community activity in Scotland
Scotland’s racecourses have recognised the huge opportunities for diverse groups to benefit from the exceptional infrastructure that racing can provide to the wider community, who may have never considered the benefits that the racecourses could offer or gaining employment in horseracing before.
Eleanor Boden is a PHD student, charity worker and is also stable manager at Cartmel racecourse during the summer months. She has gained a wide-range of experience from her time as Graduate Intern at an equine therapy centre, as a Senior Lecturer at Myerscough College and as Education and Training Development Manager at the HEROS Charity, near Lambourn.
Eleanor, on behalf of Scottish Racing and Racing Together is working on a number of community engagement activities including a partnership with AltzScot. This initiative has been developed to encourage all five, Scottish racecourses to complete the ‘Friends of Dementia’ course as the first stage to become a dementia friendly sporting venue.
Eleanor who lives in Barrhead said “I am hugely excited to help increase the sport’s community engagement, to promote what the sport does for others and support this vision on behalf of the Scottish Racecourses. This is especially important given that the Scottish Government has made 2018 the Year of Young People. We have such an active and positive group of racecourses up here that I’m certain we can coordinate some positive initiatives to benefit many people from outside the racing community.”
Delly Innes, Manager of Scottish Racing, said “we are delighted that Eleanor has taken on this vital role to carry out projects to include young people, the elderly and encourage environmental sustainability at the racecourses. Each racecourse will be working with Eleanor on localised projects driven by the immediate need of the different communities”.
DATE: 25th May 2018
Student Sponsorship Deal Is A Winner For Musselburgh Racecourse
Musselburgh Racecourse has hailed a student sponsorship scheme an outstanding success after appointing a marketing graduate to a full-time role.
Like many modern businesses, the East Lothian track is inundated with requests from students for lengthy work placements which due to cost and capacity they are unable to fulfil.
An approach by Edinburgh Napier University student Maiti Stirling was at first rejected but an innovative sponsorship deal was struck with Maiti’s father Colin to co-fund the placement.
Mr Stirling, the owner of Foulrice Park Racing in Yorkshire, agreed to support a three-year deal which would assist other Edinburgh Napier University undergraduates to benefit from the experience of working at the racecourse.
Following the agreement, third-year events management student Rebecca Morrison has completed a six-month stint in which she played an important role in the day-to-day operations of the track, and now Catriona Kendall is taking up the reigns as the third Napier undergraduate to benefit from the sponsorship.
Musselburgh Racecourse senior operations and commercial manager, Sarah Montgomery, said she hoped other businesses would support similar sponsorships to enable student to take up placements.
She said: “We get approached all the time from university students desperately looking for opportunities but for most businesses it is unrealistic to expect them to fund 6-12 month placements. Colin Stirling’s initiative was most welcome and allowed us to take on Maiti and then Rebecca, and both have been invaluable in helping with the day-to-day running of the racecourse.
“It would be excellent if other businesses followed Foulrice Park Racing’s lead, not just in the racing industry but across all sectors, and this would help undergraduates complete this important part of their degree course.”
Edinburgh Napier University manages the application process and each appointment is made based on interviews and suitability. The racecourse is flexible about the type of roles each student fulfils and tries to match a workflow which suits individual interests, strengthen their CVs and assist with applying for jobs on graduation.
Sarah Montgomery added: “Both Maiti and Rebecca made a huge impact and we are grateful for their contribution. They worked with us through our really busy planning period in the lead up to our most successful race days, the Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Cup and our sell-out Stobo Castle Ladies Day.
“We are now delighted that Maiti has joined us in a full-time permanent role and to welcome on board Catriona as our third Napier University placement. We hope with continued support from Foulrice Park or other businesses that this will be a programme we can support for many years to come.”
Colin Stirling of Foulrice Park Racing, said: “From both my observations as an employer and the direct experience with both my children, I am a huge advocate of the benefits of meaningful work placements as part of a student’s education. It helps both the personal development of the individual and significantly improves their attractiveness to employers when they graduate.
“It is evident that universities which offer placements as part of their courses often struggle to gain the involvement of employers to deliver the programmes. We were therefore delighted to work together with the team at Musselburgh Racecourse to come up with a plan to jointly fund the 3-year scheme to support Edinburgh Napier’s Business School.
“The two placements completed so far have greatly benefitted both Rebecca and Maiti and the racecourse and I hope this success will inspire other employers to consider similar support to Napier or other universities in their locality.”
Lynn Waterston, the lecturer at Edinburgh Napier’s Business School with responsibility for marketing, hospitality and events undergraduate placements, said:
“Degree courses with a work placement element require a lot of commitment from employers, so it is fantastic to see a sponsorship initiative like this succeed not only in giving students valuable experience, but also in terms of the benefits that our placement students can bring to our partner organisations.”
Visit Scotland confirm Scottish Racecourses provide a quality day out
- RCA announces results of 2016 Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme
- Scheme accredited by VisitScotland for eighth year
- All Scottish racecourses recognised as ‘good’ or better
For the eighth year running, every racecourse in Scotland has been rated as ‘good’ or higher, by VisitScotland.
The Racecourse Association (RCA), in partnership with VisitEngland and VisitScotland, has announced the top racecourses in England, Wales and Scotland for 2016 through the Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.
The scheme allows VisitScotland to benchmark racecourses against other attractions, ensuring that standards of customer experience remain high in the face of competition from other sporting and leisure venues.
The national tourism board provides a rating on the racecourses as a quality day out, taking into account efficiency and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities as well as speed, quality and efficiency of the racecourse operation.
Ayr and Musselburgh retained their five star ratings, the highest grading awarded by VisitScotland. Musselburgh continued to excel by also being ranked within the top 10% of all attractions in Scotland.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “We are delighted that both Ayr and Musselburgh racecourses have not only retained our highest accolade for quality – 5 stars – but have also won so many RCA Excellence Accolades. The awards are a true testament to the brilliant work being done by teams at racecourses to create a wonderfully unique and enjoyable experience for all.
Scottish Racing Manager, Delly Innes, said: “All of our Scottish Racecourses have demonstrated that they offer a fun, exciting and value for money day out when compared to other attractions. We are very proud of the service that all the racecourses offer and this is backed up by the results from VisitScotland.”
Scottish Racecourses delivering real benefit to local communities and charities
RACING TOGETHER has produced more evidence why Scottish racecourses always finish first past the post.
Throughout Scotland, a huge amount of community engagement work is going on across the five racecourses and every one has been voted a sure-fire winner.
A recent survey carried out by the Racecourse Association, a partner of Racing Together, confirmed that racecourses north of the border have increased support within their communities through a variety of partnerships and initiatives.
From educational days for students to employment opportunities for local people, volunteering schemes and charitable initiatives, Ayr, Hamilton Park, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth are finding more ways than ever to give back to communities through their association with the sport of kings.
Ayr Racecourse boasts an impressive, award-winning programme focused on providing employment for the local community over a range of ages in the grounds/garden departments.
Presentations and tours are also organised for the Rotary Club, Civic Society, Ayrshire Women in Business and many other organisations. As if this wasn’t enough, the charity fireworks night at the racecourse raised £13,000 for the BUYMSH Charity.
Hamilton Park Racecourse is actively engaging with their local school community to broaden students’ knowledge of the racing industry, beyond just the sporting event. In 2016 this included engagement with North Lanarkshire College art students with a competition to design a racecourse mural. Hamilton Park’s 51st annual Saints and Sinners race night supported the charity once again and raised a terrific amount of money.
Anyone who has been to Kelso Racecourse won’t have missed the Charity Tea Room, which provides a different charity the chance to fund raise and promote themselves at each race meeting. The Jockeys Showjumping Challenge in and the auction of the teams the night before was held at the Twilight Meeting in September 2016 for the second time for Multiple Sclerosis and the Injured Jockeys Fund charities.
Musselburgh Racecourse has developed a strong link with Musselburgh Grammar School to provide workshops with Catering and Hospitality and Ground care. There are also exciting plans to establish a maths programme including all 1st year students (60) in 2017.
The Racecourse’s bi-centenary celebration activities included the establishment of a racecourse exhibition at The Musselburgh Museum as well as free tickets given out to charities and neighbours for the celebration raceday.
A new partnership has developed with Perth Racecourse and the local Capability Scotland unit, who look after a range of disabled users and try and encourage them to live as full a life as possible. Racecourse staff raised over £50,000 for charities throughout the year, including getting more than just their hands dirty and raised £1,500 by completing a 5k Rainbow Assault Course in aid of Clic Sargent.
Wide range of work experience opportunities at all Scottish racecourses Finding appropriate, useful and relevant work experience or placements can be a challenge for any young person. Scottish racecourses, however, are well placed to provide a variety of opportunities that ensures there is something for all ages and interests.
From marketing and sales opportunities in racecourse offices, to catering roles, groundstaff work and jobs in the stables, racecourses offer a huge range of placements.
Musselburgh Racecourse in particular has been leading the way in this area, offering a six-month placement to a student from Napier University to help her complete her degree – the initiative is set to continue for another two years. All the racecourses in Scotland also work with Racing to School, the sport’s education programme offered for free to schoolchildren and students.
Racing to School Trustee Morag Gray, new chair of the industry-wide Racing Together initiative, said: “It is fantastic to see so many racecourses across Scotland interacting and reaching out to their communities to deliver real change and lasting benefits – the long-term future of our racecourses is in their communities. That is why community engagement work is so important and we have seen some amazing initiatives in the last 12 months which is fantastic to see.”